Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
750.00 m (2,460.63 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
12.50 km (7.77 mi)
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.

Perennially popular among hikers exploring the Mount Baker Wilderness, the trail to Yellow Aster Butte is a North Cascades classic with forests giving way to spectacular alpine meadows and breathtaking views of Mount Baker, Mount Skuksan, and into Canada.

From the well-marked trailhead, the hike pushes immediately into the forest and begins a steady zigzag-climb uphill. After 1.5 miles through the forest, the trail opens into a peaty mini-plateau, just before the junction with the Tomyhoi Trail. Keeping left, the trail arcs to the west, under the steep scree walls that lead up to the butte.

Blueberries abound through the middle section of the trail before giving way to a series of the rock fields and creek crossings. With the forests thinned, stunning views to Mount Baker in the south provide a a constant, wonderful distraction along this tricky portion of the trail. Keep a lookout for the resident marmots and listen for owls.

Around 3 miles from the trailhead, the rock and scree gives way to beautiful alpine surrounds. Fragile ground covers cling to the thin layer of soil with brilliant blooms providing a spectacular contrast through late spring and summer. The topography takes away the views of Mount Baker at this point, but they are replaced with a series of beautiful blue tarns. All the while the trail meanders up a deceptively steep final ascent to superb 360-degree summit views of Mount Baker, Mount Skuksan, and the peaks along the Canadian border.

Backcountry camping is available around the tarns below the summit. From the top summit, follow the main trail back down for almost half a mile, then turn right and navigate the steep descent and find yourself a campsite. This is a very fragile environment, so be mindful of site selection and be sure to pack out all that you pack in.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Views. Scenery. Wildlife.

Cons

Crowded in summer.

Trailhead Elevation

3,641.73 ft (1,110.00 m)

Highest point

6,115.49 ft (1,864.00 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Family friendly
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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