Travel

Do you want to see the best of winter? The Snowshoe-Up Artist Point.

mt. baker snowshoe

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As hundreds of skiers and snowboarders rip downhill at Washington’s Mt. Baker Ski Area: Snowshoers, just feet away from the orange boundaries markers, are carefully and slowly moving one foot in front the other to reach Artist Point. I was one those snowshoers who walked up the 1,000-foot climb of the 2 mile, 1000 foot ascent that took me to reach the sacred ground. This time of year the snow trail is well-travelled and easy to navigate in snowshoes. There are also signs that some people tried to hike but ended up burying themselves more than a foot in the snow.

You won’t find a better view of the snowy mountains than this one. It is possible to see the summit from anywhere in Washington. Artist Point has a stunning view of the winter wonderland and endless mountain peaks. If the weather is good, you can get a clear shot.

Snowshoes leave a wide footprint which distributes bodyweight across the snow. This allows you to stay on top of snow and not postholing. (Photo: Alec Sills-Trausch)

How to Snowshoe to Artist Point

Artist Point is a favorite spot for hikers because of its stunning views and its ideal location. Mt. Baker Ski Area lies about three hours north Seattle, and is 90 minutes from Bellingham. 

Although chains aren’t required for all-wheel-drive vehicles on the road to the ski resort, there was snow was in the forecast, so we brought them on our mid-January trip anyway. The slopes were less crowded than expected for a weekend when we arrived. As much as I love to see people out and about, it’s always more fun to be on a somewhat less busy mountain.

After getting dressed up and layering, we began our trek. The first three quarters mile consisted of gentle uphills, followed by flat terrain. It was nice to be able to get warm without being forced into the ring. For the next half mile, however, the trail was relentless. The slope steepened significantly and we started climbing, while snowboarders and skiers to our left glided down the final descent.

This section was the most difficult of the entire excursion. However, the uphills that followed were of a milder grade. Throughout our trek, the crew stopped by my request to take photos and enjoy the view. I’m glad we did, because as we snowshoed higher, the clouds darkened, the temperatures dropped, and the snow closed in. 

We stopped snowshoeing approximately a mile and 200 feet below Artist Point because of the weather change. It was located just past the Lake Ann trailhead. The group ate snacks and discussed whether or not we should continue. To see Artist Point, I launched my drone (there is no legal restriction to the use of your drone in this area of the national forest).

The conditions up there were poor, and it was difficult to see the surrounding mountains. Knowing that the views wouldn’t be worth the risk, we stayed low, enjoyed our company, and soaked in the winter wonderland around us. 

baker trip snowshoeing
Mt. Baker gets 641 inches on average annually. (Photo: Alec Sills-Trausch)

Even though we didn’t make it to the top, the gang had a fantastic time exploring the area, drinking in the fresh mountain air, and experiencing a popular trail in a different season. If the trail is this gorgeous, even coming up short feels like winning.

What to pack: Artist Point

Want to See the Best of Winter? Snowshoe Up Artist Point.

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