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Church Mountain

North Cascades > Mount Baker Area
48.9123, -121.8578 Map & Directions
Length
8.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3750 feet
Highest Point
6100 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Photo by trip reporter Merritt. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Ridges/passes
  • Summits
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

The rewards for this strenuous hike are a bouquet of fall colors and a vast panorama of North Cascades mountains. Continue reading

Rating
4.34 out of 5

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Hiking Church Mountain

The rewards for this strenuous hike are a bouquet of fall colors and a vast panorama of North Cascades mountains.

From the trailhead, the route up Church Mountain starts deceptively easy with a 0.5-mile stroll up an old forest road. Then it gets right down to business with lots of switchbacks winding up and around the west side of the mountain. The trees are fairly dense, which you'll actually appreciate on warmer days, though they obstruct any big views until later—look for the occasional peek of Mount Baker above or the North Fork Nooksack River below as you continue to climb.

At 3 miles, the trail finally eases its grade and opens up into sprawling meadows. This is your first chance to glance back at the spectacular view of Mount Baker. As you meander through the meadow, you will not see any of those notable golden larch trees, but the vibrant fall colors brought out by the abundance of huckleberry bushes that blanket the meadow and the ridge above in hues of green, red, purple and gold.

From the meadow, the last 1.2 miles of the climb get steeper, but the trail takes you directly through a large huckleberry patch for some possible late-season treats. The last 200 feet are a scramble up loose rock. Take advantage of the cable to hold on to going up this last section. From the peak, you will get a fantastic 360-degree view of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Damfino Lakes, Border Line Peaks, Goat Mountain, Excelsior Pass and Skyline Ridge in the background.

Summit Tip: Consider bringing a pair of leather gloves for handling the cable ascending to the top of the mountain.

WTA worked here in 2019, 2015, 2014, 2012 and 2011!

Hike Description Written by
Mike Morrison, WTA Correspondent

Church Mountain

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.9123, -121.8578 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Drive the Mount Baker Highway east for 34 miles from Bellingham to the town of Glacier. Pass the Public Service Center, and keep driving east for another 5.4 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 3040, and follow this road for 2.7 miles to its end and the trailhead.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > Mount Baker Area

Church Mountain (#671)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13 map

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Church Mountain

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