Summary: This is a popular trail that starts off in old growth forest. There are several creek crossings that are mild in the morning but can turn nasty on a hot afternoon with all the snow melt. The trail is well maintained though when we went, parts of it were very muddy and difficult to negotiate. Your troubles are well rewarded when you get above treeline and stand within a stone's throw of a live glacier. Mt. Baker looks as though you could stroll to the top. There were lots of marmots, wild flowers and streams. You can often see mountain climbers practicing their ice climbing skills on the glacier. NW Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
Trailhead: From I-5 in Bellingham, take Exit 255 and go east on the Mt. Baker Highway (542) 31 miles to Glacier. About 1 mile past Glacier take a right on Glacier Creek Rd (FS Rd 39) and drive about 8 miles to the trailhead parking lot. (Lat:48.80187 Lon:-121.89549)
Trail Guides for Heliotrope Ridge:
Pacific Northwest Hiking
by Ron C. Judd & Dan A. Nelson (Foghorn Press)
Day Hike North Cascades
by Mike McQuaide (Sasquatch Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Glacier Public Service Center (360) 599-2714
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Robbie Hochreiter, who has posted 24 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by AC on 8/28/2012
went with 3 yr & 6 yr old and made the entire hike - had to carry youngest across 3 of the streams - had a fantastic view of Glacier. stream crossings are the hardest part of the trail - advise using good walking sticks for support - would definately do it again- flower fields are brilliant!
Reviewed by Lisa on 7/24/2011
Went with a 10-year-old who doesn't hike much (if at all) so we didn't quite make it to the glacier. However, we were impressed by the waterfall view and the forest itself, and had lots of fun crossing the several little (and one big) creeks. It levels out quickly after the first half mile. Thanks to all who maintain the trail!
Reviewed by J&K C on 7/7/2010
Hiked July 6th, only a couple lite muddy spots and a little snow pack up to the climbers trail turn off. After that the mountain streams were covered with snow and were easily passed but it is warming up quickly and there will be thin spots (Be coutious). We camped midway up the glacier just below the rock. It was very windy that night but found a calm spot overlooking the glacier. Climbed up on the rock & watched the sun set (WOW).Saw some climbers camping above us on the ridge, had to have been a hard night with the wind. The wind changed dirrecton early in the morning & then went calm by about 8:30. The glacier popped & cracked all night & into the morning. Woke up with the sun reflecting off the smooth icey cracks. Great hike.
Reviewed by John on 12/26/2009
Excellent hike. I have posted photos of the hike online http://curiouscat.com/travels/cnp2005helio.cfm?image=graphics/2005nw/NorthCascades/213cascade2005Jun600.jpg The streams were not a problem.
Reviewed by Jenny on 8/22/2009
The road to the trailhead will still be closed until mid to late to September according to the forest service.
Reviewed by Brendan King on 7/16/2009
Glacier Creek Road, FS 39, off of Mt. Baker Highway is closed until late summer. Hikers and climbers headed for Mt. Baker can expect a seven-mile trek from the closure at Thompson Creek Bridge to reach Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead and the Mt. Baker Vista Viewpoint. Hannegan Road, FS 32, is closed at Milepost 0.05 just past the Shuksan Picnic Area until mid-August. This blocks access to Goat Mountain Trail, Nooksack Cirque Trail and Hannegan Pass Trail, which leads to North Cascades National Park. Hikers and backcountry visitors will walk two to four miles from the closure to reach these trails.
Reviewed by Nico on 10/13/2008
I ran/hiked the trail on Oct. 11, started at 10:40am. I found the trail to be perfect by my standards: nice elevation gain, not too long and breath taking views along the way. The only challenge on the trail was ice. The trail itself was covered in ice in a lot of spots. Ice also made that main stream crossing quite challenging but still doable. My advice is to start early and wear shoes with very good grip, (lots of people were wearing runners, no good) and poles are almost a must if there is a chance of ice. Can't wait to get back up there, the viewS are worth every step.
Reviewed by Ron & Sharen on 8/26/2007
Did the hike on Aug 24. Started late and didn't make the viewpoint, but trail was in very good condition. Some muddy spots. Creek crossing were easy due to lower water levels and good work by those caring for the area. Forest is beautiful. Leave early and take full advantage of the entire hike.
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