Boulder Ridge Trail Hike

Mount Baker Area, Washington

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Boulder Ridge Trail Hike

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  • Patch of second-growth forest along the Boulder Ridge Trail.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Old-growth canopy primarily dominated by western hemlocks (Tsuga heterophylla).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Deer fern (Blechnum spicant) along a side trail.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Forest along the Boulder Ridge Trail.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Devil's club (Oplopanax horridus).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Moss along a fallen log.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa), a locally endangered species.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Trail covered with the small cones of western hemlocks (Tsuga heterophylla).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • False lily of the valley (Maianthemum dilatatum).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Forest along the Boulder Ridge Trail.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata) and lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina).- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
  • Forest along the Boulder Ridge Trail.- Boulder Ridge Trail Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Old-growth western hemlock dominated forest. No crowds.
Cons: 
No views.
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Region:
Mount Baker Area, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.20 mi (6.76 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,710.00 ft (826.01 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Predominantly used only by elk hunters in the fall and climbers attempting alternative southern routes up 10,781-foot Mount Baker during the spring and summer, the Boulder Ridge Trail is otherwise off the radar of most hikers.

Located at the end of a gravel forest road on the west side of Baker Lake (Reservoir), the Boulder Ridge Trail follows the south slope of Boulder Ridge starting in a second-growth forest and eventually enters into an old-growth forest dominated by giant western hemlocks. Unlike the other popular hikes on Baker's south side such as Park Butte, Dock Butte, or Railroad Grade Trail, the Boulder Ridge Trail offers no views of the surrounding area for most hikers who are interested in a simple there-and-back excursion; also unlike the areas other hikes, Boulder Ridge is secluded, quiet, and ideal for escaping the crowds that descend on the Baker Lake area during the summer months.

You'll likely find yourself alone here on this heavily rooted and often overgrown trail, but the solitude will allow you to notice the more subtle aspects of the forest that are often overlooked when you may otherwise be distracted by the presence of others. Sword and deer fern line the trail, devil's club and red elderberry grow tall in the underbrush, and hemlock, silver fir, and western redcedars tower above.

To make it out into the clearing where views begin to open you'll need to hike for roughly 2.5 miles, at which point the trail gradually ends under Boulder Glacier.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(29 within a 30 mile radius)

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(43 within a 30 mile radius)

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