Hike Helitrope Ridge

Details

Distance

5.5 miles

Elevation Gain

1500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Patrick McGarry

This is an incredible hike with many reasons to do it including amazing views, up close look at glacier, wonderful colors (depending on season), and fun stream crossings.

Starting at the marked Heliotrope Ridge parking lot of FS Road 39, just 8 miles out of the quaint town of Glacier, Washington, you begin your ascent to the glacier viewpoint. The trailhead sign indicates that it is a strenuous 2,000 ft gain over 2.5 miles up to the overlook.

This clearly cut trail switchbacks its way up the hillside over several drainages. You will cross several streams on this trek; be mindful, in spring these can surge in the afternoon making it a bit tricky on your return trip. Totally worth the journey even if you get your feet wet!

There will be one sign on trail indicating the split for climbers to head straight up the hillside to their camp before heading to the peak. Here a turn left takes day hikers across the hillside. After the several crossings you will come up to the cliff carved away by the ancient glacier. You may see some climbers trails accessing the face of the beast.

Head up if you are ok with some exposure and hiking on some loose rocks. Touching a glacier is something everyone should experience. Otherwise sit back, listen to the cracking of the giant while you soak up the sun and eat some lunch. Enjoy!

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Reviews

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Awesome summer hike

My boyfriend and went out and hiked it at a faster pacer in approx 3 hours with plenty of stops. We both agree this is one of our new favorites in Washington.

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Amazing Views

It almost felt like cheating, getting this good of a view of Mt. Baker with relatively little effort. Absolutely love this diverse trail and enjoy the stream crossings, the last substantial one gushing out between boulders forcing me to wade through with water to my knees.

🥉Contributor

over 4 years ago

Streams And Glacier!

Really enjoyed this hike! July 18, 2015. Relaxed hike, not much for steep inclines though we still broke a sweat. It was enjoyable, probably took us about 2 hours up and 1 hour down. We weren't paying much attention to time since it was a short hike. the trail itself is pretty basic, the only concerns would be crossing the river. Some streams are quite simple, but the main river was a little sketchy! Would recommend kids or senior in light of the stream. You will end up with a fantastic view of the glacier and will see many hikers with overnight packs as they will be setting up camp just a bit farther before taking on Mt Baker summit the following day!

Awesome Day Hike

This hike was such a great hike if you're looking for something for the day. It's a moderate gain of elevation the whole way, not too hard at all. It's quite a diverse hike as well. You get great scenes while in the trees and then good views in the gaps of the trees. There are 2 big stream crossings that will most likely require you to get wet but it is more than worth it. When you get past the second crossing at the end there is an amazing view of the glacier and if you want you can go up to it. Along with the glacier, you're staring Mount Baker in the face. Overall this is a quick hike that is well worth it.

Best Day Hike

I have been up heliotrope ridge several times while climbing Mt. Baker and a few times as a day hike. It is probably one of the best day hikes I have ever been on. Make sure you give yourself a lot of time because it might be short but is very steep. There is also lots of exploring to do when you get to the top. It doesn't really come a definite end as lots of climbing routes take off from the viewpoint. If you go up higher you can snag a sweet tent pad and spend a beautiful night.

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4.7/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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