Chain Lakes Day Hike

Washington Chain Lakes Trailhead

Added by Jason Horstman

  • Elevation Gain: 1700 ft
  • Highest Point: 5400 ft
  • Distance: 8 mi roundtrip
  • Backpacking possible
  • Amazing panoramic views of Mt. Baker & Mt. Shuksan
  • Dynamic scenery (great for photography)
Driving Directions:

Travel east on Mt. Baker Highway 542 to the road's end and the Mount Baker Ski area. Follow the signs to the upper parking lot and the Bagley Lakes/Chain Lakes trailhead. The trail can also be accessed from Austin Pass and Artist Point.


From the Bagley Lakes trailhead, follow the trail to the Bagley Lakes and admire the crystal clear water with Table Mountain in the background. Continue right across a small stone bridge to ascend up to the Chain Lakes viewpoint, eventually climbing to Herman Saddle. The views here are spectacular, with a perfect panorama of both Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker.

Now drop into the Chain Lakes. The first is Iceberg Lake, with actual icebergs lingering in the lake well into summer. You may also encounter snowfields in this section well into late summer, but I did not in early September. At Iceberg Lake, you can take a small side trail to Arbuthnet and Hayes Lakes, or you can continue on to little Mazama Lake.

Climbing out of the Chain Lakes Basin, you reach a pass between Table Mountain and Ptarmigan Ridge. Go to the left for about a mile until you reach the Artist Point parking lot (this is also a good place to start your hike if you can find parking).

Pack List

  • Ten essentials
  • Hiking poles (if you own some)
  • Microspikes or crampons depending on the season
  • Camping gear if backpacking
  • Bugspray
  • Camera
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



Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1700 Feet



Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

over 1 year ago

Beautiful And Breathtaking! Easy hike with the right footwear.

over 1 year ago

about 2 years ago

This was probably my favorite hike I have done this year! However, I decided to start at Heather Meadows and take Wild Goose Trail up to Artist Point to get that out of the way! There are quite a few places to start this trail, which makes it confusing for some people.

about 2 years ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Mount Catherine

Washington / Mount Catherine Trailhead

Start off on the extremely rough Forest Service 9070 road. Follow this for just over 4 miles until you see a sign for trail #1348 on the right.

Bryan Carroll
25 Saves

Hike to Gem Lake

Washington / Snow Lake Trailhead

The trail to Gem Lake lies along the same trail that passes by the incredibly popular Snow Lake.

Shelby Pothier
20 Saves

Hike to Elk Pass via "the Knife"

Washington / Snowgrass Flat Trailhead

This is a rather long out and back, however, it can also be done as a backpack, which would give you more time to explore the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is highlighted in other Adventures.

Isaac Desautels
18 Saves