Hike along a glacier fed river which cuts through old growth forest on this simple, straightforward hike near the Mount Baker area. 

Located just outside the town of Glacier, WA and 40 minutes prior to Mount Baker Ski area, sits the Horseshoe Bend Trail. A simple and straightforward 6 mile out and back route.

To get here, take Hwy 542 towards the direction of Mount Baker. About 4 miles after you pass through the town of Glacier and 1 mile after you pass the Chair 9 restaurant, you’ll cross over the North Fork Chinook River. Immediately upon crossing the river will be the parking lot for the trail on your right. It sits directly across from the Douglas Fir campground. The parking lot allows for 20 or so cars.

From the parking lot, head towards the river. You’ll immediately go down a staircase and turn left onto the trail (note: you can go right and under the highway, but this will lead you into the campground). The trail embarks along the Chinook river and twists and turns along with it for a majority of its path. The glacier white appearance of the river offers stunning views and contrasts to the evergreen trees which line its banks. You’ll have more than enough points in the trail which allow you to sit directly on the rivers edge to take in its beauty. The old growth forest throughout the trail offers incredible views of the forest itself but for most of the hike the view will be limited to the forest and the river. Unfortunately views of the surrounding mountain wilderness are tough to come by. 

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Swimsuit
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RT Distance 6 Miles
Elevation Gain 210 Feet
Activities Chillin, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Pleasant River Trail

This was very enjoyable walk which is advertised at 6 miles but the trail seems to fizzle out after about 1 1/2, making it 3 miles round-trip for us today. Was still very enjoyable and the sun was out giving additional life to the forest. Beautiful!


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