Hikes in Mount Baker

Region in Washington State, United States

Known to the indigenous population of Puget Sound as ‘White Sentinel’, the towering volcano of Mount Baker has long been known for its snow. Indeed, this majestic peak, which looms over the border between the US and Canada, is best known as a winter sports destination, offering perfect powder for skiing and snowboarding. However, in the summer months, Mount Baker unveils itself in all its beauty, as an incredible place for hiking.

Hikes in this region are dominated by two iconic peaks, Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, both surrounded by pristine trails. Hiking in Mount Baker is a dream come true for all adventurers, with mountainside trails clad in lush forest and delicate wildflowers, glittering lakes that reflect the high peaks in their peaceful waters, and epic, creaking glaciers. Come in summer for the fabulous display of flowers and blueberries and the chance to hear the whistling marmots, or wait until the autumn, when the forests are ignited in a blaze of orange and red as the leaves turn.

The beautiful Mount Baker region is just waiting to be discovered, and is a spectacular destination for some truly epic hikes. What are you waiting for? Pull on your hiking boots and get out on the trail!

10 Stunning Hikes Around Mount Baker

The region around Mount Baker offers plenty of possibilities for fantastic hiking, from epic summits and challenging day hikes, to pleasant lakeside strolls. If you’re travelling with children, Mount Baker offers many easy, short hikes at low elevation, with lots of variety and interest to keep young hikers entertained! However, if you’re looking for a real challenge, this region is packed with iconic ridge walks and tall summits that will stretch the abilities of even experienced mountaineers. The breathtaking views from the Ptarmigan Ridge or the Skyline Trail will provide ample rewards for all of your efforts.

  • Artist Ridge Hike: Get your cameras ready! This sweet, short hike will bring you to a fabulous viewpoint where you can see Mount Shuksan reflected in the waters of a peaceful mountain tarn. The path is paved almost all the way to the end, making this a very easy trail for those travelling with young children or people with limited mobility. Try to arrive for sunset when the mountains glow a deep red.
  • Picture Lake Hike: The easy walk to Picture Lake is the ultimate family hike in Mount Baker. The paved loop around this picturesque lake is ideal if you’ve got a stroller or wheelchair, and you can enjoy the lovely view of Mount Shuksan reflected in the shimmering water. In the summer months, the trail will be lined with wild heather, blueberries and fireweed, making this one of the loveliest hikes in Mount Baker.
  • Lake Ann Hike: If you’re looking for a relaxed day hike in Mount Baker, why not try this lovely route up to Lake Ann? You’ll pass through lush wildflower meadows and over rocky terrain, before emerging at the saddle just above Lake Ann. The views from here are remarkable, extending all the way to Mount Baker, Table Mountain, and Mount Shuksan.
  • Ptarmigan Ridge Hike: Calling all adventurers! This hike along Ptarmigan Ridge is not for the faint of heart, but it’s one of the most breathtaking, challenging hikes in Mount Baker. With steep, rocky slopes, some steep ascents, and some route finding required, you’ll need to be a confident, fit hiker. However, the rewards are simply remarkable, with close-up views of Mount Baker itself.
  • Chain Lakes Loop Hike: This classic hike in the Mount Baker region is perfect in summertime, when you’ll find the trail full of wildflowers and blueberries. With gorgeous mountain views, several stunning lakes, and wide alpine meadows, you’ll have everything you need for a wonderful day out. This is one of the best hikes in Mount Baker, and one of our favorite moderate-level treks.
  • Skyline Divide Hike: This spectacular trail will take you along a rolling ridgeline with glorious views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. With fantastic displays of wildflowers in the summer months, and plenty of whistling marmots scampering over the rocks, this is Washington State at its very best. This hike can be easily extended for a fun backpacking trip in some truly gorgeous scenery.
  • Yellow Aster Butte: This spectacular trail really has it all – stunning wildflowers, jaw-dropping views, peaceful mountain tarns and a 360-degree panorama at the summit. You’ll need to be fit, as this trail is somewhat challenging, but this is a really satisfying hike. Time your trip for autumn, when the forests explode in a glorious spectacle of color, and the trail is at its best.
  • Heliotrope Ridge: The Heliotrope Ridge Trail rises up through the forest and over a couple of creeks, before rising above the tree line for some stunning views. The hike extends all the way up to the glacial moraine at the lower Coleman Icefall, part of the larger Coleman Glacier. Towering above it all, you’ll see Mount Baker, creating a stunning vista that’s a dream for budding photographers.
  • Hannegan Pass and Peak Hike: This is a tough hike with a remarkable reward: an incredible panoramic view over the North Cascades, including Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and Mount Ruth. The trail is incredibly varied, passing in and out of the forest, traversing mountain streams and opening up into wildflower meadows. With jaw-dropping views and a satisfying physical challenge, this is one of the best hikes in Mount Baker.
  • Table Mountain Hike: This hike to the summit of Table Mountain may be steep, but it’s mercifully short, and the rewards from the top are truly epic. You’ll have a 360-degree panorama over the region, with really wonderful views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. You’ll need a head for heights, but this is one of our favorite hikes in Mount Baker.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Mount Baker?

