We chose the perfect day for the Mt Baker Highway 542 exit 255 from Bellingham drive, said to be the "road to exhilaration". We agree. The road is 55 miles to Artist Point and a beautiful view of Mt Baker. The last 5 miles are switchbacks climbing to around 5100 feet with awesome views. The highway passes through scenic vistas,waterfalls and along the Nooksack River. The area provides many hiking trails,lodging,camping and skiing. This is a must if in the area. Be sure and get the Mt Baker driving guide from a visitor center and you will need to purchase a day pass for $5 unless you have a NP Golden Passport. The WA Discovery Pass is not valid since this is a National Recreation Area.
|Baker Highway Map|
|Road from Picture Lake to Artist Point|
|GPS Proves It|
|Mt Baker Ski Area and Lodge Panorama Dome in Background|
Our first stop at milepost 40 was Nooksack Falls just off Wells Creek Road down 1/2 mile gravel road to parking area.A short hike takes you down to fenced area and for viewing the 100ft falls. The falls is one of the more popular in the North Cascades and was featured in the hunting scene of "The Deer Hunter". The Nooksack Falls Hydroelectric Plant is still in operation.
Continuing, our next stop was Picture Lake and a view of Mount Shuksan. Mount Shuksan stands at 9131 feet and is east of Mt Baker and 12 miles south of the Canadian border. It may be one of the most photographed in the Cascade Range. The name in the Nooksack language means high peak or golden eagle. Taking the boardwalk trail gives you great photo opportunities for reflection in Picture Lake.
|Mount Shuksan Reflection in Picture Lake|
|By the Lake|
Continuing up to Artist Point, we stopped for a picnic and another view of Mount Shuksan.
|View of Mount Shuksan|
|Blue Bird Trail Marker|
Arriving at the top, parking was an issue but we managed to find a spot after riding around. There are several hiking trails from here, the most popular a mile up to Table Mountain. We opted to pass on this one due to 600 ft incline.It is recommended for experience hikers. Hope, having climbed Smith Rock, you could do this.
|Hikers Top of Table Mountain|
We did get some beautiful pictures of Mt Baker rising to 10,781 ft. Mt Baker is the second most active volcano in the Cascade Range with Mt St Helens ranking 1st. Mt Baker has had several names in its 400,000. Nooksack Tribe called "white mountain", the Lummi called it "broken off" referring to frequent volcanic activity. In 1792, Captain George Vancouver named it for officer Joseph Baker who spotted the peak while sailing near Dungeness Bay. Mt Baker gets an annual snowfall of 595 inches. The mountain supports 20 miles of active glaciers. One can join a scaling expedition May through October.
|Fall Colors with Mt Baker in Background|
|Close up View|
While at the top found a heart shaped rock for Hope.
Between us we took almost 200 photos and it has been difficult selecting the ones for the blog.