Exploring Along the Mount Baker Scenic Byway (3): Artist Point

September 29, 2012

Snow-capped peak of Mount Baker viewed from Artist Point

The Mount Baker Scenic Byway dead-ends at Artist Point, about 58 miles from Bellingham.  The road gains elevation in a series of hairpin turns and curves.  There are snow patches everywhere, including a tall bank of dirty snow in the parking lot.  The entire area at the end of the road is called Heather Meadows, and this low green plant provides the ground cover along with huckleberry bushes.

Winding Hwy 542 as it nears Artist Point

Greeted by a tall bank of dirty snow at the edge of the parking lot at Artist Point

Hikers have a choice among several trails that start from the Artist Point parking lot.  One thing I love about the Mount Baker Scenic Byway is that you can see some spectacular scenery without much effort, just a short trek from the car.  But if you want a more strenuous workout, you can hike some of the longer trails in the network.

I wasn’t prepared for a long solo hike, so I simply walked a short distance to Huntoon Point.  The views of Mount Baker were just stupendous.  At 10,781 feet, Mount Baker is the third highest peak in Washington State (after Mount Rainier and Mount Adams), and it is snow covered all year long.

View of Mount Baker from Artist Point

A distant view of the Cascade range from the trail at Artist Point

A glacier on Mount Shuksan

Two snags amidst the heather and huckleberries

Looking across to Table Mountain and a distant trail

If you look closely, you can see two hikers (the dark specks) on the trail.

Mount Baker with contrail

8 Responses to “Exploring Along the Mount Baker Scenic Byway (3): Artist Point”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve been just astonished by both the scenery (such a poor word!) and your photos in this series. I haven’t quite found the words to describe how beautiful they are – so I’ll just say “Wonderful” and leave it at that.

    I do think one of my favorites is the one of this page, of the dirty snow. There’s something spare about it, almost architectural. And the image itself looks as though it’s been “posterized” – one of my favorite treatments in the processing programs.

    On the other hand, the hikers are pretty cool, too. I can only imagine how it must be to be out there – thanks for pointing them out!


  2. ‘dirty snow’ is not part of my world. I was rather taken with the pattern – bird’s feathers, fish scales. Wonder why the ?gravel forms those regular curved patterns? Something about frost and thaw cycles?

    • Rosemary Says:

      I loved the pattern, too. Reminded me of fish scales. I bet the dark stones/mud heat faster (thus melt faster) than the pure white snow. Thus part of the patterning must be from uneven melting times.

  3. melanyrae62 Says:

    These posts inspired me to take my Wisconsin friend up there. She’d not been anywhere in the Cascades and absolutely loved it. At the moment, neither of us can walk very far, so it was so wonderful to be able to drive through such beautiful scenery!

    • Rosemary Says:

      I agree that this has to be one of the best drives for seeing scenery just a few steps from your car. So glad my posts inspired you to go on this outing with your friend. I’ll be taking future guests here, too.


  4. […] just once before in September 2012 (you can see my blog posts about that trip here and here and here and here), and I was now again feeling its call.  So when I read that the final stretch of the […]

  5. Elisa Says:

    OH! I very much prefer the image of Mount Shuksan


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