Home to Mt. Baker Ski Area, Whatcom County is full of snow activities, events and sports during the winter.
During the current pandemic it is important to remember to Recreate Responsibly and follow all safety guidelines. Whatcom County is currently in Phase 2 of Washington State’s Safe Start plan, view our Travel Advisory for information on local restrictions.
Whooshing down slopes or navigating the back-country in quiet solitude, Mt. Baker provides ample opportunities for winter snow sports. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has reported that Mt. Baker holds the record for most snowfall in a single season with 1,140 inches (95 feet) / 2,896 cm (29 meters). Measurements were taken during the 1998-99 winter season at Mt. Baker Ski Area, located at an elevation of 4,200 feet, nine miles northeast of the summit of the Mt. Baker volcano, which has an elevation of 10, 781 feet.
Snowboarders and skiers enjoy a variety of terrain, day lodges, ski lessons and rentals. Mt. Baker Ski Area has the longest season in the state and often the most snow in North America.
- Average snowfall 659 inches (1,673 cm)
- Vertical rise 1,500 ft (455 m)
- Heather Meadows elevation 4,300 ft (1,300m)
- White Salmon elevation 3,500 ft (1,060m)
- 8 quad chairs, 2 handle tows
- Runs: 42% Expert, 35% Intermediate, 23% Beginner
Salmon Ridge Sno-Park Area
Provides up to 15 miles (25km) of trail depending on snow. Trails are groomed on a volunteer basis and is not guaranteed. Trail use is free, but a Sno-Park Permit is required to park at the trail head. The Trail is located about 13 miles beyond the town of Glacier on the Mt. Baker Highway, State Route 543 (between mileposts 46/47), and is across the road from Silver Fir Campground (Razor Hone Road #3070 and Anderson Road #3071).
Most snowshoe trails can be found off the Mt Baker Highway (State Route 542), about a one-hour drive from Bellingham. These trails offer scenic views, beautiful waterfalls, majestic old-growth forest, unique geologic formations, mountain peaks and wild river valleys. Plentiful feet of snow can be found throughout the Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest every winter. Fresh snow falls regularly on trails near and on Mt Baker from November-April.
- Coal Pass, FS 39: Just east of the town of Glacier and milepost 34, turn south on Glacier Creek Rd/FS 39.
- Excelsior Trail: There is a sizeable parking lot at the trailhead on the north side of SR 542, east of milepost 42. A steep, forested trail leads to the open meadows of Welcome Pass. Route finding skills recommended.
- Hannegan Pass: Just east of the DOT equipment sheds by milepost 46. There is a sizeable parking area where Hannegan Road meets SR 542.
- Silver Fir Campground: Across from the large SnoPark east of milepost 46. Flat, amid old growth, by the Nooksack River.
- Bagley Lakes: Just west of Mt. Baker Ski Area. Drive SR 542 to the end. Park in the farthest corner of the farthest parking lot to access the Bagley Lakes Trail.
- Canyon Lake Community Forest: East of milepost 16, go south on Mosquito Lake Rd, then left on Canyon Lake Road. Park at the snowline. The access road to Canyon Lake Community Forest was washed out in several places by the January, 2009 storm. The road is closed at the gate, requiring a 5.7 mile hike to the trailheads.
There are two groomed trails off the Mt. Baker Highway 542; Canyon Creek (Road#31) and Glacier Road (Road#39). Snowmobiling is allowed when the road systems are closed to vehicles and there is sufficient snow pack (24″). These Trails are designated Washington State Sno-Park and you need to show your permit in your vehicle window when parked at Sno-Parks.
One popular place to sled is at Highwood Lake near the Mt. Baker Ski Area. Sled at your own risk and check ice thickness and conditions for safety.
Ski to Sea is the original multisport relay race, from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. Organize your team of 8 racers and join us on Memorial Day weekend! Teammates and spectators await finishing racers in Bellingham’s scenic Marine Park and can experience the Historic Fairhaven Festival, the all-day street party just up the hill.
Backcountry Essentials is an outdoor specialty shop. We cater to the outdoor community, specifically: skiers, hikers, climbers, campers, and people who enjoy the culture of the Northwest and Bellingham. We love to test gear, recognize everyone was a beginner at some point, and welcome all levels of interest in the outdoors. Our aim is to make your days off that much better, so you can go back to saving the world in whatever ways you choose.