As the summer wears on, wildflowers and hiking trails emerge among the icy mountains of the North Cascades. The past two weekends we've been out exploring the trails of Winchester Mountain and the Skyline Divide along Mount Baker Highway (Route 542). What's great about this area is that you can drive up to an elevation of 4,000 feet, leaving only a 1-2 hour hike to reach jaw-dropping views of countless jagged peaks.
Photographs by JR Furbush, Alisa Furoyama and Forest Eckley
Directions to Skyline Divide Trail from Seattle: Drive I-5 N for 90 miles to Highway 542E. Drive 542E for 35 miles. Turn right on to Glacier Creek Road (1mile past the town of Glacier) then take an immediate left on to road No. 37 for 13 miles to the Skyline Divide Trailhead. This should take you about three hours to get from Seattle to the trailhead with no traffic or stops along the way.
Directions to Twin Lakes-Winchester Mountain Trail from Seattle: Drive I-5 N for 90 miles to Highway 542E. Drive 542E for 35 miles. About 16 miles past the town of Glacier you will see a set of retired Department of Transportation buildings on your left. Pull into the second drive way and continue up the adjacent dirt road for 5 miles to the Tomthoi Lake trailhead. If you don't have a vehicle with great clearance and suspension, park here and hike the remaining 2.5 miles up the dirt road to Twin Lakes. The trailhead to Winchester mountain can be found behind the second lake.
Favorite Local Campground: Douglas Fir
Favorite Local Market: Crossroads Grocery
Favorite Local Bar: Graham's