Lookouts: Park Butte

This crazy Northwest summer has me reminiscing of the Septembers with blue skies and blueberries. I guess I have spent too many weekends at foggy lookouts lately and deprived of my usual blueberry intake! But my trip up to Park Butte a couple years ago was anything but foggy. It was a bluebird day, the temperature perfect and there were blueberries for days. Ahh, how sublime.

Mt Baker reflection in the tarns along the trail to the lookout.

The long drive to the trailhead gets you high into the alpine from the get-go. It’s not long before you come upon Shreiber’s Meadow, in most years full of blueberries. I once saw a woman here picking blueberries with a swedish berry picker and a 5-gallon bucket. She gave me the stink eye like, don’t even think about picking berries here, so I kept walking and a made a mental note of the berry picker. Later my husband would gift one to me for Christmas and it has changed our berry-loving lives. We now bring home gallon ziploc bags full of berries from the trails instead of a couple half-filled Nalgene bottles.

Some fellow hikers perched on rocks near the lookout.

Once past the meadows, pick your way across an alluvial plain, an ever-changing waterway with shifting sediment that keeps the bridge builders on their toes. Look upriver for a metal ladder bridge. Here you will get the first glimpses of the white mass of Mt Baker if you are lucky. Continue up through forested switchbacks. Just when you start to think that you’ve had enough switchbacks, the way opens up to beautiful meadows and up-close views of Mt Baker.

The Twin Sisters mountain range to the south.

Hang a left to the lookout or go right to explore the railroad grade trail up to Easton Glacier, a popular climbing route. The railroad grade trail traverses the top of an arête, a knife-edge formed from two parallel glaciers pushing earth up between them forming a thin ridge. Gazing at the massive glacial-carved valley below will have you marveling at the wonders of this volcano and the power of it’s glaciers.

So many blueberries!!

Head back toward the lookout while froliking through the gradually climbing meadows of heather and blueberries. After rock hopping a few creeks and wet spots, the way rises through a rocky outcrop. Head down to the tarns for picturesque views of Mt Baker reflected in the crystal clear water. Continue up while gazing down upon Pocket Lake, nuzzled below in a small cirque.

Mt Baker from the lookout.

Finally, after a push up the rocky way, the lookout is in site and views abound. It feels like you could reach out and touch the glaciers on Mt Baker. To the south, feast your eyes on the Twin Sisters range and the Nooksack Valley. The lookout is open to the public and can be slept in at a first-come, first-served basis. This is a great place to linger, bask in the sun and take in the beauty of one of my favorite places, the Mt Baker area.

Twin Sisters range and Nooksack Valley from the lookout.

Hikes Featured in this Post:
Park Butte Lookout

See Also: Road Trip: Mt Baker in Winter

One Reply to “Lookouts: Park Butte”

  1. Those blueberries look great! All the ones I’ve seen this year have been withered from the long, dry summer we had. Hopefully there are some good ones out now.

    I love all the lookouts you’ve been to. Andy always wants to hike to lakes, but I think I need to make a list of lookouts for us to visit. Your photos of the views are always so beautiful- not to mention the character of the lookouts themselves!

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