Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Close-up glacier views.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

3,300.00 ft (1,005.84 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Mountaineering
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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