Hiking Mt. Baker & the North Cascades

Selected Walks & Hikes around Koma Kulshan (Mt. Baker) & the North Cascades

This is not your typical hiking guide. In addition to providing you with all the information you need to navigate the trails, this book focuses on the inspiring beauty to be found on these extraordinary footpaths around Mt. Baker (and the surrounding area). Lavishly illustrated with almost 200 beautiful photographs (and detailed small-scale topographic maps), each hike is presented with an eye toward the exceptional scenic splendor of these carefully selected destinations, allowing you to maximize your aesthetic experience in these glorious mountains.

More than a book to tell you how to get to these spectacular destinations, this book tells you why to go.


About the Book

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.


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.

About the Author

John D’Onofrio is a writer and photographer who has spent 40 years exploring the Mt. Baker area and the North Cascades.

He is the co-author (with Todd Warger) of Images of America: Mt. Baker (Arcadia Publishing). His essays on wilderness travel have been published in Foghorn, Trail Runner, Washington Trails, Cascadia Weekly, NW Runner, Northwest Men’s Magazine, and many other publications.

His photography has been exhibited throughout the United States and has been published in National Geographic Adventure and Outdoor Photography, featured on the NBC and ABC television networks, and utilized by the U.S. Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, The North Cascades Institute, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Parks Foundation. His work is highlighted in several books, including The Salish Sea (Cloud Ridge Publishing) and The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby (Braided River Press).

His film, Cascadia Dreams, a collaboration with Native American Flute Master Gary Stroutsos and photographer Lance Ekhart was released in 2018.

A resident of Bellingham, WA, he has published and edited Adventures Northwest Magazine since 2012. He leads photography workshops across North America and Alaska.


“Forty years of hiking with pack and camera have given John D’Onofrio an intimate understanding of place and time in the North Cascades. Outstanding images coupled with beautiful writing, and all the access, trail info and maps you need. This sets a new standard for trail guides. We’re lucky to have this invitation to the neighborhood.”

- Saul Weisberg, Executive Director Emeritus, North Cascades Institute, Author of North Cascades: The Story Behind the Scenery, and Headwaters: Poems and Field Notes

“John D’Onofrio highlights with beautiful photos, maps, and solid information a selection of walks and hikes in one of the world’s mountain beauty spots. How to get there, where to camp, how much “wow” one will enjoy – it’s all here. Having done every walk and hike in this collection, some many times, I can vouch for the quality of the information in this beautifully illustrated guidebook along with much helpful advice and superb photographs.”

- John C. Miles, Author of Koma Kulshan: The Story of Mount Baker

“Noted photographer and outdoors/adventure magazine publisher John D’Onofrio has outdone himself with this gorgeously produced book concerning the many hikes in the Mount Baker and North Cascades area. The sublime photographs alone make this book worth having, but with its detailed maps and trail information it also is an indispensable resource for anyone wanting to enjoy these places first hand.”

- Tim Ahern, Author, 36 Ways of Looking at Mt. Rainier

“We thought we loved the North Cascades. We hiked nearly every trail, tagged many summits, even wrote a guidebook on the range. But it was just a love affair, a mere fling compared to John D’Onofrio’s enduring romance with these great mountains. His new guidebook—Hiking Mt. Baker & the North Cascades—is the offspring of a soulmate relationship with “the American Alps.” You’ll see it in his arresting photography. You’ll be inspired by it as you read his descriptions. And you’ll benefit from it, because his advice is that of a lifelong lover sharing intimacies you’d otherwise never know.”

- Kathy & Craig Copeland, Authors of Hiking from Here to WOW: North Cascades

“It is no small feat to break new ground in the universe of guidebooks, but it looks as though you have done it.”

- Rand Jack, Founder, Whatcom Land Trust

“John’s approach to this book is to be commended. He’s respectful of the landscape while inviting us to experience the bliss of visiting the Mt. Baker area. The information about the trails themselves is excellent, giving the first-time visitor the perspective of a seasoned expert.”

- Rebecca Boonstra, Executive Director, Mount Baker Visitor Center