Mount Baker is a legendary skiing destination, with incredible powder and plenty of good resorts. However, the best time to hike in Mount Baker is between June and September. Once the snows melt, this glorious region is perfect for hiking, with a carpet of wildflowers, lush forests, and plenty of beautiful trails. Avoid the busiest months of July and August and plan your trip for the shoulder seasons of early June and late September. You may risk a little snow on higher-elevation trails, but if you’re lucky with the weather, this is a wonderful time to explore the region, when there are fewer hikers on the trails and in the campgrounds. In particular, September is glorious, when the forests show off their autumn colors to full advantage.

Other Outdoor Activities In Mount Baker

Mount Baker is probably best known as a fantastic winter sports destination, and when the snows hit, it’s possible to go cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding across the region. In summer, in addition to hiking and backpacking, you can enjoy a whole range of outdoor activities, from climbing and mountain biking, to fishing, hunting and wildlife watching. This is a brilliant region for camping and multi-day treks, with plenty of fun, family-friendly options on offer!

How To Plan A Trip To Mount Baker

If this has given you itchy feet, it’s time to put Mount Baker on your hiking bucket list! We’ve got all the information you’ll need to plan your trip to Mount Baker, from advice on accommodation to top tips on the best trails and activities in all seasons. We’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to – just grab your gear and get out on the trail!

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Best Hikes in Mount Baker

Open details for Chain Lakes Loop

Chain Lakes Loop

Moderate
10.0 km
550 m
3.5-4.5h

Chain Lakes Loop is a classic and beautiful summertime hike near Mount Baker. This alpine circuit offers massive mountain and lake views, summer wildflowers, and blueberries to boot.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Skyline Divide

Skyline Divide

Hard
11.6 km
610 m
3.5-5h

Skyline Divide is a rolling ridgeline hike that offers breathtaking panoramic views from Shuksan to Baker. Listen out for the whistling marmots, and be prepared for one of the best seasonal wildflower shows around. This is such a great way to spend a sunny summer day with friends. Read the full guide to Skyline Divide.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Ptarmigan Ridge

Ptarmigan Ridge

Very Hard
15.1 km
427 m
4-5.5h

The wildest trail accessible from Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge is a hike for solitude-seekers. In addition to wildflowers, berries, and wildlife-spotting potential, this climbing route offers fantastic close-up views of Mount Baker.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Yellow Aster Butte Trail

Yellow Aster Butte Trail

Hard
11.4 km
777 m
4-6h

The Yellow Aster Butte trail has summer wildflowers, fall colors, twinkling tarns and 360-degree mountain views. All that adds up to Yellow Aster Butte being an undeniably spectacular trail in the Mount Baker wilderness in the North Cascades region of Washington.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Heliotrope Ridge

Heliotrope Ridge

Moderate
9.0 km
475 m
3-4h

This popular hike up Heliotrope Ridge crosses several creeks before reaching a spectacular overlook of Coleman Glacier. Along the way, hikers share the path with mountaineers attempting to summit Mount Baker.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Lake Ann

Lake Ann

Moderate
13.5 km
549 m
4-5.5h

The hike to Lake Ann takes you through wildflower meadows and talus slopes to Lake Ann for close-up views of Mount Shuksan’s thunderous glaciers. This is a longer hike that always leaves us tired, but also relaxed. Thankfully, the elevation isn’t too brutal.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Hannegan Pass and Peak

Hannegan Pass and Peak

Hard
16.2 km
945 m
5.5-7.5h

Prepare for panoramic views aplenty when you hike up Hannegan Pass and Hannegan Peak. This 6,817 ft, North Cascades vantage point showing off mounts Ruth, Shuksan, Baker, and many more. This is a tough hike, but it’s well worth it.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Artist Ridge

Artist Ridge

Very Easy
2.0 km
46 m
0.5h

The Artist Ridge hike boasts a huge payout for relatively little effort. This 1.2 mi lollipop hike is an extremely popular summer photo destination. Everyone loves the views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker, and beyond.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Table Mountain

Table Mountain

Moderate
3.9 km
183 m
1-1.5h

The short, steep hike to Table Mountain’s summit rewards trekkers with 360-degree mountain views, from the towering Mount Shuksan to the glacier-clad Mount Baker. This trail is a bit exposed at times, so not good for those with a fear of heights.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Picture Lake Trail

Picture Lake Trail

Very Easy
0.4 mi
28 ft
0.5h

The 0.5 mi paved Picture Lake loop hike is exactly that: a picture-perfect trail for strollers and wheelchairs. Aptly-named Picture Lake, this trail is popular for photo-ops due to its easy access and incredible views of Mount Shuksan reflected back into the crystal clear waters.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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Open details for Planning Your Trip to Mount Baker

Planning Your Trip to Mount Baker

By Lynn W
February 27th, 2018
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