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The Mount Baker Scenic Byway

State Highway 542

A Scenic Byway in Washington State

 

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The Mount Baker highway is one of only a few roads in Washington State which starts at the shores of Puget Sound and winds up through the mountains to a snow ski area. It begins in Bellingham and winds east through the Nooksack River Valley and old growth forests to the Mount Baker Ski Area and Artist Point with a magnificent view of the Cascade Mountains.

 

 

 

Mile Post 1

The interchange at Interstate 5 Exit 255 and State Highway 542

Sunset Square Shopping Center, a post office, gas stations, a car wash and an espresso stand are located insight of the interchange.

 

Mile 2

Bellingham City limits, you are headed east toward Mt. Baker

 

Mile 3

On a clear day you can see the Canadian Coastal Range off to the left.

 

Mile 4

Runs through the low hills east of Bellingham.  The Everson Goshen road exits to the left, heading north to intersect with State Highway 544.

 

Mile 6

Small Village of Rome.  There is the Rome Grange Hall on the south (right) side of the Highway, the Rome Community Bible Church on the north (left) side, and Rome Grocery also on the north side of the highway.

 

Mile 8

On the right and slightly elevated you will find a single story building which is the headquarters of Whatcom County Parks.  They offer a rest stop with restrooms and picnic tables with a view of 10,781 Ft. Mt. Baker.

Phone 360-733-2900.

On the left the Smith road heads back west to Ferndale.

 

Mile 9

The highway heads down into the Nooksack River Valley.  On the left just before the bridge over the Nooksack River is the Cedarville Road.  The Deming Log show grounds are about 2 mi. north.  The two-day log show is held on the second full weekend in June.

 

Across the Nooksack River Bridge is Nugent’s Corner.  A small village with a bank, supermarket, espresso stand, and fuel.  On the left State Highway 9 heads north to Sumas and the Sumas Border Crossing into Canada.

 

Mile 10

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Village of Nugents Corner actually starts in mile nine.  In mile 10 there is Bethany Chapel on the north (left) side of the highway, it was built in 1907 and still has Sunday services.

 

 

Mile 11

There are Berry Farms on both the left and right sides of the road.  U-pick and roadside stands with picked berries are available in June (Strawberries), July (Raspberries), and August (Blue Berries).  There are also Christmas Tree farms located here.

Mt. Baker Vineyards is located on the left.  This unique local winery is a must visit attraction with wine tasting room and gift shop.  Be careful not to miss this unique family run winery.

 

On the north (left) side of the highway is True Log Homes.  You may see a log home being pre-assembled.  You cross over the Sumas Branch Line of the BNSF Railroad here and follow along the line for a couple of miles.

 

Mile 12

One the right over the BNSF tracks at the McCouley Road you can see the Mt. Baker Speedway.  Races are held here on this clay track every Friday through the summer.

 

Mile 13

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The Village of Deming.  You will see Mt Baker High School on the right along with their football field.  There is also the Nooksack River Casino (on Nooksack Tribal Lands), a Restaurant, groceries, fuel, and other facilities.

 

To the left you will see Sumas Mountain with an elevation of 3,430 ft.

To the right you will see Steward Mountain with an elevation of 3,087 ft.

 

Mile 14

State Highway 9 exits to the south (right).  Highway 9 is a two-lane 50 MPH highway that goes through Skagit County to the south and on to the Seattle Area.

 

The Nooksack River splits into three forks here.  The South Fork runs along Highway 9 toward Skagit County.  The Middle fork heads toward Mt. Baker to the southwest.  The Mt. Baker Highway runs along the North Fork from here.

 

Deming Homestead Eagle Park

The trail is located on the North Fork of the Nooksack River.  Bald eagles migrate here in late autumn when the salmon are thick in the river. This is an interesting stretch of the river where Salmon habitat structures have been installed along the riverbank.  The county has installed interesting interpretive signs along the trail.

Directions:  After milepost 14, turn right on the Truck Road.

http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/trails/deming_eagle.jsp

 

Mile 16

 

The small Village of Welcome (mainly a country store, espresso, & Laundromat, fire hall, senior center, and a few residences) is located here and the Mosquito Lake Road heads south (right) from here.

