This was my first hike in Washington State. This hike takes you into the northern foothills of Mt. Baker, a 3,286 m volcano. The Skyline Divide Trail is in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The area is amazing; although, you wouldn’t know it from the photos – we had very low visibility all day – so that means no views !! I will have to go back on a sunny day. Today, we missed our intended trail, but the trail we ended up on was very nice. Unfortunately, the trail ended and we had to hike some steep areas and scree slopes. There was one last section to climb, but with the visibility so low, we couldn’t see where we were going, so we decided to make our way down a slightly different (less steep) route. There is a 20 km gravel road to travel to make it to the trailhead – I had no problems with my car – just slow due to potholes and the occasional grouse on the trail.
Remember – You will need a Northwest Forest Pass, which can be purchased in person at the Glacier Public Service Center at 10091 Mt. Baker Highway,Glacier, WA (Link to Map)
Or you can buy an epass in advance online at the Discover Your Northwest website
Border crossing tips: Bring passport, Nexus or enhanced ID !!; no fruit, no veges, no meat (this isn’t a complete list !); trailmix is ok. There is an IGA just across the border if you want to get some fruit or a sandwich for your hike.
A great resource for current conditions for this hike is the WTA website.
Check it OUT !!!
The location of the start of the forestry road (NF-37) to the trailhead is HERE
Distance: 15 km (return)
Time: 7 hours
Low point: 1308 m
High point: 1914 m
Elevation gain: 606 m
Cumulative Elevation gain: 1150 m
Trailhead: 48° 52’ 49.4” by 121° 51’ 53.5” (Google Map)
Here’s the correct route…
Here is a close up of the north end of our route, with the correct route and the route taken. The “Connect Route” wasn’t taken due to low visibility. It was only a short distance to hook up with the main trail, but it was steep and we couldn’t see well.
Before heading out on your hike, make sure you are well prepared. This means, having the TEN ESSENTIALS. It is also important to leave a trip plan (route details and estimated return time) with someone you trust.
Bring your smartphone, fully charged and put it in airplane mode while hiking. I always bring back-up battery packs for extra piece of mind. It is highly recommended that you bring a GPS device; I use my smartphone with a GPS app (Backcountry Navigator). The GPS will work in airplane mode. Learn how to use it before your hike.
For anyone new to hiking, there is a rule to which hikers follow; it is called “Leave No Trace” or LNT. The concept is generally to pack out what you pack in and respect nature, so all future visitors can enjoy what you have enjoyed.
To learn more about LNT, please check out this BLOG by a certified LNT Trainer.