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Mount Baker Highway (Route 542)

Mount Baker Highway (Route 542)
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Quick Facts
Designation: Washington State Scenic Byway
Fees: A NW Forest Pass is required to park at trailheads
Length, One-Way: 24 Miles (40.0 Kilometers)
Time: 1 hour at minimum.

General Information

Description - The highway winds along the North Fork Nooksack River, ending at spectacular Artist Point, elevation 5,100 feet, in the Heather Meadows Area. At road's end, trail systems lead into the Mt. Baker Wilderness. Because of the lakes and recreation areas here, you can do just about anything 'outdoorsy.'

Attractions - The Mount Baker Highway (Route 542) is known for it's Archeology, Cultural, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.

Recreation - Mount Baker Wilderness envelops the mountain peak for which it is named and nearly 118,000 acres of mountain streams and lakes. It is a haven for hikers, backpackers, horseback riders, and photographers. There are a lot of trails accessed from the byway that will guide you through this pristine land. There's also several trails that provide the hiking novice a pleasurable and easy-going walk. In winter, cross-country ski enthusiasts will find miles of groomed trails. Two national forest campgrounds are on the byway: Douglas Fir and Silver Fir. Douglas Fir Campground is east of Glacier and has 30 campsites situated under Douglas fir and cedar trees on the banks of Nooksack River. Farther east is Silver Fir Campground, which has 21 RV and tent campsites. A picnic area built by the Civilian Conservation Corps is also in the campground. Drinking water and comfort stations are available in both campgrounds. There are no hookups.

Climate - Portions of the byway are subject to closure by snow from November to mid-July.Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington. Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months. The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.

Location - Mount Baker Highway is 35 miles east of Bellingham in northwest Washington. It begins in Glacier and travels east to the road's end at Artist Point. The byway is 24 miles long and follows WA 542, a two-lane paved road suitable for all vehicles.

Directions from : From Seattle: take I-5 north. Turn east on to SR 542 at Bellingham. The byway starts at milepost 30 on SR 542. The byway ends at Austin Pass.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Mount Baker Highway (Route 542)
ICON Viewing Scenery Mount Baker Highway (Route 542)

More Information

Additional Information:
Washington Scenic Byways - Washington offers twelve state designated byways, two National Scenic Byways (Mountains to Sound Greenway and Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway) and one All-American Road (Mather Memorial Parkway).

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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