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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    777 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    11.4 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical DIFF
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Technical DIFF
    Directions to Trailhead

    Yellow Aster Butte Trail

    Yellow Aster Butte hike near Mt. Baker in Washington

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    Table of contents

    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.

    Route Description for Yellow Aster Butte Trail

    A challenging and rewarding ascent is what you’ll find at Yellow Aster Butte. Begin by securing a parking spot along the road (there is no actual parking lot), then find the signed trailhead and restroom.

    The trail begins climbing immediately through the forest, gaining 274 m in the first 1.6 km. At 2.6 km, stay left at the signed junction.

    Views open up as the Yellow Aster Butte trail transforms to meadows. The path arcs north, then west, then southwest, following a relatively flat contour for the next 1.3 km. At 3.7 km the trail drops into a bowl, where a permanent snowfield melts under the sun creating a series of braided streams. This is a nice spot for a break before continuing the climb.

    After crossing the streams, continue gaining elevation to an unsigned junction at 5.3 km. Turn right (east) to make your way up Yellow Aster Butte. The path to the left drops down to a picturesque collection of tarns before eventually climbing to Tomyhoi Peak. The tarns are a popular camping area. Camping is only allowed on snow, rock, or the bare ground, as the meadows here are very fragile.

    The final push to the summit of Yellow Aster Butte gains 122 m in 0.4 km. This is by far the steepest section of the trail, but it’s well worth the effort. At the top, victorious hikers are rewarded with views north to Canada, the border peaks, and rusty Mount Larrabee. Winchester Mountain rises to the east - bring binoculars to spot its lookout tower. Turn to the southeast to see Goat Mountain, Mount Shuksan and Price Lake. Mount Baker rises coolly to the southwest. Finally, Tomyhoi Peak completes the panorama. Once you’ve had your fill, return the way you came.

    Hiking Trail Highlights

    Yellow Aster Butte

    Yellow Aster Butte is a scenic triple-summit peak just west of the Twin Lakes and Winchester Mountain, near Mount Baker.

    While it is not the most technical climb, Yellow Aster Butte is quite a challenging hike but it is also very rewarding. After you reach the summits, you will be amazed by some of the most spectacular views in the region, including Mount Baker, the Pickets, Mount Shuksan, Mount Larabee, Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, the Tomyhoi Peak, and even the beautiful Church Mountain further away to the west.

    The Yellow Aster Butte trail is especially in the autumn as the trees change to bright colors and the forest is full of wildlife scavenging for berries. The trail is also less crowded in the fall. Spring and early summer is also a great time of year to hike this trail as the wildflowers along the trail are a wonder to behold.

    The weather in this area is best between June and September. Be sure to check the weather forecast before hitting the trail. Thick cloud cover not only spoils the incredible views, it also reduces visibility. Wet rocks and steep descents can pose a safety hazard, so avoid this trail in bad weather.

    Like this hike? Check out more amazing hikes in Mount Baker, like Skyline Divide, Heliotrope Ridge, and Chain Lakes Loop!

    What to know when hiking the Yellow Aster Butte in 2024

    The trail usually opens from July through October due to heavy snowfall during the other months, however, due to low snow levels this year, it is expected for the trail to clear up earlier. The trailhead road (NF-3605) is narrow and windy, often leading to traffic jams, especially during weekends or the busy fall season. It's advisable to park a little south of the trailhead to avoid congestion.

    Insider Hints for Yellow Aster Butte Trail

    • Trekking poles are encouraged here, especially for the descent.
    • For another nearby adventure, follow the rough Twin Lakes Road up to Twin Lakes (high clearance and 4WD suggested). Then hike the trail to Winchester Mountain Lookout.

    Getting to the Yellow Aster Butte Trail Trailhead

    To get to Yellow Aster Butte trailhead, from the town of Glacier, drive east for 20.9 km urn left at Twin Lakes Rd. Follow Twin Lakes Rd for 7.2 km to the signed trailhead. A Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Interagency Pass is required. Some local passes are also accepted. Click here for more information about fees and passes.

    Route Information

    • When to do:

      July to October

    • Backcountry Campsites:

      Yes, at tarns west of Yellow Aster Butte

    • Toilets:

      Yes, at trailhead

    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Yellow Aster Butte Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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