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Early Summer Hikes in Northwest Washington

The hiking in northwest Washington gets good long before you can get at the stunning high country hikes of Mount Baker. Use June and early July to explore a side of the state that many who beeline for Baker miss. From snow-free hikes in North Cascades National Park to waterfalls to family backpacking, below are a few hikes to jump start your summer hiking season.

The hiking in northwest Washington gets good long before you can get at the stunning high country hikes of Mount Baker. Use June and early July to explore a side of the state that hikers who beeline for Baker miss entirely. From snow-free hikes in North Cascades National Park to waterfalls to family backpacking, below are a few hikes to jump start your summer hiking season.

Before you go: Call or stop by the local ranger station and stay alert to the hazards of hiking on melting snow (if you encounter it).


East Bank Baker Lake

Location: Highway 20
Length:
4 to 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Best Season: May - October

A low elevation North Cascades trail that makes an excellent day hike or early season backpack. For the greater part of the hike you are back from the lakeshore in forest, but you will see tantalizing glimpses of Baker Lake through the old trees. At 2.5 miles come to a delightful larger old campground on the water called Maple Grove. The camp is used by boaters on holidays, but is usually unoccupied at other times. The trail continues for 10 miles for the length of Baker Lake. You can follow it for as long as you like, enjoying vistas of mountains, birds, and shoreline before returning to your starting point.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Thunder Knob

Location: North Cascades Highway
Length:
3.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 635 feet
Highest Point: 1875 feet

This hike leaves from Colonial Creek Campground and climbs up through forest from one great view to another. On this short and gradual hike, you'll find stunning views of the Diablo Lake and the classic glacial profiles of the surrounding mountains. This hike views are best on a clear day, but if clouds get in your way, keep your eyes peeled for pockets of wildflowers along the way. Pair it with a visit to the North Cascades Visitor's Center interpretive center for a great outing with kids.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Fourth of July Pass

Location: North Cascades Highway
Length: 11.2 miles
Elevation Change: 2400 feet
Highest Point: 3600 ft

A more challenging hike from Colonial Creek Campground is Fourth of July Pass. You'll hike along lovely, turquoise Thunder Creek. Then climb steeply (2000 feet in 2.5 miles) to Fourth of July Camp. If you didn't bring your backpack (and pick up a backcountry permit), you'll wish you had. Expect to get your feet wet on a couple of stream crossings, and there may be a bit of snow on the pass. Otherwise, gorgeous views of Colonial Peak, Snowfield Peak and Neve Glacier are enjoyed here. Turn around, or push on to Fourth of July Pass.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Cedar Falls

Location: North Cascades Highway
Length:
3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 500 to 3550 feet 

Easily attained glory in the North Cascades! Cedar Falls is a two-tiered cascade that crashes loudly for much of the summer, and has lovely features that change throughout the season. The hike climbs gently to the falls at 1.75 miles while the creek below rages downstream loudly. While mostly in the trees, there are views of Goat Peak and a pretty variety of wildflowers to enjoy along the way. For those wanting further exploration, another couple of miles will lead you to meadows rimmed by aspen glades. Seven miles past the falls,you to the fabulous vistas from Abernathy Ridge.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Alger Alp - South Route

Location: South of Bellingham
Length:
4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1350 feet

An easy-to-access and rarely busy trail that leads to a Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNNST) segment running from Alger through Squire Lake Park has a divergence to the top of "Alger Alp". This hike follows the south route and old logging roads to the "Alp." You'll start in the valley and then climb steadily along a ridgeline to the summit. Along your way, enjoy the views of the Olympics, the islands, the Chuckanut Range, Skagit Valley, Lake Whatcom and Mount Baker. (The only downside is the lack of parking at the trailhead.)

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide