HistoryMt. Baker has worn several appellations in its 400,000 years. Long before white settlers came, Nooksack Indians called it quck-sman-ik, meaning "white mountain." The Lummi Indians near Bellingham Bay called it kulshan, meaning "broken off." Presumably, they were referring to the frequent volcanic activity.
English explorer Captain George Vancouver rededicated the mountain while charting the region in 1792. He named it for Lt. Joseph Baker, a young officer in his command who spotted the peak while their sloop "Discovery" was sailing off the coast of Washington, near Dungeness Bay.
Flora and fauna
ClimateTemperatures in the Mt. Baker area range from 70s (°F) with clear skies in the summer to upper 20s with rain and snow through the winter. Annual rainfall in the lowlands is 30 to 50 inches. At higher elevations, precipitation ranges from 70 to 140 inches.
In 1999, Mt. Baker set the new world's record for the most snowfall ever measured in a single season 1,140 inches (2,895.6 cm)!
Another popular route, for Canadians, is to take the Sumas border crossing, in Abbotsford, and continue following the road signs as you drive southeast for 45 minutes.
Fees and permits
- Day Pass $5
- Annual Pass $30
- Federal Golden passports are also honored at NW Forest and park sites:
- Golden Eagle $65 (federal annual pass)
- Golden Age $10 (lifetime pass for US citizens 62+)
- Golden Access Free (Qualified Disabled US Citizen)
Picture Lake, at milepost 55, provides a postcard view of Mt. Shuksan and is a popular photography stop.
Hiking. An abundance of trails cover the Mt. Baker area as soon as the snow melts. From the Artist Point parking lot (the end of the road) a few of the more popular trails are the demanding climb of Table Mountain, the stimulating variety of Chain Lakes Loop and the awe inspiring closeness of the mountain itself at Ptarmigan Ridge.
For those with less ability to walk a distance the Artist Loop trail provides a great view of the mountain on an accessible paved loop, with the opportunity to continue up the hill just a little way to find small meadows and late summer ponds which are perfect private lunching spots. The rocky terrain here makes it feel like you are in the backcountry when in reality you are less than a mile from your car.
Mt Baker LodgingProvides the closest places to stay to the mountain. Most of their cabins are in and around Glacier (about 30 minutes from the upper parking lot). A variety of different cabins to choose from can make for a quiet get away in the woods or a weekend in a cabin for ten with friends. Prices are in the mid to upper range depending on size and amenities of the cabin.
Canyon Creek ChaletsOffers private, self catered, fully equipped vacation lodging, 35 minutes from the Mt. Baker Ski Area and minutes away from the Mount Baker Recreation Area. Each cedar chalet comes with furnishings, bed and bath linens, kitchen utensils, TV/DVD, DVD movie collection, and outdoor hot tub.
The US Forest Service maintains three campgrounds along the Nooksack River on Hwy 542 east of Glacier: For information call +1 360-856-5700 Mt. Baker Ranger District
Douglas FirHas 30 tent sites at Milepost 36.
ExcelsiorA group site with two units that hold 50 people each at Milepost 40.
Silver FirHas 20 tent sites at Milepost 46.
phone: +1 360-599-1776address: 8174 Mt. Baker Hwy., Deming, WA 98244European style Bed & Breakfast. Amenities include a gourmet breakfast, hot tub, free parking, feather beds, and a helicopter landing pad. Close to the Mt. Baker Ski Area. No children or pets.
- Use caution on access roads: watch for obstructions such as rocks, sudden bends, parked vehicles and pedestrians.
- Safeguard your possessions by keeping them out of sight. Lock your vehicle.
- Carry the ten essentials.
- Stay on trails. Wear adequate footwear and use a topographic map and compass.
- After hiking, check yourself for ticks which may carry Lyme disease.
- Horses can startle easily. When stock approach, make your presence known and stand on the lower side of the trail.
- Report down trees or washouts to the nearest ranger station.
- Do not depend on cell phones as there are many 'dead spots.'
- Always tell a friend your travel plans including destination and expected return time.
WildlifeThe North Cascades is home to many species of wildlife from a common chipmunk to a grizzly bear, it is important to keep wildlife wild.
Animals can be attracted to food and other scents. Human food is both unhealthy for animals and can lead to potentially dangerous encounters with bears.
- Try to have your sleeping area about 100 yards (90 m) up wind from your cooking area. Keep sleeping gear free of food odors and cosmetic scents.
- Store food, garbage and toiletry items in either bear-resistant canisters (available on loan from National Park Service offices) or strung up 15 feet (5 m) off the ground and at least 5 feet (1.5 m) from tree trunks.
- Pack out all food waste.
- Never feed wildlife.