Ben There, Done That: Artist Point at North Cascades
The urge to do another winter hike overcame the desire for warmer temperatures! We went back into the mountains, but these are not just any mountains. We’re hiking the North Cascades for a taste of backcountry snowshoeing up at Artist Point, a hike recommended by Michelle Maxfield.
While this area is positively beautiful, it’s also avalanche territory, and today brought a moderate risk for slides. On a calm day, you may even hear avalanches echo in the surrounding valleys. Make sure you check the avalanche forecast before venturing out on a Cascade backcountry hike.
The winter route parallels the western edge of Mt. Baker Ski Resort which receives more than 600 inches of snow annually, so you can bet you’ll be snowshoeing well into spring. Snowshoes are recommended, or you’ll be post-holing the entire trip.
The hike itself is not entirely long, four miles round-trip from the parking lot to Artist Point, but there are some steep hills to conquer. After all, you’re basically hiking straight up a black diamond ski hill!
The view of Mt. Shuksan in the east is breathtaking, especially on a clear blue day. These are what mountains are supposed to look like.
Once at the top of Artist Point, Mt. Baker to the southwest comes into view, as long as the clouds don’t move in. If the day is clear you can even see Canadian mountains to the north. In the summer, you can drive right up to this spot, which arguably has some of the best mountain views in the state.
Until then, I highly recommend getting in one last snowshoe before the snow begins to melt.