Length: Nine miles roundtrip; optional side trails can make it longer.
Elevation: 2,500 ft. gain, with the highest point at 6,563 ft.
With summer at our doorstep, it’s time to dust off your hiking boots and hit the trails! For experienced hikers, the Mt. Baker Skyline Divide Trail offers a seemingly endless amount of crossroads at the top, meaning there’s no limit to your adventure. While snow is typically melted out by late July, you might encounter some even in August.
The first leg of the hike is a drastic uphill climb, gaining almost 1,500 feet of elevation in two miles. Surrounded by Western Hemlock, Mountain Hemlock, and Silver Fir, you will ascend moderately until you reach the treeline at around 5,900 feet. But you haven’t seen anything yet!
After you pass the Mt. Baker Wilderness sign, you will swiftly emerge from the forest onto a knoll. There you will first witness the mountains beyond the forest. From there, the path travels through a series of grassy hills. Follow the main trail to the rocky hillside and ascend to the top to see Kulshan just 3.5 miles away from the trail’s pinnacle. You won’t regret making it to the top!
If you are an experienced hiker and want to continue onto further footpaths, there are many side trails to pick and choose from along the way. The first knoll and the Deadhorse Creek Campground (which you can find following signs on the trail) is an excellent place to camp and view an impressive night sky.
What to Bring
Because this is a longer trail, eat well beforehand and pack a good meal. Eating lunch at the top with clouds surrounding you is a magical experience. Also remember to bring plenty of water, as there is no good place to refill on the trail. Aside from the essentials, hiking boots are recommended, and sunscreen is also a must due to the higher elevation.
Plan for a full day of driving and hiking. If driving from Bellingham, travel east on Mt. Baker Highway for about 34 miles until you reach the Glacier Public Service Center. Watch carefully for the junction of Glacier Creek Road with the main road, which will be about 0.8 miles past the Service Center and to the right. Immediately after this intersection, there are signs that direct you to the left and towards the Skyline Divide Trailhead. The road is a long and bumpy 13 miles, so make sure your tires and your car can take the strain of the bumpy dirt road.
When you arrive at the trailhead, you will need a Northwest Forest Pass to park in the parking area. You can find day passes ($5) and annual passes ($30) at the Washington Forest Service Website.