Mount Baker Highway begins just west of Bellingham and winds up to spectacular Artist Point, the end of the highway. Designated a “Scenic Byway”, in winter the road ends at the ski area, but in summer when the road is cleared of snow, the extra three mile distance to Artist Point is an unprecedented treat.
Although this byway is a relatively short 57 miles, the attractions and scenery found along the Mount Baker Highway are worth extra time in and out of the car. In fact, you’ll be easily tempted to pull over for photos, admiring the view throughout the entire length of the trip.
This is the place for solitude and beauty, fun and recreation, and unlike many byways, this road does not lead to specific location or area at all.
It’s a destination unto itself, with appealing adventures all along the way, between the towns of Deming, Maple Falls, Wamick, and Glacier.
Lower elevations of Mount Baker Highway are fairly typical of the Western Cascade foothills, with towering trees crowding much of the drive.
The North Cascades is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Animals with fins, fur, feathers and scales are all at home in this dramatic and beautiful environment. A wide variety of birds including bald eagles and osprey breed here.
Rich forests, rocky slopes and clean waters teem with life. Elusive gray wolf, fisher and wolverine wander the wilderness in small numbers, while adaptable Columbia black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels and pikas delight visitors in abundance.
Nooksack River runs alongside much of the byway. Swift waters create a majestic view at Nooksack Falls, a popular waterfall in the North Cascades.
The Nooksack Falls area is known for its’ picturesque, lush foliage and trees, and water once supplied hydroelectricity in the early 20th century.
A virtual bird paradise, it’s a favorite stopping spot for nature photographers and birders alike. Hundreds of migratory bird species make their homes here.
Hiking and skiing are two favorite pastimes here, and many people come to the area to camp at some of the many campgrounds, dotting the route.
The variety and pristine beauty of the area, along easy to moderate hikes, make the Mt. Baker area a frequent destination for nature lovers.
At Artist Point where the road ends, well maintained hiking trails of varying difficulty, distance, and scenery beg to be explored. Here is where locals come to pick wild mountain blueberries in the summertime.
One of the most popular self-guided interpretative trails is Artist Ridge with its overlooks and great views of Mt. Baker. Another popular hike is the Chain Lakes Trail which connects to Ptarmingan Ridge.
More ambitious hikers will really enjoy Table Mountain, with its mountain top panoramic views, and Picture Lake.The first part of this hike is steep and zig zags up through lava cliffs.