Hiking Mt. Baker Railroad Grade
A few years ago I stumbled across something called Twitter chats, specifically #hikerchat. From there, numerous adventure friend relationships spawned across the country. I’m so lucky to call Lee, the founder of the illustrious Washington Hikers & Climbers Facebook group, one of my good friends. He knows the best spots in Washington and is always happy to hike with the biggest smile on his face. This time around we headed out to Mt. Baker to check out one of his favorite spectacular spots, just off the beaten path.
We started off at the Park Butte and Railroad Grade Trailhead off of NF-13. We crossed Sulphur Creek, just barely babbling. By the end of the day, this would be almost a shoe-soaking crossing. We huffed and puffed up steep switchbacks before finding our way into an alpine meadow.
From here, the trail gradually ascends until we reached a crumbling ridge: Railroad Grade. Rewarded with breathtaking views of Mt. Baker, our group slowly tiptoed up the trail, taking tons of photos and selfies. As the trail flattened out on the left side of the ridge, we headed off trail through some trees, across a talus field, over a glacial stream, until we reached our destination. Standing atop a little plateau, we could drool over Easton Glacier and look down into the valley it deposited into.
After taking way too many photos and eating a lot of candy and chocolate, we retraced our steps back across the talus field and back to the Railroad Grade trail. The hike down was quite pleasant as we sped through all the steep switchbacks we had huffed and puffed up. Sulphur Creek had risen in the few hours we’d spent hiking, so careful balancing was required on a few precarious logs to cross back over.
On our way back to Seattle, we stopped by Birdsview Brewing Company, right off Highway 20. Highly, highly recommend this spot for a post-hike brew and snacks.