Park Butte Trail

Grassmere, Washington 98245

Park Butte Trail

Park Butte Trail Professional Review and Guide

"One of the most spectacular settings in the entire North Cascades, Park Butte provides unsurpassed views of the snowy volcano Baker as well as inviting and outstanding high country that begs to be explored. The historical fire lookout, one of the few remaining in these parts, teeters on the edge of a craggy knoll offering Imax-like showings of Washington’s third-highest summit.

Come here in summer and play in fields of snow. Come in autumn and roam through fields scorched in crimson. But try to come on a weekday, for the crowds are legion at Park Butte, one of the top hiking destinations in the Northwest."

Park Butte Trail Reviews

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It was a crystal clear day. Saw a couple marmots on the high meadow. The first mile or so is fairly level, with a few interesting rockfields from spring runoff that have to be crossed. Then the climb begins in earnest for the next mile or so in a typical NW deep forest environment, with a few peekaboo views of the cascades to the southeast. Levels out on a high meadow for a half mile plus, then climbs again to the lookout. Breathtaking views all the way once you get to the first meadow. Will return soon to do the railroad grade.
What a stunning hike. I could hardly make myself descend back to the car. Huckleberries everywhere, outrageous views of Cascade mountaintops, the Nooksack Valley and all the way to Boundary Bay. No wonder this trail is so very popular. Go midweek if you possibly can, but just go early if you have to go on a weekend.
A fairly strenuous trail so it's a good thing you can't see Park Butte from the trailhead or you would be discouraged at the get go. You start climbing as soon as you leave the parking lot and you won't stop approaching the heavens until you arrive at the fire lookout on top. It's an easy climb as you pass through Schreiber Meadows. On this trip it was 85* and the black flies were relentless. They became less obnoxious as we gained altitude but we talked about returning in the fall when we can hike without insectual assult. Views of Mt. Baker and hundreds of surrounding peaks are spectacular. The Railroad Grade Trail is clearly visible from higer elevations on this trail. Some parts of the trail are very, very steep with lose rock. Patience will be rewarded. A note of warning: we started the trail at 7:15 AM and came to a river crossing at 1.5 miles. We were able to hop across rocks as we ascended. Coming back at 4:30 PM was another story. The river had risen dramatically and we had to scramble to find a crossing. If you have dogs/kids, think twice about safety if you're going up early in the day. Again, ours was a hot day which I am sure impacted the glacier-fed river. Trail guides here do not allow time for gazing at fields of wildflowers, exploring tarns, or experiencing an almost spiritual experience on top. Trust me - allow ten hours for this incredible experience.
Park Butte Trail #603 - The trail bridge over Rocky Creek was destroyed. Additionally, Rocky Creek moved about 100 yards to the west. A new bridge will be needed to cross this creek.

Park Butte Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
2,200 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3,250 feet
Trailhead Elevation
5,450 feet
Top Elevation
Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District
Local Contacts
Green Trails Hamilton No. 45
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018