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.