Mount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail


Trail photos

Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail


Trail stats

8.09 mi
Elevation gain
1,949 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
1,949 ft
Max elevation
5,398 ft
97 5
Min elevation
4,166 ft
Trail type
7 hours 16 minutes
August 20, 2018
August 2018
  • Rating

  •   5 2 Reviews
5,398 ft
4,166 ft
8.09 mi

near Boundary, Washington (United States)

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Trail photos

Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail Photo ofMount Baker, WA, USA - Chain Lakes Trail

Itinerary description

This track goes counter-clockwise from the Bagley Lakes Trailhead Parking Lot and quickly accesses the Bagley Lakes section. This section has scenic lake views, the most wildflowers, abundant blueberries in August, and the most bird and small animal activity. The first kilometer is mostly level or gentle uphill.

The track was recorded on August 19, 2018, with heavy wildfire smoke from a record California, Washington and BC fire season. Air Quality Index (AQI) at the closest station to the bottom of Mount Baker exceeded 200 on the day, and appeared considerably higher at elevation, where visibility was significantly impaired. This track could be seen as a proxy for a fog or cloudy day hike. Other Wikiloc tracks of Chain Lakes and adjoining trails posted by ARBY101CA have pictures taken on clear days.

Those requiring a day parking pass have to pick this up a few hundred meters below the parking lot, at a signboard on the left (east) side of the access road. A US$5 bill is the only method of payment there, so prepare that in advance.

Many prefer to start the Chain Lakes Trail at the higher-elevation Artist Point parking where large toilet facilities and the pay station are right at the parking lot. However, the initial trail sections from Artist Point are not the most scenic, and if going clockwise from there it's a final steep climb back to Artist Point at the end of the day.

Maximum Group size restriction of 12, more must break into multiple separate parties.


PictographInformation point Altitude 4,206 ft

Get Parking Day Pass Here (if necessary)

Honour system; leave US$5 in envelope with your car information, deposit this in the lock box, hang stub on front mirror of car

PictographCar park Altitude 4,252 ft

Bagley Lakes Trailhead Parking

One outhouse located at start of trails. Paved access and parking lot.

PictographBridge Altitude 4,216 ft
Photo ofBagley Lakes Dam

Bagley Lakes Dam

After a short descent from parking, cross the curved dam at the north end (outlet) of Bagley Lakes.

PictographBridge Altitude 4,245 ft
Photo ofBagley Lakes Bridge Photo ofBagley Lakes Bridge

Bagley Lakes Bridge

Picture spot

PictographRiver Altitude 4,236 ft
Photo ofUpper Bagley Stream Photo ofUpper Bagley Stream Photo ofUpper Bagley Stream

Upper Bagley Stream

The first accessible remnant snowfields are here, in late August. A smaller path branches down to the stream in the valley bottom.

PictographFauna Altitude 4,649 ft
Photo ofClimb to Table Mt Pass Photo ofClimb to Table Mt Pass Photo ofClimb to Table Mt Pass

Climb to Table Mt Pass

This is the toughest climb of the track. Switchback path was under maintenance on the day. Ground squirrels actively calling in boulder fields, and occasionally show themselves. Abundant wild blueberry and sub-alpine flowers, with thick clusters near any water. Thickets of sparse subalpine forest.

PictographMountain pass Altitude 5,413 ft
Photo ofPass at Table Mt Photo ofPass at Table Mt Photo ofPass at Table Mt

Pass at Table Mt

At approx 1,650 meters, the peak elevation of this track, and the top of the first of two major climbs. A popular rest and snack place in calm conditions. There is a great view of Table Mountain to the east. Table Mountain is apparently a thick sequence of flat-lying basaltic lava flows.

PictographLake Altitude 4,783 ft
Photo ofLake View

Lake View

The trail passes a smaller lake immediately west of Iceberg Lake.

PictographLake Altitude 4,803 ft
Photo ofIceberg Lake View Photo ofIceberg Lake View

Iceberg Lake View

There were no icebergs on the day (Aug 19), however the Google satellite default image shows a time when there was more snow and plenty of small icebergs.

PictographCampsite Altitude 4,708 ft
Photo ofMazama Lake Camping Area Photo ofMazama Lake Camping Area

Mazama Lake Camping Area

Several tents were set up above the south shore of this small lake.

PictographMountain pass Altitude 5,141 ft
Photo ofPass Photo ofPass Photo ofPass


Top of the second of two climbs on this track. Mount Baker would be visible to the south of here on a clearer day.

PictographPhoto Altitude 5,233 ft
Photo ofRhyolite Outcrops

Rhyolite Outcrops

The geology along the entire track is fascinating. Outcrops at this waypoint appear to be silica-rich, sub-volcanic intrusions with step-like planar fracturing. They stand out in contrast to the predominant rock types of the area; columnar basaltic lava flows, coarse fragmental rocks ejected by violent volcanic air-blast eruptions, and finer volcanic ash fall deposits.

PictographCar park Altitude 5,049 ft

Artist Point Parking

A large high-elevation parking lot with paved road access. A popular location with larger toilet facilities, and parking day passes available right at the parking lot.

PictographPhoto Altitude 5,020 ft
Photo ofStart Wild Goose Trail Photo ofStart Wild Goose Trail Photo ofStart Wild Goose Trail

Start Wild Goose Trail

This section of the Wild Goose Trail occasionally intersects the access road up to Artist Point. It must be one of the older popular hiking trails, as the close-spaced rock cairns marking the trail are heavily weathered and crumbling in some places.

PictographPhoto Altitude 4,898 ft
Photo ofWild Goose Stairs Photo ofWild Goose Stairs

Wild Goose Stairs

Erosion is beginning to undermine the stairs in some places, where it can be a bit like descending an inclined log ladder.

PictographMountain hut Altitude 4,423 ft

Heather Meadows Visitors Center

Large facility, closed on the day.

PictographPhoto Altitude 4,390 ft
Photo ofColumnar Basalt Flows

Columnar Basalt Flows

The top surfaces of basaltic lava flows with columnar jointing are exposed along the path below the Visitors Center.

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