Skyline Divide

Last summer I visited Skyline Divide. Located in the North Cascades the trail head is accessed from the Mount Baker Highway. Ascending to the ridge is maybe a 3 mile hike, and then you head out towards Mount Baker along the ridge top.
There were many people there, camping and taking pictures.
One photographer and his friend brought along their dog, who added extra flavor to the images.

This is one of the locations where I lead North Cascades Photo Tours, if you’re interested, here is the link with more info.

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

The North Cascade mountains in Washington State are rugged, lush, stark and colorful all at once.

Lupine and the North Cascades

Lupine and the North Cascades

Abundant rainfall creates fantastic meadows filled with wild flowers while at the same time sculpting the ridges and peaks into serrated knives of stone.

The two main entry ways into the North Cascades are the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) and the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542)

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

While there are a few places, such as Artist Point (located at the end of Hwy 542) and Washington Pass (the highest point along Hwy 20) where you can drive to see the scenery, most of the time a trip here involves hiking.

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Along these two byways there are many side roads leading to trail heads that take you up (always up!) into the high country. There are so many trails and choices!

The North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway. This is the Best Road Trip Vacation in Washington State!

North Cascades Photo Prints

If you are interested in fantastic, colorful prints of the North Cascades to adorn your home or office here is a link to my North Cascades Gallery. There you can purchase Canvas Wrapped prints (framed prints are available) as well as Fine Art prints.

One of the most popular hikes along Highway 20 is the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop. This 7 mile hike visits Lake Ann, cupped amongst peaks snow and flowers and offers spectacular views of the nearby summits.

Maple Pass Trail

Wildflowers along the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Trail

North Cascades Photo Tours

This summer I am offering Guided Photo Tours of the North Cascades. We can pick a trail, based on your available time and venture into the mountains for some stunning scenery and photographic opportunities and/or training. Tours are available for both day hikes and overnight trips.

Skyline Divide is a trail reached from Highway 542. This trail leads up and onto a ridge carpeted with lupine, paintbrush and other flowers with grandstand views of Mount Baker, adorned with glaciers.

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

 

 

If you are looking for a guide book that catalogs most all of the North Cascades Trails, I recommend the book “Hiking the North Cascades” by Erik Molvar (Falcon Press). This book provides accurate info about each trail including mileage, elevation gain, and details of flora and fauna.

 

Another fabulous day hike is the Sauk Mountain Trail.

This trail is an easy(ish) hike up into the high country with smashing views of the Skagit Valley. Skagit Valley from Sauk Mountain

If you like a dash of solitude to go along with your mountain scenery then you’ll need to don a backpack and hike at least a day travel from the parking area. Here the crowds disappear and you have the place (mostly) to yourself.

Hiking along Sahale Arm

Hiking along Sahale Arm

In the next installment I will describe a few of the most stunning overnight and extended hikes in the North Cascades.

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

 

 

 

 

 

If capturing images of the Night Sky is your thing, check out our Night Sky Photo Tours and the Night Sky Photo Gallery!

 

Glow of Aurora Borealis

Glow of Aurora Borealis

 

 

Skyline Divide, North Cascades

The Skyline Divide Trail is one of many off the Mount Baker Highway (Route 542) that heads up to the high country near Mount Baker. It is one of the busiest trails due to its ease of access and wonderful views.
These images were captured with the morning light after camping on the ridge. The two mountains in the images are Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. NCI trip 14a

NCI trip 8a

NCI trip 9a

NCI trip 10a

NCI trip 11a

NCI trip 13a

NCI trip 7a