 

The Mosquito Lake Road exits to the south (right).  It is a sometimes one lane (bridges) but mostly two lane road through the foothills east of the South Fork of the Nooksack River.   The road connects to Highway 9 about 15 mi. to the south. 

 

If you go south about 0.6 mi. you will arrive at a bridge over the North Fork.  If you park here and look upriver you have a very good chance of seeing Bald Eagles.

 

About a mile south on the Mosquito Lake road the Canyon Lake Road exits to the east (left).  Six miles up this road you come to Canyon Lake and the Canyon Lake Creek Community Forest by Whatcom County Parks. 

The Old-Growth Trail is a part of this park.  Check with the County Parks Office at Mile 8 about conditions prior to using this park.  Low clearance vehicles are not recommended on this road, as it is steep, narrow, and winding.  This road climbs from a 300 ft. elevation at the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River on the Mosquito Lake Road to an elevation of 2,200 ft. at the parking lot at Canyon Lake.  It is about a 2.6 mi. hike up an old roadway to the entrance of the 1.2 mi. Old Growth Trail at an elevation of around 4,000 ft.  That is a 1,800 ft. climb in 2.6 miles.  The viewpoint at the end of the main trail is another .3 mi. from where the Old-Growth trail reconnects with the main trail and is 4,820 feet high or a 2,600 ft. climb from the lake.  This information is based on the Van Zandt Quadrangle map from the US Geological Survey.

For more information:

www.visitoldgrowth.com/CanyonLake01.htm

 

Mile 17 & 18

The highway continues up the north side of the Nooksack River Valley along the river.

 

 

Mile 20

 

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Along the first part of the mile the road runs along the river.

Further along you will find a restaurant on left called the North Fork Brewery, Pizza, and wedding chapel.  It opens at 4:00 PM.

 

 

Mile 21

On the north (left) side of the highway you will see St Peter’s Catholic Church.  Then on the south side you will see the Fish Hatchery road that leads to Kendall Creek Hatchery, built in 1899 this hatchery raises many varieties of salmon , steelhead, and trout.  The ponds are full of Frye from January to May and the fish spawn in October and November.  Visitors welcome. 

 

Mile 22

On the left (north) side of the highway is Slide Mountain, elevation 4,884 Ft.  There is evidence of a slide on the north face of the mountain that damned the Nooksack River in pre-historic times.  There is a private horse ranch and then Black Mountain Ranch (a campers country club) on the south (right) side of the highway.

 

Mile 23

 

Village of Kendall.  There is a country store with fuel, a convenience store with fuel, and an elementary school here.

 

Photo:  The Kendall intersection with State Highway 547 on a rainy winter day.  Highway 547 goes north to Sumas and the Canadian border crossing.

 

 

Mile 24

On the north (left) side of the highway is the Red Mountain tree farm.  Behind the tree farm looms Black Mountain with an elevation of 4,690 ft.  On the right is the Glen at Maple Falls, a private park.

 

Mile 25

The Village of Maple Falls.  There is a post office, The Frosty Inn & Lounge, Fuego last stop cocktails, cabin rentals, lodging, restaurants, fuel, groceries, state liquor store and a library. 

 

Mt Baker area bed and breakfastsMt. Baker Lodging – Office-Maple Falls

7463 Mt. Baker Highway

1-800-709-SNOW (7669)

 

Mt. Baker Lodging – located on the right by the Coffee Co.

 

 

 

The Silver Lake Road exits to the north (left) in Maple Falls and 3.5 mi. up the road you will find

 Silver Lake County Park with cabins, camping, RV camping, a horse camp, picnicking, and boating. 

http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/silverlake/silverlake.jsp

 

Black Mountain Forestry Center is across from the park’s entrance. www.blackmountainforestry.com

 

Mile 27

The road runs close along the river here then moves away.  Further along, during much of the growing season, you will find the Alpenglow farm stand open with local farm products and gourmet foodstuffs.

