North Cascades | Mt Baker Area
8.22 miles, roundtrip
(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x)
Gain: 2264 ft.
Highest Point: 5489 ft.
Washington has quite a few historic fire lookouts, and Park Butte Lookout is one of them with an amazing viewpoint of Mt Baker.
Along this hike, you'll walk through fields of wildflowers, have views of the north cascades, and of course a perfect view of Mt Baker.
In fact, this is one of our favorite hikes to see Mt Baker. You can see all the crevasses on the south side of the volcano, and if you are lucky, you might see some brave climbers making their way towards the summit.
The trail starts off nicely with a relatively flat approach for the first mile or so. Eventually the trail opens up to an area with boulders and a creek. Usually there are cairns setup to help you find a safe way across the creek.
After the creek, the terrain changes into old growth forest, and the climb begins. This will continue on for about a mile and a half until the trees open up and you find yourself in the meadows facing towards Mt Baker.
The Way to Park Butte Lookout
In the meadows, you'll notice trails and campsites spread out all over the place. It is a great "choose your own adventure" area, however be careful of the delicate heather and alpine plants. There are a lot of areas under restoration right now because of human impact on these plants.
Continue making your way to the left, and you'll see the lookout in the distance. Continue to follow the trail up to the lookout.
At the lookout, be careful of old boards, and also make sure to give people space. Everyone can have a turn enjoying the lookout, but it does get crowded quick. Ideally do this hike on a clear day so you can get uninterrupted views of Mt Baker!
Click on images below to see a bigger picture
Gear We Use
Practicing LNT Principles, and Giving Back
We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.
We also donate 3% of all our profits to organizations supporting the outdoors and working hard to keep these areas protected and safe.