Welcome Pass

Mount Baker Area, Washington

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Welcome Pass


  • Welcome Pass Trailhead.- Welcome Pass
  • The early portion of the trail follows an old forestry road before starting a rapid ascent.- Welcome Pass
  • During the wet season, fungi abounds along the early parts of the trail.- Welcome Pass
  • Looking out to Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack North Fork from one of the clearings on the steep climb to the pass.- Welcome Pass
  • Toward the top of the trail the switchbacks end and the gradient eases.- Welcome Pass
  • Welcome Pass. The High Divide follows the ridge west (left) to Excelsior Peak, and a rough trail heads right toward Welcome Peak.- Welcome Pass
  • In fall, the alpine trail from Welcome Pass up to the Peak is awash with color.- Welcome Pass
  • Once you are out of the forest and into the alpine, sweeping views across the Mount Baker open up.- Welcome Pass
  • The final stretch to Welcome Peak offers a delightful mix of color and contours.- Welcome Pass
  • At times it can feel like you're walking on top of the world.- Welcome Pass
  • Mount Shuksan from the peak.- Welcome Pass
  • Peering out to Shuksan and the valley below. The elevation gain to this point is nearly 3,500 feet.- Welcome Pass
  • Vibrant views down to Welcome Pass and Mount Baker across the valley.- Welcome Pass
  • The fiery fall colors on display as you look back at Welcome Pass (right) and the peak (left).- Welcome Pass
  • The colors and alpine tarns continue along the High Divide trail, which links Welcome Pass with the Excelsior Pass Trail.- Welcome Pass
  • One last view of Mount Shuksan as a storm approaches.- Welcome Pass
Overview + Weather
Spectacular views. Alpine scenery. Fall colors. Flowers and berries.
Steep! Water only available from creeks and streams.
Mount Baker Area, WA
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
5,741.47 ft (1,750.00 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.59 mi (10.60 km)
Total elevation gain: 
3,346.46 ft (1,020.00 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,411.42 ft (735.00 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The hike to Welcome Pass is quinessitially North Cascades with dense wet forests, beautiful high alpine vistas, and an unrelenting climb.

From the trailhead you're lulled into thinking this is a leisurely hike as the trail follows an old forestry road through the lush green undergrowth and across small streams. Then you make a right turn and the gentle gradient of the forestry road gives way to a merciless ascent up more than 60 switchbacks with the gradient occassionally exceeding 30 percent.

Somewhat abruptly, the trail emerges from the forest and you're in the open alpine and at a junction. The High Divide Trail runs westward (to the left) with a rough trail leading right to the peak. Head to the right, where you'll be surrounded by an abundance of wildflowers in the summer and fiery fall colors in late September and October. Blueberries and huckleberries are also prevalent through late summer and early fall.

The final half mile consists of unobstructed jaw-dropping views in all directions. To the north you can see into Canada, and as you scan to the east, Yellow Aster Butte comes into view, then the Nooksack Cirque and Mount Shuksan. To the south, Ptarmigan Ridge runs from Artist Point to the glaciers of Mount Baker. Finally, to the west lies the Nooksack Valley and the High Divide stretching on to Excelsior Pass.



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