Heather – Maple Pass Loop


Back to the North Cascades for an epic day hike.  The Heather – Maple Pass Loop is a gem of a hike that starts around 1500 m elevation (4900 ft) and goes up to 2120 m (6950 ft). The forecast for today was sunny; however, we did not see the sun at all and saw blue sky briefly. It was freezing and snowing lightly all day and most of our views were obstructed. But thankfully, not all views were obstructed and we did get quite a treat. The views that we did have were just amazing and the fresh snow made it really feel like a winter wonderland ! I will definitely have to go back in the summer to do this hike on a sunny day. We also included the trip to Ann Lake at the end – this is a fairly flat section of about 1km each way.

NOTE – You will need a Northwest Forest Pass (one per car), which can be purchased in person at the Mt. Baker Ranger District – Mt. Baker Office at 810 State Route 20 Sedro-Woolley, WA (Link to Map)

Or you can buy an epass in advance online at the Discover Your Northwest website

Or you can leave money in an envelope (by the big info sign) at the Rainy Lake Parking lot.

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 are stores in Sedro-Woolley 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 hike starts at the Rainy Pass trailhead, off Highway 20 (see location of trailhead below).

The stats including Ann Lake at the end…

Distance: 12.7 km
Time: 4.5 hours
Low point: 1482 m
High point: 2120 m
Elevation gain: 638 m
Cumulative Elevation gain: 885 m
Trailhead: 48° 30’ 54.6” by  120° 44’ 09” (Google Map)

The route…

The photos…

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland
Ann Lake from above
Ann Lake from above
Ann Lake
Ann Lake
Gorgeous Golden Alpine Larches
Gorgeous Golden Alpine Larches
Cold and cloudy summit
Cold and cloudy summit
Frozen Alpine larch
Frozen Alpine larch
Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours
Snow on a golden alpine larch
Snow on a golden alpine larch
Snow-covered trees at the summit
Snow-covered trees at the summit
Snowy trail
Snowy trail
Snowy trail
Snowy trail
View of the HIghway
View of the Highway

Link to all Heather – Maple Pass Photos photos on Flickr


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.


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