Mt. Baker National Park

While Kodak-moment meadows of colorful wildflowers are a big attraction throughout the summer, Mt. Baker is better known as one of the nation’s top snowboarding areas. Each winter, Mount Baker receives an average of more than 500 inches of snow.

If you love remarkable mountain views, the quiet beauty of freshly fallen snow is ready for you to plow through on your skis or snowboard. Mt. Baker should be your goal when staying at the Oostema Farmstead.

From the farm, head east toward Wash. 542, known as the Mount Baker Highway. You will climb to 5,140 feet in elevation, and the road will dead-end at the aptly named Artist Point, an area of rugged beauty nearly unequaled in the state.

You can even catch Mr. & Mrs. Clause for a snowy photo opp when you bring the kids up for ski and snowboard lessons in December! Ski and snowboard rentals are available at the ski area, and snowboards can also be rented in Glacier’s town at Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop. For the to date snow report, head over here: Mt. Baker Snow Report.

Cross-country skiers will find a few miles of groomed trails at Mt. Baker National Park ski area and more miles at the Salmon Ridge Sno-Park farther down the mountain. Telemark skiers and backcountry snowboarders enjoy terrain adjacent to Mount Baker Ski Area.

A highly recommended stop on your way up the mountain—especially for backcountry and hiking information is the Glacier Public Service Center on the Mt. Baker Scenic Byway, State Route 542, which serves visitors headed into the northern reaches of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and North Cascades National Park.

Artist Point

Located at the very end of Mount Baker Highway boasts 360-degree views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker and access to various trails.

This coveted destination is typically only open from late July to early October due to excessive annual snowfall. It even holds the world record amount of snowfall within a season of 95 feet!

Mount Baker Highway is only plowed to the ski area at Heather Meadows (Picture Lake). The ski area is small and isolated enough to disturb the peace at Artist Point and help with winter access to this beautiful place.

Artist Point is a 4-mile roundtrip snowshoe hike with about 1000 feet of elevation gain. It is a popular destination, so there is almost always a clearly visible track to follow. Artist Point should be doable for most beginning snowshoers, but there are a couple of steeper (though not exposed) sections that can be challenging depending on the snow conditions. If you venture out with fog or snow in the forecast, be cautious that route finding skills are critical in this open terrain.

Nooksack Falls has a strong water flow that you won’t want to miss. A few miles past Glacier, watch for FS-33, which leads to where the Nooksack River flows through a narrow gorge and drops 88 feet into a deep rocky river canyon.

The Mount Baker Foothills are filled with an array of small locally-owned and unique businesses, including a Beer Shrine & Wedding Chapel, the unexpectedly hip Everybody’s Store, North Fork Brewery & Pizzeria, Snowater Association, a rare Western Washington vineyard, river rafting, restaurants, a casino and miles of scenic trails through National Forest lands.

Two of the most rewarding hikes in the Mt. Baker National Park area actually originate off side roads 1 mile east of Glacier’s town. These are the 5-mile round-trip Heliotrope Ridge Trail (off Forest Service Rd. 39) and the 7-mile round-trip Skyline Divide Trail (off Forest Service Rd. 37). Both of these trails climb up through meadows with excellent views of Mount Baker, and, from the Heliotrope Ridge Trail, there are also impressive glacier views.

Please note: To park at Heather Meadows, Artist Point, and other area trailheads, you’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass. These permits cost $5 per day ($30 for an annual pass) and are purchased at ranger stations and national forest visitor centers.

And if all that isn’t enough, how about learning how to track wildlife? Learn about Lummi Indians create basketry? Delve into the mysteries of mycology? You can do any of these things when you sign up for a class through the North Cascades Institute. They are a nonprofit educational organization that offers dozens of natural history field seminars each year. 


For more information on Bellingham, check out our Local Guide, and be sure to enjoy your day before you head back north to your cozy getaway at the Oostema Farmstead. We will keep the light on for you.

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