More than five years in the writing (and 40 years of hiking), Hiking Mt. Baker & the North Cascades is the definitive guide for hikers (and walkers) who want to maximize their aesthetic experience in these beautiful mountains located in northern Washington.
Each trail is described both in terms of practical considerations and logistics and with an eye toward helping hikers discover the wild splendor that makes these mountains among the world’s most spectacular hiking destinations. Specific information regarding scenic viewpoints, wildflower gardens, glaciers, alpine lakes and tarns, waterfalls, autumn color hotspots, unique flora and fauna, dramatic geological features, and opportunities for solitude are all highlighted in the hike descriptions.
These trails range from short walks (and ADA accessible paths) to rigorous multi-day backpacking excursions, intentionally chosen to make exploring these beautiful mountains possible for everyone. Seasonal considerations are also highlighted, with some hikes selected for their early season melt-out (these mountains get a lot of snow in winter!) and others highlighted for their autumnal delights.
ABOUT MT. BAKER & THE NORTH CASCADES
The Cascade Range extends for 1100 kilometers (700 miles) from Northern California to Southern British Columbia. In that vast expanse, one could fill several lifetimes with grand explorations. The northern reaches of the range—the North Cascades—take the drama up a notch, offering some of North America’s most spectacular hiking and exquisite mountain scenery with more peaks that rise 900 meters (3,000 feet) in the last horizontal mile to their summits than any other range on Earth.
And the trails around Mt. Baker are some of the finest in the North Cascades, providing access from the road system that climbs the river valleys, allowing hikers to readily reach the alpine without undue huffing and puffing. Unlike the nearby Coast Range of British Columbia or the mountains of Alaska, elevation gain is mostly moderate. A variety of routes fan out from the Mt Baker Highway/SR-542 and the Baker Lake Road (accessed via the North Cascades Highway/SR-20) to scenes of awe-inspiring mountain splendor, making high country bliss easily obtainable.
And Mt. Baker itself is one of the most impressive volcanic peaks in North America, home to 10 glaciers. With the exception of Mt. Rainier, Baker has more ice than all of the other Cascades volcanoes combined.