Skyline Divide hike

Mt Baker
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Skyline Divide hike

Distance: 7.0mi
Elevation: 2,001ft
Time: 4-5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.7 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

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.

Skyline Divide hike Map

Getting there

From Glacier, take Mount Baker Highway east for 1.0mi 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 12.9mi to the trailhead. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.

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About

When to do

July to October

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Yes, at trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Skyline Divide
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Skyline Divide hike

Gaining roughly 1500ft in the first 2.1mi, 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 2.0mi, walk out of the woods into an alpine wonderland. Here, at 5800ft 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 2.5mi to avoid an unnecessarily steep climb. The trail rolls up and down, over high knolls to a junction marked by cairns at 3.2mi. The way left loses some elevation through talus slopes and meadows for about a 1.0mi 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 3.5mi and 6200ft. It’s a good place to have lunch and turn around. Or, you can continue even further along the ridge, ending atop a 6563ft knoll – Skyline Divide’s highest point and final campsite at 4.5mi.

Insider Hints

  • Choose the length of your hike at Skyline Divide. Trips here can range from 4.0mi-9.0mi roundtrip, with optional side trails to explore. Turning around at 3.5mi makes for a great 7.0mi 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 6000ft - even during summer. Be prepared and bring plenty of layers.

Comments

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Annie Smith 2 months ago

Lave Skyline Divide.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Becks Red 3 months ago

Great hike, a bit spooky. Take water, it gets quite hot.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
4h 30m Time Taken
Otis 3 months ago

Fun hike along the ridge

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3 Comments

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