North Cascades - Mount Baker Area

Picture Lake, Bagley Lakes Trail, and Artist Point Trail – Hike Washington

If you’re looking for a perfect day trip idea with friends or family, then let me suggest driving to Mt. Baker, stop by Picture Lake, explore Bagley Lakes, and hike the Artist Point trail.

From Seattle, it takes about 3 hours to get to the Mt. Baker area, but I promise it will be worth the drive! Try to plan your visit before the freezes in November.

Trails in this area take literally little to no effort with stunning mountain scenery and wildflower everywhere. Hiking at Bagley Lakes and Artist Point is more like a stroll. However, if you’d like a more challenging hike, definitely do the Chain Lakes Loop starting at the Artist Point parking lot.

Note that this area is accessible during the summer and early fall due to snow and road conditions. Make sure to look for weather and warning signs of road closure.

  1. Picture Lake (no hiking required)
  2. Bagley Lakes Trail (2.2 mi roundtrip, easy)
  3. Artist Point Trail (aka Artist Ridge Trail, 1.2 mi., roundtrip). Short hiking season (August – October), less than 3 months starting when snow begins to melt and ending when the area gets snow. Look for a warning sign for road closure HERE or check WSDOT status.

Stop 1: Picture Lake

This is the classic Mt. Shuksan picture spot, so you should not miss it if you’re in the area!

The road around the lake is one way, so you can park anywhere on the side of the street and follow the trail to the lake. There are a few viewing platforms, and the road that leads there is wheel-chair accessible.

at one of the two main viewing platform at Picture Lake overlooking to Mt. Shuksan

OUTFIT: windbreaker: COTOPAXI (exact color is sold out) | leggings: OUTDOOR VOICES | shoes: KEEN

Stop 2: Hike Bagley Lakes Trail

Length: 2.0 miles, roundtrip. Gain: 150 ft. Highest Point: 4300 ft.

Bagley Lake trail is a 2.2 mile easy loop trail. It’s definitely family and kid friendly.

Park your car at the Heather Meadows parking lot and head left as that will lead you to the big lake. The man-made rocky viewing platform with the big lake overlook reminds me of a Game of Thrones scene.

We did the trail clockwise from the visitor center following sign for Wild Goose trail and had to climb a few sets of stairs at the end. However, it’s a short and easy trail. so you can start the hike any directions you’d like.

big lake overlook

Start of the Wild Goose Trail:

We shot below photos at one of many pull-outs before we got to the Artist Point parking lot. Make sure to drive slow and take your time in this area. It’s amazing!

Stop 3: Artist Point, aka Artist Ridge Trail

Length: 1.2 miles, roundtrip. Gain: 200 ft. Highest Point: 5150 ft.

This specific trail is known for getting tons of love and abuse. It gets very crowded during its hiking season. It lasts for a few short months due to snow conditions. Lots of people go here for engagement/wedding photos because the hike is short and the view is grand. I even saw a girl in her Quinceañera dress and a few girls in their high heels. If you can make it up here, please be mindful and stay on the graveled trail. Pick up any trash on the way and remind people of the fragile plants up here.

We waited near one of the lakes until sunset. It was cold but totally worth it. Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker were covered in clouds, but things cleared up at sunset.

Mt. Baker finally cleared off from the cloud at sunset

OUTFIT: long-sleeved shirt: HEMPX *gifted (use code ‘AN’ for 30% off) | leggings: OUTDOOR VOICES | shoes: KEEN | bra: GIRLFRIEND Float Lola |

panoramic view of Mt Shuksan and nearby peaks at sunset

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MORE DAY TRIP IDEAS IN WASHINGTON:

Obstruction Point & Amazing Sunset at Hurricane Ridge – Hike Washington

Top Things to Do in San Juan Island – Travel Washington

Bain Bridge & Deception Pass – Travel Washington

Dungeness Spit, Olympic Peninsula – Travel Washington

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An Trieu

Currently based in Seattle, Style & Senses is my digital life and style journal of all things that inspire my senses and beyond. Hope you stay inspired, as always! - An Trieu.

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