Picture Lake hike in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Picture Lake hike in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Picture Lake Trail

Mount Baker
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Mount Shuksan on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonInterpretive overlook on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonFooking across from the south end on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonPaved trail on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonA bench by the lake on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonFireweed in the summer on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonTable mountain in the distance on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonRoadside sign on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonFireweed and Table Mountain on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonThe boardwalk on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, WashingtonA family by the lake on the Picture Lake Hike near Mt Baker, Washington

Picture Lake Trail

Distance: 0.4mi
Elevation: 0ft
Time: 1h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.6 Overall Rating
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The 0.5mi 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.

Picture Lake Trail Map

Getting there

To get to Picture Lake, from Glacier, drive 21.0mi east on Mount Baker Highway to mileposts 54. Park on the left side of the road, next to the lake. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.

I’ve done this 26 people have done this
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About

When to do

July to October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

No

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Circuit


Picture Lake Trail
Elevation Graph


Picture Lake Trail Description

Start the Picture Lake trail from the parking area, where you’ll find a few short paths lead down to the lake. Set out in either direction on the loop. Your first stops will surely be at the dock and the interpretive overlook for head-on views of Mount Shuksan – if the weather is clear. Said to be one of the most photographed peaks in North America, the Shuksan stands at 9131ft, and is classified as aglaciated massif (not a volcano). It is located within the boundaries of North Cascades National Park and althoughPicture Lake is not within the park proper, it’s close enough for fabulous photos of the mountain.

Benches provide a place to rest and take in the views. In addition to Mount Shuksan, you can spot Table Mountain, Mount Herman, and Ruth Mountain along the loop – not to mention countless others in the distance. During the summer— blueberries, heather, and fireweed line the trail. Come fall, the vegetation turns fiery red-orange which stands out in spectacular contrast to Picture Lake’s blue waters and the snow-white glaciers of Mount Shuksan.

The Picture Lake trail is particularly popular for families, as the trail is a graded pathway of pavement and boardwalk, making it easy for children of all ages to enjoy. Pass by two fantastic viewpoints of Mount Shuksan and snap a picture or two. Calm mornings and evenings are the best time to grab a crystal clear snapshot of the sunrise and sunset in the water and the park can be bustling with photographers.

Would you like to see more hikes in Mount Baker? Check out the Yellow Aster Butte, Chain Lakes Loop, Skyline Divide Trail or Heliotrope Ridge.

Insider Hints

  • This little lake is perfect for families, those with mobility issues, and anyone seeking a scenic stroll. Take your time walking, viewing, and learning. The interpretive signs tell the story of how the glacially-carved lake came to be.

  • No swimming or entering the water is permitted at Picture Lake.

  • To hike closer to Mount Shuksan, try the Lake Ann Trail.

Comments

maxjohanson 8 months ago

Great spot to get away to for a picnic and calming moment.

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Sally S. Norbert 8 months ago

The views along the drive were amazing. All were beautiful.

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Lambert O 9 months ago

Wonderful short loop around the lake to take in the gorgeous views of the mountains and lake. Stunning!

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Aleysha C. 9 months ago

Amazing short loop around the lake to take in the beautiful views of the mountains and lake.

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Kohaku Ichinose 9 months ago

It's very nice in person. I've seen it before in national geographic, somebody took a beautiful photo of it. It's much better in real life, I promise! ♡^▽^♡

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Aska Tanaka 10 months ago

Picture Lake was beautiful, peaceful and serene.

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masonH. 12 months ago

It was a pleasant experience! There are benches where you can rest while enjoying the beauty.

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amsterdan 2 years ago

Very easy and rewarding. We had a great time exploring the area and admiring the clear waters of the lake.

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Rain k. 2 years ago

Amazing hike. Nice surroundings that require zero filter to capture that perfect photo.

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Tammy Lee 2 years ago

Beautiful lake. There were so many people as well. It's really popular.

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12 Comments Show all

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