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High Divide Trail

North Cascades

The High Divide Trail is popular because of its long ridge ramble through alpine meadows and its sweeping views of the North Cascades. Continue reading


North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area
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11.2 miles, one-way


Highest Point: 5930 ft.


3.00 out of 5

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  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Summits
  • Ridges/passes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA worked here in 2014 and 2010!

The High Divide Trail is popular because of its long ridge ramble through alpine meadows and its sweeping views of the North Cascades. Access to the ridge is possible from three trailheads, Excelsior Pass, Welcome Pass, and the Damfino Lakes Trail. The first two are just off of highway 542, whereas the third requires a long drive on a rough dirt road.

Each approach has its pros and cons but what they all share is an initial climb to the ridge. The trail to Excelsior Pass ascends more gradually, while the trail from Welcome Pass relentlessly gains elevation with its 66 switchbacks. The Damfino Lakes Trail offers the least amount of elevation gain of the three. No matter the trail, hikers will all have the common goal of gaining the ridge where, after some tough miles, they can luxuriate along the gentle ups and downs of the high divide. Views to Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack Valley fill every inch of crisp mountain air.

For those looking to add more uphill to their route, there is a short trail about a quarter mile east of Excelsior Pass that leads to Excelsior Peak. There is a mountain toilet at Excelsior Pass.

High Divide Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.9097, -121.8019 Open in Google Maps


North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area

High Divide (#630)

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

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13 map

Buy the Green Trails Mt. Shuksan No. 14 map

Getting There

Take highway 542 ( Mount Baker Highway) from Bellingham for about 35 miles to the town of Glacier. From here, keep going on highway 542 for 7.7 miles to the Excelsior Pass trailhead, which will be an obvious parking area on the left. A privy is available and there is space for six cars to park. Here are directions and more information for the Welcome Pass trailhead and the Damfino Lakes trailhead.  

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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High Divide Trail

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