Catch a Sunrise at Picture Lake

Picture Lake

Enjoy the scenic drive along the Mt. Baker Highway and get a great photo of Mr. Shuksan reflecting off this mirror-like lake. Get there early enough catch star trails and the Milk Way during a new moon before sunrise.

Set your eyes on one of the most photographic mountain landscapes in North America. You can drive up early for the sunrise, but really any time of day will be a treat.

In the spring, make sure to come when the lake isn't frozen over so you can get the full reflection of Mt. Shuksan on the water. Towards the end of summer and in the fall, alternatively, a backdrop of wildflowers and colorful plant foliage complements the stunning mountain.

If you also have time for a day hike, drive up to the end of the parking lot, past the ski lifts, to hike or snowshoe up to Artist Point!

Getting there: Give yourself about an hour and a half to drive from Bellingham. From Bellingham, drive north and take exit 255 (E Sunset Drive-Mt. Baker). Turn right onto Sunset Dr and continue straight onto WA-542 E. Drive along WA-542 E for about 21 miles, passing through 2 traffic circles. You will then come to a fork – veer right to stay on WA-542 E and drive for another 31 miles. Eventually, you will come across two parking lots in the Heather Meadows area, just past the Firs Lodge.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Snacks
  • Warm jacket
  • Good tunes for the car
Show More
Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Very Popular

The views up on the Mt Baker highway are stunning as always, and Mt Shuksan dusted in snow is a sight to see! Just know that you will never be the only photographer trying to catch a sunrise picture, it is a very popular view to photograph.

Beautiful view

If you can wake up early and endure the long-ish drive (we came from Seattle), the view is totally worth it. You virtually just park by the lake and walk in about 100ft. Sunrise photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJxrr22AeT6

Beautiful Anytime of Day

Picture lake is one of the most photographed spots in Washington and for good reason. Anytime i'm driving up to Mt. Baker I make a point to stop here. Try and plan your visit before the lake freezes in November so you get to see the reflection of Mt. Shuksan in the lake!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Chain Lakes

Driving Directions: Travel east on Mt. Baker Highway 542 to the road's end and the Mount Baker Ski area. Follow the signs to the upper parking lot and the Bagley Lakes/Chain Lakes trailhead.

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Winter Backpack to Artist Point

You do need a Northwest Forest Pass to park in the lot overnight.

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Snowshoe to Huntoon Point

This strenuous but rewarding hike takes you first to Austin Pass, where there is a great view of Mount Shuksan. Look out for skiers and snowboarders heading the opposite direction as you start out.

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