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Coal Pass Snowshoe

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area
View map below

Length

10.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2400 ft.
Highest Point: 4500 ft.

Rating

2.50 out of 5

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Following a series of winding, snow-covered forest roads, the route to Coal Pass culminates in sweeping views of Mount Baker’s glaciated northwest flank.

Climbing alongside Lookout Creek, start by following FR 39 south as it ascends the heavily-forested valley toward 4,500-foot Coal Pass. After crossing the creek, the road traverses in a southeasterly direction above Glacier Creek Gorge within earshot of the pleasant sounds of the gurgling waterway.

At two miles, reach a junction. Veer sharply to the right to follow FR 36 for just over two miles. Passing through a combination of second-growth trees and areas clearcut by logging crews, the forest begins to open up to more mountainous views. After crossing Lookout Creek again, the road twists and turns to reach yet another junction. Stay right to travel upward through a short but steep series of switchbacks on FR 3610. The road levels out for the final half mile to the Pass.

From the pass, which sits in a saddle between the double peaks of Lookout Mountain, take in expansive views of Mount Baker’s glaciers and ridges. On a clear day, the snowy ridges of Chowder, Bastille, and Heliotrope radiating outward from the volcano’s summit draw the eye toward the vast ice and snow of the Coleman and Roosevelt Glaciers. After savoring the views and enjoying a thermos of hot cocoa or soup, retrace your steps back to the car.

WTA Pro Tip: Glacier Creek Road is also frequented by snowmobilers and skiers in the winter months; exercise proper trail etiquette by staying to the right when snowshoeing.

 

Coal Pass Snowshoe

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.8381, -121.9044 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area

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

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Snowshoe Routes Washington (Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13

Getting There

To get there, from Bellingham drive east on State Route 542 (Mount Baker Highway) to the town of Glacier and continue another 0.7 mile, passing the U.S. Forest Service Public Service Center, before turning right (south) onto Forest Road 39 (Glacier Creek Road). Drive to the snow line, usually found near a road junction with gated FR 3940 just past Coal Creek, about 5.2 miles from the Mount Baker Highway.

 

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Coal Pass Snowshoe

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