Photos: Hiking Ptarmigan Ridge and Chain Lakes Loop

Earlier this month, I went on an overnight hiking trip in Washington’s North Cascades.

I spent the weekend taking in mountain views and gorging myself on wild blueberries.

It was amazing.

Most of the trip was spent on the Ptarmigan Ridge and Chain Lakes Loop trails. Once the snow has melted in summer, these hikes are super accessible. Both can be accessed from Artist Point, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

There are many trails in the area, and with a little planning you can make your hike as short or as long as you’d like. Our two-day distance was about 20 miles.

We started by hiking the Chain Lakes Loop before spending the night next to the Ptarmigan Ridge trail, at a site with an incredible view of Mt. Baker and a glacial lake.

Here are a few photos!

Chain Lakes Loop photos

Not pictured: the handfuls of blueberries we devoured at every opportunity. Seriously, very few things are as delicious as mountain blueberries, and they’re all over this trail.

Chain Lakes trail bridge Chain Lakes trail photo Chain Lakes lake photo

Ptarmigan Ridge photos

And here are some Ptarmigan Ridge photos!

Glacial lake near Ptarmigan Ridge trail Kent Sanner on Ptarmigan Ridge trail Mt. Baker summit view from Ptarmigan Ridge Mt. Baker view from Ptarmigan Ridge campsite reflection on glacial lake ptarmigan ridge Beautiful landscape surrounds the ptarmigan ridge trail  Ptarmigan Ridge trail leads right up to Mt. Baker. Ptarmigan Ridge sunset

Hiking the Chain Lakes Loop and Ptarmigan Ridge trails

Want to see these trails for yourself? I promise they’re way cooler in real life than in these photos! To get to them, just head all the way to the end of the Mt. Baker Highway (Hwy 542). You’ll pass Heather Meadows, where you can start the Chain Lakes hike, shortly before winding up at Artist Point.

The ease of access and great bang-for-your-buck make these hikes great candidates for day hikers, but it’s also easy to find a place to camp if you’d rather stay overnight.

For more information, you can contact the Glacier Ranger Station.

You should also take a look at the WTA (Washington Trails Association) profiles for each of these hikes—WTA is the go-to website for information on Washington hikes.

2 Comments

Patti Klein

Hi Tyler, great pictures. Thanks for sharingI I too was up in Washington this month, not long enough however but I did get a few food hikes in. Sourdough trail in the North Cascades and Camp Muir in Mt. Rainer. Strenuous trails but the views were well worth it! Would you classify these trails as easy, moderate or strenuous?

Thanks again for sharing! Looking forward to next spring!

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tyrel

Hi Patti,

Thanks for commenting! I’d classify these hikes as easy-moderate. Aside from a bit of rocky terrain and some small, easily navigated snow patches, both trails are clear of obstruction and straightforward at this point in the season. There’s a bit of elevation gain, but nothing too strenuous.

Both Ptarmigan Ridge and the Chain Lakes Loop have a near-constant supply of epic views. This really keeps them from feeling like a slog. If you’re curious to learn more, check out the WTA website—since these are super popular hikes, there are a lot of recent trip reports.

Also, Camp Muir and Sourdough are both on my list. Glad to hear you enjoyed them!

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