Hiking the Kulshan Ridge

Rate this Adventure Washington Kulshan Ridge, North Cascades, WA

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Distance: 0.5 mile roundtrip. Minimal elevation gain. Short, easy hike to stunning views of the North Cascades. All-season hike: wildflowers in summer, fall colors in autumn, snowshoeing in winter.

This hike starts out at Artist Point, where already you can see jaw-dropping scenery of Mt. Shuksan, Baker, Coleman, and many other peaks of the North Cascades. No matter what time of year you visit, you are bound to get unbelievable views and photos.

Artist Point is the furthest destination along Mt. Baker Highway (WA-542), sitting at 5,100 ft above sea level. The approximately 58-mile drive to the point is very scenic, and in the last 5 miles you will drive a series of tight switchbacks, as you ascend almost 3,500 feet in a rather short amount of time. On your way in or way out, make sure to stop at the world-famous Picture Lake for a view of Mt. Shuksan rising above the water and tree line.

From the parking lot at Artist Point, follow signs to the Kulshan Ridge Nature Trail, to the southeast. The trail is a quick, 0.5 mile roundtrip hike, but many opt to walk off the trail for different views along the ridge.

As you walk along the ridge, you will see the 10,781 ft. Mt. Baker to the west, and the wonderfully sculpted Mt. Shuksan to the east. Mt. Baker is one of the few glaciated stratovolcanoes in North America, and is covered with snow year-round.

You may see small ponds formed by the snow-melt, although some years the snow never melts completely. Also keep an eye out for mountain goats, marmots, and black bears, which frequent the high alpine meadows as they look for new foraging grounds. Most importantly, do not forget your camera – the views of the mountains and cliffs will have you pressing the shutter button at almost every turn!

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking poles
  • Warm clothing
  • Compass
  • Water and snacks
  • Camera and tripod
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How to Get There

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Added by Chase Dekker

Wildlife photographer and biologist currently based in my coastal hometown of Monterey, California. Always looking for the next wildlife adventure!

Activities:

Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Features:

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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