Hiking to Artist Point, Mt. Baker
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Artist Point is one of the best viewpoints in all of Washington State. It offers gorgeous views of mountains, lakes, foliage, and wildlife. Tucked away, just outside the Mt. Baker ski area, this scenic stopping point has been a hotspot for hikers and snowshoers for years. There are plenty of options for hikers to choose from as there are numerous trails branching off from the Artist Point trailhead. So whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging climb you’re sure to find something you’ll like on Mt. Baker’s Artist Point Hike
One unique aspect of Artist Point is everything changes based on the time of year. During the Winter, the trailhead becomes inaccessible to cars and requires a trek in, which is why it has become so popular with snowshoers. During these times, the nearest place to start your hike up will usually be Heather Meadows Visitor Center. In the Summer, it’s much easier to access with a parking lot connected to the trailhead. To make it easy for you, we’re breaking this into two much more detailed sections covering what to do during the Winter and Summer. Keep reading to discover you’re next Mt. Baker adventure.
Winter in the Pacific Northwest is beautiful but dangerous, which is why you need to be prepared before your winter getaway. Access to Artist Point is limited in the winter. Most of the area will be covered in snow so you’ll have to carefully hike from the nearest trailhead, which is Heather Meadows Visitor Center. The road up to the visitor center is heavily used and the state usually keeps it clear so you won’t have to worry about getting there.
Once there, we recommend following the Heather Meadows and Artist Point Trail up to Artist Point trailhead. This is a relatively easy hike. It’s about 2.9 miles roundtrip and has 853 ft. of elevation gain. The main factor is the trail will be covered in snow, which greatly increases the risk of an accident. To combat these factors, we recommend trekking poles and snowshoes, or microspikes! If you take this into consideration and prepare accordingly you will have no trouble on this beautiful Mt. Baker hike.
On your way up, you are treated to panoramic views of Mount Herman and the Mazama Dome. Don’t let the postcard-Esque scenery keep you too distracted from the trail, though. You’ll soon realize you are getting up close and personal with multiple lakes that are totally iced over. If you’re lucky, you might even see some wildlife living in the area.
Once you reach Artist Point, you have options to choose from. There are a variety of trails branching off from the trailhead. A tough but rewarding hike we recommend is the Chain Lakes Loop. The trail takes you down alongside multiple lakes, like Lake Bagley, and offers stunning views of the North Cascades as well. If this seems out of your comfort zone, there are plenty of other trails ranging in difficulty to choose from at the Artist Point trailhead.
Artist Point in the Summer is a no-brainer! The ease of access to this trailhead is why it’s been a fan favorite for so long. You won’t need to worry about parking as there is a large trailhead parking lot just down the road from Mt. Baker ski area. From the parking lot, you can decide from the variety of trails Artist Point has to offer. During Winter, the longer treks are better as visibility is low and they will take you closer to the features. But during Summer, the best views are much closer.
Some of the best scenery can be found just a mile away, down Artist Ridge Trail. This is the perfect hike for families with children or older adults who might benefit from a hard-packed trail with little elevation gain. Your walk will take you through heavily wooded areas, patches of mountain blueberries, and expansive mountain views all before dropping you off at Huntoon Point, where you’ll be treated to the expansive scenery of both Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. If you make it there at the right time, the sunset will leave you speechless.
Our favorite part about Artist Point is the diversity. There really is something for everybody. If you’re interested in discovering the beauty of Mt. Baker first hand, check out our Mt. Baker hiking trip! We’ll hook you up with a personalized itinerary that will ensure you don’t miss a single thing. If you decide to check it out on your own, be sure to tag us in any photos you share to social media using @adventuretripr!