Outbound Collective logo



9.08 miles

Elevation Gain

3258 ft

Route Type



Added by John Entwistle

Yellow Aster Butte is an unbelievable hike just north of the Mt. Baker Ski Area with amazing views of Mt. Shuskan, Mt. Baker, and Canada to the north!

Yellow Aster Butte has to be one of the most visually rewarding hikes in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for the effort required to get there. Abundant with lush, rolling mountain meadows, hikers can be treated to an abundance of wildflowers, heather fields, and berry patches with dreamy scenes of rugged peaks in every direction on the 9-mile round trip will get you up to the top of Yellow Aster Butte (8-mile if not camping). If you choose to camp just left of the trail to the butte, it can be a great basecamp for other day hikes and small scrambles up to viewpoints (see Yellow Aster Butte and Tomyhoi Peak). The hike up is steep, on a relatively flat and well-maintained trail. It took us 2.5 hours to get up with 50 lb packs (I need a lighter hobby!)

The Trail
From the trailhead, begin ascending up a series of switchbacks that pass through open meadows and forested slopes. The incline is steep at first, but levels off a bit after about 1.2 miles. At 1.4 miles, the trail splits to the right leading to Tomyhoi Lake. Keep left to continue on to Yellow Aster Butte and follow the trail around a curving basin of wildflowers, berries, and trickling streams. At the end of the basin, the grade steepens again for a short stretch before flattening out again and winding around the base of the Butte. When the trail forks, hikers can choose left to descend 200 feet to a valley of high mountain lakes or continue right gaining 400 additional feet to the top of Yellow Aster Butte (See the fork to camp shown on the GPX track).

Hikers that choose to descend will have views of rugged peaks reflected in the clear waters of the lakes, as well as multiple options for camp spots if looking to stay the night. If ascending the Butte, the effort in climbing the additional 400 feet will quickly pay off as the views of the seemingly endless North Cascades come into view. There is one spot for a 1-2 person tent at the top of the Butte if you can be lucky enough to snag it. Though the idea of lugging a heavy backpack up a steep 400-foot face isn’t exciting to most, the solitude and the tent views of the glaciated faces of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker make it worth the effort. Just be sure to bring water as there is no water source at the top!

Note: During the peak of summer and fall, Yellow Aster Butte is a very popular destination. Go mid-week for a little solitude, or head in early on the weekend to get a good camp spot!

Getting There
To access the trailhead, take the Mt. Baker Highway 542 east from Bellingham. Follow the road for 47 miles before turning left onto the Twin Lakes Road (Forest Rd. 3065). At the first junction, keep left and follow the road for another 4.5 miles to the trailhead (Yellow Aster Butte shares the trailhead for Tomyhoi Lake). Note: This trailhead is not at the end of Twin Lakes Road.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File


Dog Friendly
Swimming Hole

Yellow Aster Butte Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

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


Yellow Aster Butte and Tomyhoi Peak

Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout

Winter Hike to Winchester Mountain

Climb Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak

Catch a Sunrise at Picture Lake

Winter Backpack in the Mt. Baker Backcountry