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Church Mountain Trail is a strenuous 4.2 mile hike. The trail climbs through forest to high alpine meadows and a former lookout site. Due to its southern exposure, it is one of the first trails in the area to melt out, making it a good early season hike. The trail begins in an old logging unit, a good place to see lupine and columbine in early summer, then enters mature forest and begins to climb steeply up numerous switchbacks. Look for calypso orchids along the side of the trail.

After 3 miles of hard climbing, the trail enters green meadows and continues up to the old lookout site on a rocky peak, elevation 6000 feet. Marmots are often seen and heard whistling in the meadows. Visitors who come soon after the snow melts, usually early July, can see the meadows carpeted with Glacier Lilies. The summit affords views of Mt. Baker and Canadian Border Peaks. Backpackers should use existing campsites and try to limit impact on fragile vegetation.

Directions: From Glacier, Travel east on Mt. Baker Hwy. 542 for 5.2 miles. Turn left on Forest Service Road #3040. Follow this road for approximately 2.5 miles to the end. The trailhead and parking area are located at the end of the road.

Elevation: 2,400 feet

Elevation Gain: 3,600 feet

Distance: 4.2 miles

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.