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Heather Meadows

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There are 5 trip reports for this hike.
Heather Meadows, Wild Goose, Artist Point Snowshoe, Chain Lakes, Artist Ridge - Huntoon Point — Nov 24, 2013 — Really Rosiem
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Sunny skies and a temperature inversion made perfect conditions to spend the afternoon snowshoeing f...
Sunny skies and a temperature inversion made perfect conditions to spend the afternoon snowshoeing from the Mount Baker ski area at Heather Meadows to Artist Point. Road conditions were clear all the way to the parking lot. Because it was such a beautiful day on a weekend day, we almost didn't head up there because we thought the parking lot would be full and the area jam packed with people. True, it's a vast area, but what a treat to find the parking lot not even half full, and no big crowds at all.

We started out snowshoeing from the trailhead for the Wild Goose Trail and turned around once we had reached Artist Point. The sign for the Wild Goose Trail is just about under the snow now, but there is a good track marked out in the snow so was easy enough to follow.

Stopping for a picnic lunch with a marvelous view of Mount Shuksan, we sure wished we already had one of those fancy GSI Commuter Java Presses that we might win by writing a trip report that includes a photo of a great place along the trail to enjoy a cup of java. Seriously, check out our boot/snowshoe shot from our picnic spot along our trail! It's the photo with Mount Shuksan as the backdrop as we sit eating our leftover fresh spinach and chicken pizza. Might I add that this was no ordinary pizza but a homemade pizza from my very own kitchen. Delicious and I am sure that the only thing that could possibly have made that lunch any better would have been if we could have been sipping a fresh cup of java made from our brand new winner of a GSI Commuter Java Press! We need this coffee press! Thank you for listening . . . and enough said.

Even without the coffee, we had a spectacular day out on our snowshoes as we gained approximately 1,200' in elevation and my fitbit recorded that I had walked nearly seven miles during the afternoon. Who could ask for a better day under such a beautiful blue sky?
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Heather Meadows — Jan 12, 2013 — HikeNPhotog
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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The drive up Hwy 542 was gorgeous as always, especially when we hit the snow at Glacier, WA, where I...
The drive up Hwy 542 was gorgeous as always, especially when we hit the snow at Glacier, WA, where I stopped to take a quick pic of the snow-covered mountains. Then onward and upward! We parked at the upper ski area, then donned our snowshoes and headed across the meadows toward Artist Point and beyond. On this day of brilliant sunshine, cloudless azure skies and bracing temperature, skiers (both alpine and Nordic) were out in abundance. But there's nothing like the North Cascades for exhilarating scenery and physical stimulation if you get moving, so move we did! As we headed toward Table Mountain, we looked to the right and noted several ski tracks coming off the steep out-of-bounds area to the right. When another snowshoer asked, "What are those tracks?" I answered, "Evidence of CRAZY people!" I cannot imagine the adrenalin OVER-rush those descents must have created -- down through almost-vertical chutes and around numerous trees. But "some like it hot!"

Our day on the snowy slopes between Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan was invigorating and gratifying. Conversations with fellow outdoor-lovers, a plethora of eye candy, and enough exercise to maintain a good healthy sweat made for a great day. Give me the high country!
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Heather Meadows, Wild Goose — Sep 09, 2011 — Nurse Lynda
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We set out on an impromptu hike of Skyline Divide trail but were run off the mountain by BUGS! We h...
We set out on an impromptu hike of Skyline Divide trail but were run off the mountain by BUGS! We had no bug repellant with us (poor planning) and just could not tolerate the clouds of mosquitos and biting flies that we encountered in the first 4 switchbacks. We beat a hasty retreat and drove to Heather Meadows (Plan B), hoping to walk the trails at Artist Point.

We arrived to find Healther Meadows (ski area)completely melted out with wildflowers running riot across the meadows. We headed up the final 3 miles of paved road toward Artist Point only to find the gate closed at the first switchback. So...plan C...we parked at the dry paved parking lot near the Austin Pass Picnic Area and the Heather Meadows Visitors Center (built by CCC in 1940). Visit the center 10AM - 4PM Mid-July to late September.

