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Church Mountain

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area
View map below

Length

8.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 3750 ft.
Highest Point: 6100 ft.

Rating

4.34 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2019
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

The rewards for this strenuous hike are a bouquet of fall colors and a vast panorama of North Cascades mountains.

From the trailhead, the route up Church Mountain starts deceptively easy with a 0.5-mile stroll up an old forest road. Then it gets right down to business with lots of switchbacks winding up and around the west side of the mountain. The trees are fairly dense, which you'll actually appreciate on warmer days, though they obstruct any big views until later—look for the occasional peek of Mount Baker above or the North Fork Nooksack River below as you continue to climb.

At 3 miles, the trail finally eases its grade and opens up into sprawling meadows. This is your first chance to glance back at the spectacular view of Mount Baker. As you meander through the meadow, you will not see any of those notable golden larch trees, but the vibrant fall colors brought out by the abundance of huckleberry bushes that blanket the meadow and the ridge above in hues of green, red, purple and gold.

From the meadow, the last 1.2 miles of the climb get steeper, but the trail takes you directly through a large huckleberry patch for some possible late-season treats. The last 200 feet are a scramble up loose rock. Take advantage of the cable to hold on to going up this last section. From the peak, you will get a fantastic 360-degree view of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Damfino Lakes, Border Line Peaks, Goat Mountain, Excelsior Pass and Skyline Ridge in the background.

Summit Tip: Consider bringing a pair of leather gloves for handling the cable ascending to the top of the mountain.

 

Church Mountain

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.9123, -121.8578 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area

Church Mountain (#671)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13 map

Getting There

Drive the Mount Baker Highway east for 34 miles from Bellingham to the town of Glacier. Pass the Public Service Center, and keep driving east for another 5.4 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 3040, and follow this road for 2.7 miles to its end and the trailhead.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Church Mountain

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