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Excelsior Pass via Nooksack River

North Cascades > Mount Baker Area
48.9096, -121.8018 Map & Directions
Length
7.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3600 feet
Highest Point
5400 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Summits
  • Ridges/passes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

This trail is a staircase of switchbacks that march ever upward through thick forest to deliver hikers to an iconic ridge walk in the North Cascades. Continue reading

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Hiking Excelsior Pass via Nooksack River

This trail is a staircase of switchbacks that march ever upward through thick forest to deliver hikers to an iconic ridge walk in the North Cascades. Starting out just off highway 542, this easily accessible trailhead is situated low in the Nooksack Valley but leads to the heights of Excelsior Pass. The Damfino Lakes Trail is a gentle alternative; what it lacks in grueling terrain on the trail, it makes up for with a 14 mile drive through a gauntlet of potholes to get to the trailhead.

Once hikers arrive at Excelsior Pass, it won’t take long for them to see what all the fuss is about. Views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack Valley are just a few of the many peaks and valleys that make up the scenery.

From Excelsior pass, hikers can continue east along the High Divide and head up a spur trail to Excelsior Peak if they crave even more elevation gain. A mountain toilet is available at Excelsior Pass.

WTA worked here in 2021, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2013, 2012 and 2011!

Excelsior Pass via Nooksack River

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.9096, -121.8018 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

Take highway 542 ( Mount Baker Highway) from Bellingham for about 35 miles to the town of Glacier. From here it’s 7.7 miles to the Excelsior Pass trailhead, which will be directly off of highway 542 on the left. A privy is available and there is space for six cars to park.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > Mount Baker Area

High Divide Trail (#630)

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

Guidebooks & Maps

Hiking Whatcom County

Ken Wilcox

Hike #58

Buy the Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13 map

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Excelsior Pass via Nooksack River

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