Chain Lakes Loop
Chain Lakes Loop is a classic summertime hike near Mount Baker. This alpine circuit offers massive mountain and lake views, summer wildflowers, and blueberries to boot.
From Glacier, drive 35.4km east on Mount Baker Highway to the parking lot signed for Austin Pass Picnic Area (Heather Meadows Visitor Center) between mileposts 55 and 56. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for this hike.
|When to do|
Summer - Fall
Yes, at the Galena Chain Lakes
Yes, at trailhead
Chain Lakes Loop can be accessed via three parking areas – the two most popular being Heather Meadows Visitor Center and Artist Point. Because the trail can be hiked in either direction, hikers are presented with plenty of options before setting out. We suggest starting at Heather Meadows Visitor Center and hiking the trail clockwise.
From Heather Meadows Visitor Center, walk 0.2km east along the road to the signed Wild Goose Trail. Head south along the trail, climbing the steep steps. As you climb you can admire the views of Mount Baker Highway, Bagley Lakes, and Mount Shuksan.
At 1.3km the trail crosses the highway before entering the Artist Point parking lot. Cross the parking area, picking up the trail again at the northwest corner of the parking lot.
The Chain Lakes Trail takes off west for a leisurely 1.6km from Artist Point. Cutting across a talus slope, the trail is rocky and completely exposed to the elements. Turn around for unobstructed views of Mount Shuksan. As you continue along, Mount Baker gets closer and closer.
At 3.4km, turn right at the signed intersection with Ptarmigan Ridge trail. The Chain Lakes trail climbs over Table Mountain’s shoulder. Excellent views of Mount Baker appear to the southwest. Reach the first of the Chain Lakes, Mazama Lake, at 4.5km. Then continue along to Iceberg Lake (named for the chunks of ice sometimes found floating in its waters). This is followed by Hayes Lake at 5.5km. Several side trails lead down to the lake’s shores, and backcountry camping is allowed in designated areas.
From Hayes Lake, begin climbing toward Herman’s Saddle. The trail gains about 183m of elevation here before topping out at 1646m. From the top of the saddle, look southwest to see Mount Baker over Iceberg Lake. To the east, Mount Shuksan rises high with Bagley Lakes shimmering far below.
Descend 335m to Bagley Lakes before crossing an old stone bridge and climbing the steps back to Heather Meadows Visitor Center.
For an easier out-and-back hike, begin at Artist Point and follow the trail 3.9km to Hayes Lake. Turn around here for a 7.7km roundtrip hike with 229m of elevation gain (avoiding the climb up Wild Goose Trail and Herman’s Saddle).
Stop at North Fork Brewery on the way back to Bellingham for fresh pints and exceptional pizza.
You can also continue to the end of the road to begin your hike from Artist Point.
The short, steep hike to Table Mountain’s summit rewards trekkers with 360-degree mountain views, from the towering Mount Shuksan to…
Prepare for panoramic views aplenty when you hike up Hannegan Pass and Hannegan Peak. This2078m, North Cascades vantage…
The hike to Lake Ann takes you through wildflower meadows and talus slopes to Lake Ann for close-up views of…