Mt. Baker Camping and Hiking

Picture Lake Reflection

We went to Highway 542 for some good North Cascade fun!

We had 2 1/2 days off so we headed up to the Mt. Baker area for some car camping, hiking, and relaxing.  The first day we spent some time by the Nooksack River and soaked our feet in the icy blue, glacier melt water.  It looks like the color of the aptly named Gatorade “Glacier Freeze.”  Logan had cut her paw and was limping a little so we headed up the road to find a camp spot.  We stayed at the Silver Fir campground, on the river just before the highway heads up to Mount Baker Ski Area.  We ususally stay away from campgrounds since the idea of paying to camp is foriegn to me and because Logan is a noisy and wandering beast!

After picking our spot, we headed up to Artist Point and Heather Meadows.  It was Sunday so there were still alot of people around.  It was OK though since there is a lot of room to wander around and stare at the beauty.  It was sunny, except for the clouds over Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker.  There were a few mosquitos, but nothing too bad.

We ate dinner at the picnic area at Heather Meadows since we wanted to stay there for sunset.  We had an awesome pasta and chicken dinner with a delicious Sessions Black Lager and headed back up to Artist Point.  By this time only 5 cars remained and we wandered around in the evening light.  Our last stop was at Picture Lake for the classic sunset reflection view of Mt. Shuksan.  I don’t care if it’s on every calendar or postcard you’ve ever seen, its there for a reason.  It is beautiful.

The next morning, we had some eggs and coffee and woke up from our great, undisturbed sleep.  We have had a few bad camping experiences lately (sickness, bear, thunderstorm) so this was a welcomed rest.  Speaking of welcome, we headed to Welcome Pass. 

We had no idea what to expect since we picked the hike from the gazateer, not a map. Well, we got a good dose of butt kick for a few hours!  I leaned later that there are 72 switchbacks and some descriptions are “some sections your heels never touch the trail” and “in a land of tough accents, this trail makes other look tame.”  Nice to know.  We made it in 2 hours, climing roughly 2500 feet in 2 miles.  At the pass, the forest ends immediately and the meadows and ridgeline trail begins!

We wandered down the trail another mile or so and the views of the North Cascades opened up before us.  The flowers were amazing, the green so vivid, and the sky so deep!  We saw only one person in the distance and he was going down, so we had this amazing place to ourselves.  The photos can kind of show the beauty, but with most of the views into the sun, photos are a little understating.  One last note, the black flies were out of control!!!  It was miserable on the ascent, despite two doses of bug spray.  They just didn’t care.  Enjoy the photos and better yet, GO THERE!! EE


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