“An up-close-and-personal experience with Mt. Baker.
— Janae Brewster
River/Creek · Views
Park Butte is a great intermediate step for runner wanting to gain a little distance without too much strain in steep elevations. This run is in the heart of the Mount Baker Wilderness, and offers a range of scenery. It begins in meadows, then moves through a creek bed, up to the forest, back to meadows and a final push up a rocky butte to a mountain lookout.
Difficulty: In the nearly four-mile trek to the lookout, there’s only a 1.5-mile stretch through a shaded forest of climbing switchbacks. If you haven’t been doing anything with significant elevation gains, it’s wearisome. But after that stretch, it’s a pretty manageable, though long, climb the rest of the way.
View: Koma Kulshan can be quite the elusive peak with the PNW clouds shrouding her beauty. However, when the clouds give way, she is quite the sight. Since this trail is an access point for climbers, the mountain is up close and personal during the second leg of the trip. Traveling up the backside of the butte there are stunning views of the Sisters, and the lookout is perched with sweeping views of the mountains and ridges of the North Cascades.
Who else is on the trail: The trailhead is the same as the Easton Glacier climbing route up Mount Baker, so there may be some swoon-worthy climbers around. Other than that, there are few people here and there, but this is not a crowded trail.
Snapchat-ability: It doesn’t even seem worth it to bring a mobile device. Reception ends about 6 miles up the Baker Lake Road, and there’s not even a blip for the next 15 miles of driving and running.