Skyline Divide is a rolling ridgeline hike that offers panoramic views from Shuksan-to-Baker. You might hear some whistling marmots. You could see one of the best seasonal wildflower shows around. This is such a great way to spend a sunny summer day with friends.
From Glacier, take Mount Baker Highway east for 1.6km to milepost 34. Turn right on FR-39 (Glacier Creek Road). Follow signs to the Skyline Divide Trail, turning left on FR-37. Go for 20.8km to the trailhead. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
|When to do|
July to October
Yes, at trailhead
Out and back
Gaining roughly 457m in the first 3.4km, the Skyline Divide Trail starts out steep. A hemlock forest provides plenty of shelter from the elements as the trail switchbacks up to the ridge. After 3.2km, walk out of the woods into an alpine wonderland. Here, at 1768m above sea level, views of Mounts Baker, Shuksan and many more abound. This is a great turnaround point for those seeking a short hike. A nearby camping area to the north (left) provides an easy backpacking destination.
If you’re seeking the full experience, wander south along the ridge, through wildflower meadows and towards Mount Baker. Hang a right at 4.0km to avoid an unnecessarily steep climb. The trail rolls up and down, over high knolls to a junction marked by cairns at 5.1km. The way left loses some elevation through talus slopes and meadows for about a 1.6km to the end of the trail. Camping here, near Deadhorse Creek, is a great way to spend the night stargazing.
The trail to the right climbs steeply towards Chowder Ridge. Follow it a short distance to reach a relatively flat knoll-shoulder at 5.6km and 1890m. It’s a good place to have lunch and turn around. Or, you can continue even further along the ridge, ending atop a 2000m knoll – Skyline Divide’s highest point and final campsite at 7.2km.
Choose the length of your hike at Skyline Divide. Trips here can range from 6.4km-14.5km roundtrip, with optional side trails to explore. Turning around at 5.6km makes for a great 11.3km roundtrip day hike.
Bring plenty of water. There are no water sources on the ridge.
Please respect the fragile meadows by only camping in established campsites.
Weather changes quickly above 1829m - even during summer. Be prepared and bring plenty of layers.
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