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John Guilford's Hikes

Park Butte, Mt. Baker on 2004-07-05

Date: 2004-07-05

Location: Park Butte, Mt. Baker

People: (including myself): Pam

			Alt.	Miles
Leave Stanwood:	10:50
Parking area:	12:37	3364	
Start:		12:47		0
Creek crossing:	1:25	3600	1
Scott Paul Tr:	2:00	4500	2
Railroad Grade:	2:20	4650	2-3/8
Mazama Park Tr:	2:50	4730	2-5/8
Saddle:		3:05	5100	3
Lookout:	3:35	5450	3-1/2
Leave lookout:	4:05
Mazama Park Tr:	4:42
Railroad Grade:	5:03
Scott Paul Tr:	5:15
Creek Crossing:	5:51
Trailhead:	6:22		7
Stanwood:	8:08		
[ PIX6 ] To get to the trailhead: drive east on SR20 about 14-15 miles from Sedro Woolley and turn left onto Baker Lake/Grandy Lake road.  It is well marked and hard to miss.  Continue on this paved road about 12-13 miles.  Immediately after the (unnamed) bridge over Rocky Creek turn left onto FS road 12.  This is a dirt road in very good condition.  In about 3 miles, turn right onto the well marked FS road 13.  FS13 switchbacks up the hill side and then runs along, ending in about 5-1/2 miles at the well developed trailhead. 

[ PIX1 ] The trail starts just to the left of the outhouse.  Almost immediately a foot bridge crosses Sulphur Creek.  As an alternative, before Sulphur Creek one can take the Scott Paul Trail instead of the main trail.  This adds about 2-1/2 miles (one way) to the hike.  After looping up towards Mt. Baker the Scott Paul trail rejoins the main trail at the top of the switchbacks. 

The main trail passes up through Schrieber's Meadow amid blueberries and heather.  For the most part the trail is wide, dry, and hard pack.  The going is very easy. 

[ PIX8 ] About a mile in the trail crosses a pair of rocky creek beds.  On this hike, the first one was dry, but the second one required some boulder hopping to get across.  A little ways after this the trail starts to switchback up the hillside towards Morovitz Meadow.  With the switchbacks the grade is pretty easy and the going still felt pretty easy.  At the top of the switchbacks the Scott Paul Trail rejoins the main trail. 

The trail continues up through Morovitz Meadow coming upon a junction with the Railroad Grade Trail.  Here one can turn right and continue up Railroad Grade (an abandoned lateral moraine left by the Easton glacier), or continue straight on toward Park Butte Lookout. 

[ PIX2 ] About five minutes past the Railroad Grade Trail, we hit the first serious snow on the trail.  At first it was somewhat patchy, but soon we were on snow most of the time until the summit ridge. 

[ PIX3 ] [ PIX4 ] About a half hour past RR Grade, a trail branches off to the right towards Baker Pass and Mazama Park.  The trail turns south and heads up to a saddle in the ridge line.  The trail passes to the south side of the ridge and continues up to the lookout.  The trail from the saddle to the lookout was melted out for the most part. 

[ PIX5 ] [ PIX7 ] The lookout provides magnificent views of Mt. Baker, Railroad Grade, and the surrounding area (including a view of a piece of Baker Lake). 

Pam and I went through a liter and a half of water on the way up and during lunch at the lookout.  Going up was rather warm - the thermometer stayed near 70, but the sun came out and we cooked a bit going up the snow field.  On the way back down, we stopped and filtered another liter of water which was nice and cool.  It isn't clear that digging out the filter and stopping to pump water was worth the weight savings of not carrying another liter.


[ PIX1 ] Sulphur Creek. 

[ PIX2 ] Pam climbing snowfield towards saddle. 

[ PIX3 ] Pocket Lake melting out from under snow, viewed from saddle. 

[ PIX4 ] John on trail to lookout on south side of ridge. 

[ PIX5 ] Park Butte Lookout. 

[ PIX6 ] Mt. Baker viewed from the lookout. 

[ PIX7 ] Railroad Grade viewed from the lookout. 

[ PIX8 ] Crossing the creek (boulder hopping). 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015