Barometer Mountain by Artist Point via Bagley Lakes Trail / 氣壓山

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Barometer Mountain by Artist Point is one of the many obscure peaks off Mount Baker Highway. The hike through the lower Bagley Lakes Trail may feel underwhelming. But this vantage point gives stunning views to the notable Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.

Barometer Mountain, the leading protagonist
Barometer Mountain, the leading protagonist

See more trip photos here.

Barometer Mountain at a Glance

Access: Bagley Lakes Trailhead
Round Trip: 8.2 miles
Elevation Range: 4160′-5763′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Bailey Lakes Trail

The trip had let us explore the end of Mount Baker Highway. We went past the famous Picture Lake, where people have taken iconic photos of Mount Shuksan. It’s a quiet drive in the early morning to the mountains.

A dozen cars were in the lot on this pleasant morning. Soon, the pup and I walked through lower Bagley Lake’s east shore to the upper lake. Then I wore snowshoes by the outlet and moved higher in the basin.

Upper Bagley Lake outlet
Upper Bagley Lake outlet

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Snowshoe Through Steep Terrain

Shortly, we made a rising traverse toward Herman Saddle and saw two skiers below us. Cautious about the steep terrain, we avoided the northwest-facing gully. Instead, we went in the way of the summer trail.

We moved west while carving out a path. In the meantime, we traversed Mount Herman’s south side and slowly rose uphill. But the skiers opted to go straight up the avalanche terrain in the gully.

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View to Mount Shuksan

Before long, Mount Shuksan rose from behind Austin Pass over the eastern skyline. I kept turning back to check out the magnificent mountain. It could very well have been the closest I’ve seen the peak.

Terrain later flattened at 5000′ below the pass. Soon, the pup and I contoured southwest through the pristine snowy hills. Before we knew it, we were atop Herman Saddle at 5300′.

On Herman Saddle with Mount Shuksan
On Herman Saddle with Mount Shuksan

See more trip photos here.

Herman Saddle Views

But the views didn’t stop there. More broad vistas to the west welcomed us when we stepped onto the pass. Mount Baker soon became the main focus on that other side.

The saddle would’ve been an ideal spot to turn around after soaking in views. It’d also make an excellent lunch spot if not overly warm. But, alas, Barometer Mountain was calling our names.

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Galena Chain Lakes Basin

We dropped 500′ into Galena Chain Lakes Basin. Then we bypassed Iceberg and Hayes Lakes through the dividing ridge. Soon, we went from Arbuthnot Lake’s west shore into Anderson Creek Basin.

We made a few stops for photos en route to the southeast saddle at 4700′. Then we moved through the ridge while staying on and east of the crest. The terrain was at its steepest from 5200′ to 5400′.

Onward to Barometer Mountain
Onward to Barometer Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Final Stretch on Barometer Mountain

Higher up on the ridge were lots of dry rocks. So we could move up through either side of the snow to continue. Views slowly improved with every bit of altitude gain.

It was tough not to stop for photos every minute and scope out the vistas. Below the top was a brief stretch of rocks to move through. Then we made it up on the snowy summit soon after.

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Barometer Mountain Summit Views

Of course, I say this to just about any summit with jaw-dropping views on a gorgeous day like today. But wow, what a gem this place was. So “good things do come to those who wait,” I suppose?

The only places I knew were those we’ve climbed, like Church Mountain Lookout and Excelsior Peak. But I couldn’t pick out Welcome Butte. Then front and center was the unmistakable sight of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.

American Border Peak and Mount Larrabee
American Border Peak and Mount Larrabee

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Outro

I realized how much of the Cascades I have yet to explore as I looked around. So I’ve since added more places to my list. Winchester Mountain, Mount Larrabee, and American Border Peak were among the many.

It was pure slush by the time we went back to Bagley Lakes Basin. Along the way were more ski and snowshoe tracks added since this morning. So it looked like lots of people had been out enjoying the day!

Shuksan to Baker panoramic view on Barometer Mountain
Shuksan to Baker panoramic view on Barometer Mountain

See more trip photos here.

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