Hike Rainbow Ridge

Rate this Adventure Washington Rainbow Ridge Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1200 Feet

Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

A short hike to amazing views of the south face of Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker's Rainbow Glacier, and sweeping views across Baker Lake into the heart of the North Cascades.  You'll sweat to get here, but once on the ridge it's nothing but magnificent scenery. 

Directions are from SR 20.  Turn onto the Baker Lake Road and drive north approximately 18 miles.  Drive past the Boulder Creek Campground on your right and across the bridge spanning the creek.  Take the first left onto FS RD 1130. In about 1.5 miles the road will fork.  Take the fork to the right, do not follow the signage to the Boulder Ridge Trail.  At 4 miles reach another fork; go left. Continue along this road passing all spurs.  At about 9.5 miles from the Baker Lake Road, the road ends at the trailhead; parking is to the right.  No facilities or signage exist at this trailhead.

On foot: From the parking area proceed back towards the road and hang a right up an abandoned road bed.  The trail follows this road bed for a about 0.2 miles before the real trail becomes evident.  The first 0.5 - 1.0 miles of this trail can be difficult.  Deadfall, wet, steep, and root covered portions of trail exist, and it can be buggy.  You'll gain around 700 feet of elevation in this first mile before coming to a small meadow.  Take care to stay on the trail when passing through, others have not and it is apparent.  Continue onward and upward - 0.25 miles and 250 feet to the ridgecrest.

Once on the ridge the trail wanders amongst boulders and small trees, heather meadows, and blueberry bushes.  Head east.  Head west. The trail meanders all over this ridge and game trails are abundant as well.  Multiple sites to spend the night are available as well.  Explore this lightly hiked ridge as long you can, you won't regret it.

Pack List

  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • 10 Essentials
  • Camera
  • Water.  Unless there is still some snow, what you bring is what you will have.
  • Map.  If identifying peaks and ridges appeals to you this is a great spot to do just that.
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Thadd Zehnder

If I'm not outside I'm somewhere wishing I were

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