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Railroad Grade Trail

Mount Baker Area, Washington

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Railroad Grade Trail

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  • Schreibers Meadow in the fall.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Hikers walk through a wet, rocky creekbed.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Seasonal bridge at Rocky Creek.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Railroad Grade junction.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • The trail to Railroad Grade.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Fall colors on the Railroad Grade Trail.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • A backcountry campsite along the trail.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Mount Baker (10,781') looms over the Railroad Grade Trail.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Friendly gray jay near the Railroad Grade Trail.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Looking down on a glacier-fed creek from Railroad Grade.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • A hiker emerges from the clouds.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Approaching Easton Glacier.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • A hiker descends the Railroad Grade Trail.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • Mount Baker's Easton Glacier.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • High Camp at 3.5 miles.- Railroad Grade Trail
  • - Railroad Grade Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Close-up glacier views.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Mount Baker Area, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,300.00 ft (1,005.84 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

You won't find any train track remnants along this Railroad Grade. Named for its steady ascent toward Easton Glacier, Railroad Grade trail is a popular route for summiting Mount Baker. It also happens to be a great day hike and backpacking destination.

The first 2.4 miles to Railroad Grade follow the Park Butte Trail. Begin along a dirt path behind the restrooms, strolling easily past picnic tables and crossing over Sulphur Creek into Schreibers Meadow. Lined with heather in the summer and mushrooms and mountain berry bushes in the fall, the trail becomes a boardwalk here before returning to dirt. This first mile is easy and passes in and out of the forest, offering occasional glimpses of Mount Baker to the north. Cross the seasonal bridge over glacier-fed Rocky Creek, or ford the creek if the bridge has washed out.

At 2.4 miles you will reach the Park Butte/Railroad Grade junction. Turn right and head up the stone steps. You'll pass some backcountry campsites and a signed “trail to water,” which leads to a reflective tarn. At approximately 3 miles, you will reach Railroad Grade at the edge of a glacial moraine. Peer over the steep edge at a glacier-fed creek below, then begin the steady climb toward Easton Glacier.

Depending on snow levels, you may be able to hike half a mile or more up the grade. At 3.5 miles you will reach High Camp, a good turn-around point. The trail deteriorates from here and becomes a steep climber's path. Snap some photos of the glacier, then head back to the Park Butte junction. If you have the time and energy, hike just over a mile out to Park Butte Lookout for more breathtaking views.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(27 within a 30 mile radius)

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(48 within a 30 mile radius)

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