Church Mountain

August 25, 2012

Start off easy enough on an old road turned delightful trail. But after an easy 0.5 mile of minimal elevation gain, ascending begins with a vengeance.

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Follow the wooded trail up until you reach the high meadows (4,900ft)

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Meadows! Wildflowers! Look at them all - paintbrush, buttercup, columbine, violets, lousewort, saxifrage, stonecrop, cinquefoil, lupine, penstemon, lilies, asters, bistort, and valerian

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Soon the trail crosses Deer Horn Creek in a boggy orchid-strewn swale

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In heather parklands and steep meadowy slopes, the trail works its way out of the basin

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Making a long switchback, the trail enters a small rocky upper basin where snow often lingers into August

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Just beneath the craggy ridge crest, the trail heads west to angle under and up and over some rocky sections. Pass the ruins of a shed and an old precariously placed privy before making the final push to a 6100-foot knoll.

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Look south to Shuksan, Baker and the Skyline Divide, the Twin Sisters, and all the way to Rainier; west to the San Juans; and east across the verdant and craggy High Divide.

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North it's Canyon Ridge, big beautiful British Columbia, and straight below, in a snowbound basin, the Kidney Lakes.

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Hiking Trip Statistics

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Region: Cascades Mountains
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 6.0 hours
Distance: 8.5 mi or 13.68 km (roundtrip)
Elevation Gain: 3750 ft or 1143m
Highest Point: 6100 ft or 1850m
Hiking Season: Early August - Middle October
Parking: Permit Required

Trailhead: 48.91229,-121.85774 Elev: 788m
Peak: 48.92692,-121.87652 Elev: 1850m

Download Coordinates (Use TrackMacker to upload to your GPS)

How to get there

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From Bellingham follow the Mount Baker Highway (State Route 542) east for 34 miles to the Glacier Public Service Center. Continue east for another 5.4 miles, turning left onto Forest Road 3040 (East Church Mountain Road). Follow FR 3040 for 2.7 miles to the road end and trailhead (elev. 2350 ft).

Driving distance from Vancouver: 124 km (77 mi)
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 2 hours