Hiking: Artist Point Snowshoe

The road for the last stretch of the Mt. Baker Highway was completely clear.  The sun had been shining for the past two days. With avalanche danger being low, Monday was a perfect day to head up to Artist Point.

We arrived at the parking lot around noon. It was half empty.

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The trail begins past the bathroom facility. All uphill traffic must stay far right of the ski boundary.

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The initial ascent was gradual.

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The snow was icy and packed down, there was no need for snowshoe. But I put on mine anyway.

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At this point, neither Baker nor Shuksan can be seen

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But you do get a great view of the north-face of Table Mountain

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(The cabin in front is the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, Mostly buried in the snow, it is closed this time of the year. But in the summer that is the starting point of the 2-mile Bagley Lakes loop trail)

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And Mt. Herman

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Further along the way, you pass another cabin

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Before heading uphill to Austin Pass, with the ski lines to your left.

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At the top, you catch your first glimpse of Mt. Shuksan in the east

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and a spectacular view of the mountain ranges in the north.

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Continue southwest towards Artist Point.

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There are two ways to get there –  you can either climb up a steep hill

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Or take a more scenic route overlooking a snowy valley on your left, with Shuksan towering above

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and a frozen waterfall on your right.

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Enjoy the flat trail while it lasts

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Because at some point, you will have to go up

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and up

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Until you are up on a ridge

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With a view of the majestic Mt. Baker

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and the valley below.

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For safety, keep away from the edge at all times.

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From here, you can either head west towards the Table Mountain.

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(The slope is very avalanche-prone and should be avoided if there is any risk of avalanches)

Or take a 1.5-mile round trip

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to Hutoon Point.

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With, again, Mt. Shuksan to your left

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and a cluster of funny looking trees to your right

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Hutoon Point is a good place to rest up

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refuel

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and take in all the breathtaking views around you.

It was 3:30 by the time we started the descent. With the sun sinking behind the peaks, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped significantly.

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We made a mistake trying to pick another trail and ended up on top of a steep slope.

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Fortunately we were able to retrace our steps, and got back to the car

Just in time for an amazing sunset as we head out.

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This is a rewarding hike on any given sunny day, IF there is very low avalanche danger. I highly recommend it!

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Note:

From Seattle, take I-5 north towards Bellingham, then follow the Mount Baker Highway (SR 542) to the very end (55 miles). The trailhead to Artist Point is at the last parking area on the Mt. Baker Highway. Upon arrival at Heather Meadows, continue to drive around Picture Lake (one-way) and past the ski lifts. The large parking area is on the right at the end of the road. The trail begins left of the bathroom facilities.

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32 thoughts on “Hiking: Artist Point Snowshoe

      1. Good question – not sure. Right now, I am going to Vienna and Italy in March. I have to re-look at your website. I think you have been to Vienna, yes? I was there a long time ago, so trying to research good / economical cafes and restaurants. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, both Italy and Vienna sound awesome. I haven’t finish written about Vienna, but I highly recommend a lunch at Steirereck (https://travel-gourmand.com/2015/09/16/steirereck-in-vienna/) and a visit to the opera even better if you get cheap seats for a performance (https://travel-gourmand.com/2016/11/09/night-at-the-opera/). Also in my post about Steirereck I mentioned an ice cream shop, you have to visit there. It’s so good!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. WOW! That is amazing. Excuse my ignorance, but is it hard to hike on snow? Is it soft under foot like walking in sand? Or do you pick your days when you know the snow will be firmer? Obviously I don’t know much about snow! Heading for 37C here today! Thanks for sharing your stunning photos. Mel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow 37C sounds good to me, since it is only 39F in Seattle right now. It depends on the snow. It is not too hard to hike on snow. Just like normal walking, but in steep areas, good traction helps. Soft and powdery is preferred with snowshoe. But often times we get hard and icy snows, in which case microspikes come in handy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re slightly further North in Canada…so I need to find a local course…but we’re close enough to come down to visit Mount Baker. I keep seeing it from the mountains here, so it has been calling me! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photos. I love the interesting shapes of all that snow piled on the trees. The scenery up there is breathtaking at any time of year, but I don’t think I’ve ever been up there in winter. (Maybe when I was very young and living in Everson.) Thanks for taking us with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful gallery of images and what a fantastic day you had. I’ve recently returned from 10 days skiing in Whistler where unfortunately the weather was not good – we never had a day as good as this, mostly the clouds were down low and it rained in Whistler and snowed higher up.

    Liked by 1 person

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