This popular trail within Mt. Baker Wilderness leads you from dense old growth forest to flower filled avalanche chutes and over rocky moraines to the snowy alpine zone. The trail crosses Grouse Creek on a stout bridge and then enters dense forest, climbing steadily. The forest begins to thin as you climb higher and huckleberries are abundant along the trail. Just below the tree line is the former site of the Kulshan Cabin. Above the tree line the terrain is rocky with herbaceous vegetation and numerous streams. Mt. Baker looms above. About two miles from the trailhead you will find a trail junction. The right fork steeply climbs 1,000 feet in one mile to the Hogsback Camp at the base of the Coleman-Deming climbing route to Mt. Baker's 10,781 ft. summit. Staying left, the trail reaches the most difficult of the trail’s stream crossings. Hikers not wishing to ford this stream must use the climber’s route if they want views of the glacier. If you cross the creek you will continue east to a lateral moraine deposited by receding glaciers. From this overlook, the Coleman Glacier is an awesome sight, spilling down Mt. Baker's flanks into a jumble of ice. Look carefully down in the ice blocks (seracs), climbers are often seen practicing their ice climbing skills. Alert! Hikers should never venture onto a glacier without proper alpine climbing gear and experience.
You will encounter several stream crossings along the Heliotrope Ridge Trail. The depth of these streams fluctuates greatly depending upon various conditions such as snowmelt, recent rainfall and time of day. A stream that is easily forded in the morning can become a raging torrent by afternoon. Use extreme caution; poles are highly recommended.
At a Glance
Toilets are not provided, please pack it out.
||Summer - Fall
||Summer - Fall
This trail enters the Mt. Baker Wilderness and wilderness regulations apply.
Hikers only. No fires, except self-contained, carry-in stoves.
Party size is limited to 12 people
Campfires are prohibited
||No potable water.
||Vault toilets at trailhead.
A valid Recreation Pass required at Heliotrope Trailhead.
||US Forest Service
Check current conditions or call Mt. Baker Ranger District office or Glacier Public Service Center.
Access from Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead
From Glacier Public Service Center in Glacier, WA travel east on Mt. Baker Highway 542 approximately 1 mile to Glacier Creek Road (Forest Service road 39). Turn right onto road 39. Travel 8 miles on Road 39. The trailhead and parking area are located on the left side of the road.
Note: Glacier Creek road is closed at the Thompson Creek bridge approximately 1 mile from highway 542. The road is closed due to a washout at 2.7 mile mark. Only hikers or bikers can continue past the closure for another 7 miles before reaching the trailhead.
• Green Trails: Mt. Baker #13
• USGS: Mount Baker, Groat Mountain
• USFS: Mt. Baker Ranger District and Mt. Baker Wilderness
The parking area and trailhead are located on the left hand side of the road. (30+ parking spaces).