Mt. Baker Wilderness

South Sister, Mt. Baker Wilderness

The Mt. Baker Wilderness is 117,900 acres, created as part of the Washington State Wilderness Act of 1984. Mt. Baker is an active glacier covered volcano in the Cascades standing at 10,778 feet, making it the fourth highest summit in Washington and the dominant attraction of this wilderness. Thirteen glaciers cover the mountain and shares the landscape with other popular climbing destinations: Twin Sister Range, Tomyhoi Peak, and Ruth Mountain. It is accessible by more than 50 miles of trail.

The Mt. Baker Wilderness borders the North Cascades National Park on the east and the Canadian border on the north. Mt. Baker National Recreation Area encompasses the southern slope of Mt. Baker.

The designated wilderness area is located on the western slopes of the Cascades and shares about 20 miles of border with the national park. Here, high-elevation lakes and tarns dot the region, surrounded by natural alpine meadows and rocky peaks rising to elevations of 6,000 to 8,000 feet.

Mt. Baker towers thousands of feet above the rest. Forests of Douglas fir, true fir, cedar, western hemlock and mountain hemlock carpet lower elevations. More than 16 square miles of glaciers carve and reshape the land, with the resulting ridges of jagged stone dissected by a web of frigid rivers and streams that comprise the Nooksack and Skagit river systems, the area's two major drainages. This harsh landscape attracts extreme weather: Mt. Baker Ski Area recorded the world-record snowfall of 1,140'' during the 1998-99 winter.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Voluntary Climbing Register - It is strongly recommended that all climbing parties submit a climbing register. Registration is optional. See climbing information.
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
  • No camping within one mile of these lake areas (except at designated sites):
    • Mazama, Iceberg, Hayes, and Arbuthnot Lakes; Chain Lakes #682, Ptarmigan Ridge #682.1, and Yellow Aster Butte #686.1 trails.
  • No campfires (except gas stoves) within one mile of the following trails:
    • Lake Ann #600, Heliotrope Ridge #677, HogsBack Route #677.1, High Divide #630, Excelsior #670, Welcome Pass #698, High Pass #676, Skyline Divide  #678, Yellow Aster Meadows #699, Yellow Aster Butte #686.1, Ptarmigan Ridge  #682.1, Chain Lakes #682, Winchester Mtn #685, Goat Mtn #673, Table Mtn #681, Hannegan Pass #674, Hannegan Peak #674.1, and Ruth Arm #674.2.
  • Some trails are closed to pack/saddle stock.
Closest Towns: Sedro-Woolley, Washington; Glacier, Washington
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Information Center: Mt Baker Ranger District, 360-856-5700

General Information


Precipitation on the top of Mt. Baker sometimes reaches 150 inches a year. Many of the drainage's open into heather-filled meadows showcasing summer alpine wildflowers, huckleberries and blueberries. You may find Devil's club, salmonberry, skunk cabbage and ferns lining the banks of creeks and rivers. Black bears, black-tailed deer and mountain goats in the rocky high country are the wildlife you may encounter.

Mountain climbers visit Mt. Baker in spring and summer before fall opens numerous large crevasses. Hundreds of climbers may be seen on the mountain in a single day. The Heliotrope Ridge Trail #677 winds 2.7 miles to the Coleman Glacier, the most popular climbing route on the mountain. A well-developed and very busy trail system provides access to the lower country. 

Topo Maps

Baker Pass, Bearpaw Mountain, Groat Mountain, Mount Baker, Mt. Larrabee, Mt. Sefrit, Mt. Shuksan, Shuksan Arm, Twin Sisters Mountain. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Trailheads/Trails that access Mt. Baker Wilderness:


Mountain Climbing

General Info:


Topo Maps

Baker Pass, Bearpaw Mountain, Groat Mountain, Mount Baker, Mt. Larrabee, Mt. Sefrit, Mt. Shuksan, Shuksan Arm, Twin Sisters Mountain. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo Maps here.

Buy maps online

Buy the Mt. Baker Wilderness and Mt. Baker National Recreation Area map online at the National Forest Store.

Lake and Pond Fishing

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

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