Summit Church Mountain

Rate this Adventure Washington Church Mountain Trailhead

Added by Katherine Haveman

One of the best views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan without any of the crowds! Church Mountain is a more secluded hike with a fun class 3 scramble to a summit for 360-degree mountain views. 

Start by driving roughly 2.5 miles up Forest Road 3040, conveniently named E Church Mt Road, to the trailhead. The road is bumpy, but lacking the pot-holes that occupy many of the other forest roads. The only issue comes at 2 miles in where a stream runs over the road and has eroded a small ditch. Go slow and you should be fine, my Honda Fit made it easy enough, and arrive at the parking area with space for plenty of cars and a bathroom by the trailhead.

Begin your hike by following a gently sloping gravel road before coming to the first of many switchbacks through the trees. There is one downed tree, but it is easy to jump over. The switchbacks are not the most evenly graded, they will vary from moderate to steep, so it would be helpful to bring your trekking poles if you have them. You’ll get a few peeks at the Nooksack River below, or the top of Mt. Baker, but press on for much better views are ahead. After what seems like forever (3 miles to be exact) the last switchback will level out and cross a few small creeks before opening up to the meadow. Now you have your first view of Church Mountain and its ridge line. 

Follow the trail through huckleberry bushes as the meadow transitions into a marsh-like area where the ground is heavily saturated with water from the stream nearby. There are two campsites with fire pits on the left, but again, the ground is often saturated and they are probably best used in the middle of Summer. At this point, you have a stunning view of Mt. Baker, and you’ll be able to keep your eye on the mountain for the rest of the hike. 

Cross the stream and follow the trail as it wraps around the left side of the mountain. A set of switchbacks cuts across the steep mountainside towards the summit. Nearly there, you will find a cable that is used to help you ascend the class three scramble to the summit, and you will want to bring gloves to help you handle the rough cable. If using the cable to climb straight up the rocky face of Church Mountain isn’t your thing, there is a trail to the right that gets you to the summit with much less scrambling, I tend to take the cable up, and the path back down. 

Enjoy the stunning views from the top, you’ve earned it! 

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Gloves (for handling the cable)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Microspikes (late season snow in the meadow)
  • Daypack
  • Camera
  • Snacks and water
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

8.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3750 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Katherine Haveman

Aspiring photographer and adventure enthusiast.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to Green Mountain

Washington / Green Mountain Trailhead, WA

After the long drive down FR 26, turn onto FR 2680. 6 miles down the road, you'll see what slightly resembles a trail to your left.

Bryan Carroll
10 Saves

Snowshoe Kendall Peak Lakes

Washington / Kendall Peak Lakes

This hike starts at the Gold Creek sno-park. You need the sno-park and discover pass for this. Park on the side of the road and start hiking up from there.

Sarina Clark
8 Saves

Snowshoe Mt. Ellinor's Winter Route

Washington / Mount Ellinor Lower Trailhead

You can stat this adventure at one of two trailheads. I suggest using the lower of the two. The start of the trail ascends through a forest of old growth pines with periodic views of Mt Washington.

Tobin Akehurst
14 Saves