From the parking lot, views of Bagley Lakes and Mazama Dome. The bowl below Mazama is still snow-filled, but the gentle slopes invite tubing and sledding - there were a couple of folks with plastic discs sliding down the hill. I'm not sure what they would have done if they would have slid into the large snow-melt pond at the bottom of the hill but the day was hot and sunny and they were having a great time.

Pick up the Wild Goose Trail from the parking lot (obvious on the hill to the left of the snow-melt pond). The trail is mostly dry with a couple of exposed snow patches (these will probably be gone in a few more days of warm weather). In a couple of hundred feet you will hit a snowfield that will probably persist into winter (shaded most of the day). Rock scramble/boulder hop up the hill about 30 feet to the (closed) road surface. Basically, you will alternate walking the Wild Goose trail, crossing snow fields and walking the road to Artist Point uphill. (The path is boot-beaten across the snow patches - but very obvious - uphill south/southeast from the parking lot).

Look back down at your car and across the valley to Mt. Shuksan. Turn 180 degrees and look across a snow patch at the clear dry Wild Goose Trail (marked with permanent stone carns with metal Canada Goose signs.) Observe the steep stairs that are the final stretch of the trail to the Artist Point parking lot. Then start up, up.

At the top of the stairs you are in snow. There is at least 8 feet of snow covering the Artist Point parking lot - the roof of the bathroom is exposed about 3 feet. Stay well back, the snow is melting around the buildings and appeared to be under-mined a bit.

Safe snow-wandering about. The snow was firm enough to walk in hiking boots with not much sinking in. Exposed areas of the Artist Point trails are melted out and provide a bit of relief to snow-tired calf muscles. Great views of Baker and back to Shuksan as well as many other peaks (take a good topo map to identify them all.)

There was a fair amount of haze in the late afternoon so views to the east of the rest of the North Cascades Range were limited.

Return to your car the way you came, but be careful descending the snow fields. Some areas are safe for a short glisade but for the average weekend hiker I'd recommmend taking trekking poles to avoid an unexpected sledding adventure down a hill.

The rock scramble is also a bit more difficult on the way down. If you are unsure, walk down the closed road - it looked to be passable for pedestrians - just some easy snow patches to cross. You could access Artist Point this way just as easily.

This hike is probably safe (and exciting) for older kids. Probably a bit much for the short-legged crowd until more snow melts. Lots of good views and snow play fun at the parking lot for the little ones. Remember to watch for unsafe snow bridges if you decide to cross the snow fields.

All in all a great hike with lots of rewards. (And far less bugs than Skyline)
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Heather Meadows — Jul 04, 2011 — 2mph
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Just a quick note to all who may be itching to get into this area, (as we are) all the trails are st...
Just a quick note to all who may be itching to get into this area, (as we are) all the trails are still blocked by snow.
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Heather Meadows — Jan 29, 2010 — geezerhiker
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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My wife and I snowshoed beside the ski trail to Heather Meadows. The weather didn't look good when ...
My wife and I snowshoed beside the ski trail to Heather Meadows. The weather didn't look good when we left home, but we had better-than-expected visibility on top of the mountain and even a couple of sun breaks. The snow was dry powder and great for snowshoeing. Several hikers and skiers went down into the bowl at Heather Meadows, but the situation look like an avalanche hazard to me; so we stayed on the high ground. The scenery was beautiful and the outing most enjoyable. There were more hikers on the trail than we expected.
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Heather Meadows- geezerhike.jpg
A great panoramic, photo taken by geezerhiker.
WTA worked here!
2010, 2012, 2013
Location
Heather Meadows (#684)
North Cascades
Features
Mountain views

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Red MarkerHeather Meadows
48.8498 -121.684916667
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2010
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