 

Mile 28

On the north (left) side of the highway you will find the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp.  It was open from 1933 to 1940.  Since the 1950’s the Southern Baptist churches of the Puget Sound have operated a camp here.

 

Mile 29

 

On the south (right) side of the highway is a view point

looking out over the valley with the North Fork of the Nooksack River running through it, surrounded by the mountains.  On a clear day Mt. Baker looms behind the head of the valley.  There is an interpretive sign located here.

 

Mile 30

On the north (left) side of the highway you will find The Logs at Canyon Creek.  This resort features several real log cabins.  These cabins give you the feel of really being in a prospector’s cabin in the woods.  Further down the road is the Glacier Springs residential community.

 

Mile 31

On the south (right) side of the highway you will find the Mt. Baker Bed and Breakfast located 0.5 miles down a side road (Cornell Creek Road) from the highway, they will be on the left and have a sign by their driveway.

http://www.mtbakerbedandbreakfast.com/

summerhouse.JPG (50385 bytes)

They also rent cabins in the area visit the web site at:

http://www.mtbakercabins.com

 

Mile 32

There was a restaurant located on the south (right) side of the road.  Last time we visited the location it appeared to be out of business.

 

Mile 33

The Village of Glacier.  This is the last community before the ascent to the Mt. Baker Ski Area.  The elevation here is 932 ft.  There are restaurants, lodging, library, post office, fire department, and a general store here.

 

There are two rather famous restaurants located here, Milano’s on the north (left) side and Graham’s Saloon and Restaurant on the south (right) side of the highway.  Graham’s has been there for as long as anyone can remember.

 

Glacier Chamber of Commerce:

9973 Mt. Baker Hwy
PO Box 5113
Glacier, WA 98244

 www.glacierchamber.org

 

Mile 34

Gallup Creek Picnic Area is on the south (right) side of the road.  There are no restrooms.  On the north (left) side of the highway is the Glacier Creek Lodge and Cabins.

 

Glacier Ranger Station: It is now called “Public Service Center” is on the south (right) side of the highway.  Open from Memorial Day (late May) to October, They issue hiking & mountain climbing permits and answer your questions about the area.  There are public restrooms available at the Ranger Station.  There is also an outdoor plaza with local self-serve tourist information.

 

Boundary for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the National Forest Scenic Byway.

 

On the south (right) side of the road you will find the Snowline Inn.  On the left side of the road you will find the Snowline and Snow Water residential Communities.

 

Glacier Creek Road (N. F. Road No. 39) to the Mt. Baker Vista 9.5 miles to the south (right).  This national forest road is usually open and passable by cars.  Spectacular view of the glacier at Mt. Baker at the end of the road.  Inquire about condition of the road and back country permits at the Ranger Station before using the road.

 

Mile 35

There is lodging on both sides of the highway here.  There is a restaurant on the south (right) side of the highway.

 

Mile 36

Douglas Fir Campground  This campground was built by the CCC’s in the 1930’s (their camp was at Mile Post 28).  This is a fee campground which takes reservations. US: 1-877-444-6777 International: 518-885-3639 or http://www.reserveusa.com

 

 

Washington State Sno-Park:  on the north (left) side of the highway you will find this access point for cross-country skiing and snow mobiling.  Permit required.

 

On the left side of the road you will find the Canyon Creek Road.  Check on condition of road and obtain backcountry permit at Glacier Ranger Station prior to using road. 

 

Mile 37

To the north (left) looms up Church Mountain, elevation 6,315 ft.  The trails up the south face of this mountain are among the first to open for hiking every spring. 

 

There are several viewpoints on the south (right) side of the road to view the North Fork of the Nooksack River.

 

Mile 38

The Church Mountain road exits to the north (left) here.  Inquire about condition of the road and backcountry permits at the Ranger Station at mile 34 before using the road.

 

Mile 40

Excelsior Group Camp.  This is a fee National Forest campground for groups only.  For reservations,

US: 1-877-444-6777 International:

518-885-3639 or http://www.reserveusa.com

 

 

Nooksack Falls.  Wells Creek Road (N. F. Road No. 33) exits to the south (right).  Drive ½ mile down this road to the parking lot for the falls.  The falls drops 100 feet.  The viewpoint is fenced.  There is an old power plant located here with a long wooden pipe that took the water from the river above the falls to the power plant located below the falls.  There is a group trying to restore the power plant.

