Top Ten Scenic Mountain Drives
We love summer for the coming of warmer temperatures, but thank the cold touch of ice for shaping the rugged scenery of Washington's North Cascades, where glaciers still sprawl across the northern end of Mount Baker National Forest. Here you'll find Mount Baker Scenic Byway winding heavenward among the towering, jagged peaks.
Just seven miles along the drive, a quick side trip down Wells Creek Road takes you to spectacular Nooksack Falls. This 175-foot gush is one of the thundering waterfalls that gave the Cascades their name.
After cruising through the old-growth forest of Mount Baker Wilderness, the road soon rises above the trees, offering grand views of the North Cascades high country. Stop at Heather Meadows for a hike, a picnic, and a view of Mount Shuksan. Nearby Picture Lake reflects the 9,127-foot peak on its calm surface.
The last ten miles of the byway climb 3,200 feet to Artist Point (5,140 feet), where an easy one-mile hike leads you to Mount Baker (10,775 feet), a still-active volcano.
Just the Facts
Route: Glacier to Artist Point on WA 542.
Length: 24 miles (one hour)
Season: Summer to early fall.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication