I am very behind again on my blogging, trying to get caught-up tonight. About a month ago, I headed up to Artist Point in the Mount Baker region with my favorite meetup group. This destination is about a 2.5 hour drive from Lynwood, so be sure to check on road conditions and trail conditions before heading there. To find avalanche conditions go to the NW Avalanche Center site.
The trailhead for this snowshoe begins at the last parking area on the Mount Baker Highway. Permits or payment is required. The trail is 4 miles round trip, 1,000 foot gain, high point at 5100 feet.
For driving directions, trip reports and more info see www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/artist-point-snowshoe
The first part of the trail is shared with the ski area so keep an eye out for skiers and snowboarders. This trail is also very popular. It was not only our big group crowding the trail. On this particular day there were a few groups. (Even with it snowing)
The first part of the trail gradually climbed, but there were a few steeper sections that can get your heart rate up. Per the WTA website, it is a popular destination so there is always a track to follow. It should be doable for most beginner snowshoers, but there are a couple of steeper sections that can be challenging. I made the mistake of following the wrong track on the way up one of these steeper sections (there was one that was more stable). Be sure to take your time to find the easiest route. It was interesting on part of the trail you are next to the groomed ski slope (do not go onto the groomed area unless you really want to piss the skiers off). It was fun to watch people coming down.
Be careful if you are out in snow or foggy conditions as it may make the route harder to find, especially in the open areas at the top. On a clear day the views on the top are supposed to be fantastic. See my earlier post (in July 2016) for Ptarmigan Ridge, our destination was in the same area. I would love to go back next year and try to catch this on a sunny day. On a clear day you can see Mt. Shuksan and Mount Baker, I am guessing it is really fantastic. When we got to the top it was very snowy. I didn’t even take pictures at the top because I was afraid they would not turn out. There were some folks snow camping at about 3/4 of the way to the top. This did not look appealing to me, but I suppose if you have the right gear it could be fun?