 

Mile 41

Excelsior Pass Trail Head.  It is located on the north (left) side of the road.  Check with the Ranger Station for permits and conditions before using this trail.

 

Mile 43

North Fork of Nooksack River – Research Natural Area on north (left) side of road.  This 1,400 acre protected stand of Old Growth Timber was established in 1937.  It contains Douglas Fir, Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar.

 

In the photo you see someone stretching out her arms at the base of an old growth tree.  The tree is on the north (left) side of the highway about 50 feet from the road up a short trail from a small parking turnout.  Look for the tree, there are no signs.

 

Mile 44

 

Viewpoint on south (right) side of road with view of Nooksack River.  Then a little further you will curve away from the river and come to a stand of Old-Growth timber.

 

In the photo at right you see someone stretching her arms across the trunk of a giant ancient cedar tree.

For more information:

http://www.visitoldgrowth.com

 

Mile 46

Shuksan State Highway Maintenance Facility on the north (left) side of highway.

 

Twin Lakes Road (N.F. Road No. 3065) exits to left.  Check on condition of road and obtain backcountry permit at Glacier Ranger Station prior to using road.

 

Silver Fir Campground.  Built by the CCC in the 1930’s.  This is a fee campground which takes reservations. US: 1-877-444-6777 International: 518-885-3639 or http://fap.reserveusa.com

 

 

Hannegan Pass Road (N.F. Road No. 32).  Check on condition of road and obtain backcountry permit at Glacier Ranger Station at mile 34 prior to using road.  This area is a popular cross-country skiing area in the winter.  The Shuksan Picnic Area is also located here.  There are restrooms, picnic tables, and views of the river.

 

Mile 47

Goat Mountain looms up to the north (left).  The grassy areas on the mountain are summer grazing for mountain goats.

 

Note:  From here the road climbs steeply to the Mt. Baker Ski Area.  Often chains are required in the winter.  In the next 7 miles the road will climb over 3,000 feet.

 

Mile 48

The trip up the mountain begins

 

Mile 49

To the east, on a clear day, you get a view of Mt. Sefrit with an elevation of 7,191 ft.

 

Mile 50

To the Southeast, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Shuksan with an elevation of 9,131 ft.

 

Mile 52

Mt. Baker Ski Area’s White Salmon Day Lodge is located to the left.

 

Mile 53

Entrance to Heather Meadows, open in summer only.

 

Mile 55

The Firs Lodge will be on the right.  This is a year round facility for Christian groups.  It is owned by the Firs Bible and Missionary Conference in Bellingham.

 

The photo at the left is the Firs Lodge, in the winter.   It is the first lodge you will see as you arrive at the upper Mt. Baker Ski Area.

 

The road Forks here, KEEP TO THE RIGHT

 

Picture Lake is probably the most photographed lake in the region in the summer months with Mt. Shuksan in the background and reflected in the lake.  Its elevation is 4,100 ft.

 

The Mountaineers Lodge on the right is owned by the Mountaineers climbing club.  Open to members and the public summer and winter.

 

Vista Picnic Area is on the left.  There are no restrooms.

 

Mt. Baker Ski Area – Heather Meadows Day Lodge.  Also located here is the Mt. Baker Ski Area Mountain Shop.  They are on the right.

 

The photo shows the ski lift by the Mt. Baker Lodge on a snowy winter afternoon after it closed.

 

Mile 56

Austin Pass Picnic Area is on the right, it was built by the CCC’s in the 1930’s in a small valley.  This is a must stop to appreciate the views.

 

Mile 58

The end of the highway is located at Artist’s Point.  The elevation is 5,140 ft. and is usually snow bound until late July.  The view of the Cascade Mountains from here is breath taking.  There are several trails that lead from here.  For current information and before hiking here obtain a backcountry permit at Glacier Ranger Station. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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