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Railroad Grade

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There are 85 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Railroad Grade — Aug 11, 2011 — shredalert04
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail
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Nice hike up Railroad Grade trail. Encountered lots of snow, in fact, the meadows were completely b...
Nice hike up Railroad Grade trail. Encountered lots of snow, in fact, the meadows were completely buried! The ridge was melted out with some flowers and heather. See photos here:
http://wp.me/peI2E-H3


There are lots of marmots on this trail too. For marmot photos:
http://wp.me/peI2E-Ha

Enjoy this beautiful area!
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Park Butte, Railroad Grade — Sep 29, 2010 — mtnlou
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Bridge out | Water on trail
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Warning: the bridge is OUT! Much to our surprise, after enjoying a gorgeous fall day at Park But...
Warning: the bridge is OUT!

Much to our surprise, after enjoying a gorgeous fall day at Park Butte and Railroad Grade, we arrived back at the crossing to see the bridge we had walked over earlier in the day dismantled. Huh? What was the Forest Service thinking- no warning at the trailhead and what makes Sept 29 bridge-dismantling day. The roaring, silty creek can be forded and there is a plank of the bridge to hold onto. The water will be up to your knees but is not terribly cold.

Other than that obstacle, the only other concern is the bears who are gorging on berries. Make yourself heard so you don't surprise them and give them room. Enjoy the wonderful colors, berries and views!
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Park Butte, Railroad Grade — Sep 15, 2010 — Climbear
Day hike
Features: Ripe berries
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Went to the area for the first time today. The drive to the trailhead is really fun, the gravel road...
Went to the area for the first time today. The drive to the trailhead is really fun, the gravel road is very well maintained. The parking lot was huge but there were only maybe 10 cars there even though it was nice and sunny. Blueberries are all around, they start right from the parking lot. The trail is gentle until the creek crossing, then it starts switch-backing for maybe a mile until you enter the meadows and see Mt Baker. I walked first on the moraine on the Railroad Grade trail for a little while. Lots of marmots and the views are spectacular! Would not recommend that portion of the trail to the people with vertigo issues though.
Then I went to the lookout on Park Butte trail. There were still some nice fresh wildflowers. The switchbacks weren't too bad and soon you reach even more blueberries and even better views. The lookout is also fun to visit. On the way back the weather turned bad: it started raining and there was plenty of thunder. I was glad I had my rain-gear.

Met hunters for the first time on the trail and I wasn't crazy about it. Right after leaving the parking lot I met that hunter walking around right next to the trail with a loaded gun (which was gigantic) and pointing everywhere. It was the creepiest thing I've ever seen on a trail. When I was leaving the lot in the rain there was another hunter with huge gun just starting his hike. I honestly don't think hunters and hikers should mix on the same trail, it made me feel very uncomfortable. Oh, well, at least I didn't look like a bear to them.
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Park Butte, Railroad Grade — Aug 24, 2010 — Albert88
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
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With the gorgeous sunny weather, it was a perfect day to explore the south side of Mt. Baker. The u...
With the gorgeous sunny weather, it was a perfect day to explore the south side of Mt. Baker. The unpaved forest roads 12 and 13 are almost pothole free. The TH parking was about 2/3 full at 8am with likely-minded hikers and campers. There was no snow left all the way to the wooden fire lookout and there was in place a wood plank bridge over the rushing Rocky Creek. Fresh trail improvement has been made with peeled poles and tamped soil so that the slope is more gradual. Some of the big steps may not be my cup of tea but I figure it would prevent erosion and be helpful for the other people and horses. Many thanks to the volunteer work parties!

Wildflowers are blooming in the Moritz Meadow w/ Lupine, Fanleaf Cinquefoil, American Bistort, Mountain Daisy, Sitka Valarian, False Hellebore, Rosy Spirea, Arnica, Mountain Ash, etc. Once past the junction to the Railroad Grade trail, the landscape was dominated by Huckleberry and Mountain Heathers of Pink and White. Bees were busy hopping flowers but I did not detect any biting fly or mosquito.

Before the final ascent to the lookout from its back side, there were a few tarns left that provide reflections of the Mt. Baker peaks as your photo op. They are to your left as the trail levels out from its climb and before it curves right.

There was 360 degree view of Cascade peaks from the lookout displaying the fantastic summits of Mt. Baker, Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Rainier, and Twin Sisters. As ignorant as I am, I wish there were an illustration of "Cascade Peaks for Dummies" in the lookout for the roll call! Even as hikers are looking for mostly solitude while enjoying the scenery, a few of them did stop and carry a conversation with me. I appreciate that they shared their local knowledge, experiences, and love for nature and family with me!

Dominating the skyline to the north, Mt. Baker could be seen puffing steams from its summit fumaroles - a gentle reminder that it is alive and fuming. Is it a beauty or a beast? Maybe both.

There were numerous overnight campers in the lookout, Mazama Park, and Railroad Camp, with more on their way up in the afternoon. After reaching the knife-edged ridge on the Railroad Grade trail, I decided to turn back having checked out the U-shaped valley the greatly-receded Easton Glacier carved out in the past.

On my way down, I sampled by the handful the abundant and sun-ripened Huckleberry by the trail in the Schriebers Meadow. It was a delicious and juicy treat on a warm and thirsty afternoon, and a memorable conclusion to a rewarding trip.

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Railroad Grade — Jul 23, 2010 — PL
Day hike
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We left the trailhead, and a nearly full parking lot, at 10 a.m. Temperatures were in the low 70's (...
We left the trailhead, and a nearly full parking lot, at 10 a.m. Temperatures were in the low 70's (nearly 80 on our return). The gravel road from the highway is in excellent condition. A sturdy new bridge crosses Rocky Creek.

We encountered a lot of snow as soon as we hit the meadows, far more than is typical for late July, and from there on it was snow everywhere except on Railroad Grade, which is dry. Easton Glacier is almost entirely under snow except for a few yawning cracks. We had lunch on the bare rocks at the end of the grade.

On the way down, we met many parties, both climbers and day hikers, coming up. To avoid both making way for the ascenders and the tedium of picking our way back down the grade, we hopped off into the adjacent snow meadow and glissaded a good mile down until we picked up the trail again. As a result, our downhill route was at least 20 minutes shorter than our 2.25 hours up.

Too early for most wildflowers (some heather and partridge foot), lots of marmots and gray-crowned rosy finches, and an osprey flying and calling across the moraine.
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Location
Railroad Grade (#603.2)
North Cascades -- Baker Lake

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