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North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

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North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

We are planning a trip around July 12, 2014, and hoping to stay somewhere along the Mt Baker Hwy. Is this generally too early because of snow? Glacier looks like a good place to stay for its proximity to hikes, yes or no? Thanks!

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Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

It is too early. The Mt Baker area melts out absolutely last (the ski area holds the world record for snow). Most hikes aren't accessible until August. The road all the way to the end may or may not be open. A couple years ago it never opened because there was so much snow. If you are just staying a night or two, there are a few lower elevation trails you could do, but it won't showcase the spectacular nature of the area.

That is actually the absolute earliest I'd recommend for any of WA's alpine hiking.

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2. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

You cannot know how much I appreciate your response. We were in the North Cascades a few years ago and had to do only low elevation hikes because of snow. I will plan a trip for late August in the future. Our plan will be Mt. Rainier then Olympic National Park this year. Thanks again!

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

That's pretty early for Rainier, too. Even with our record breaking warm spring this year Paradise trails were snow covered at that time. There were trails in other areas that had melted, either fully or partially, but if you are planning a mountain trip here, it would really be best to come later.

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4. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

I have heard from other forum members that Mid July is too early for Olympic NP as well. We will not be able to travel in Aug for two more years, and I do not want to postpone until then. We have reservations in Glacier NP from 06/27 - 07/11 so we will in the northwest already. I was hoping to then go to either North Cascades or Mt Rainier (or both), Olympic NP, Redwood NP, Napa Valley, Yosemite then ???

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

Head for the coast. There's some lovely coastal areas that will be beautiful in July. Glacier NP is a long way from the coast. That's prime time for Banff and Jasper, which is much closer....

Seattle, Wa
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6. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

What about September? That's arguably the nicest time in our mountains. No bugs, few tourists, no snow, less competition for hotels and campgrounds, lower prices on hotels.

Glacier's actually pretty far from all of these places--Glacier's in the northern Rocky Mountains, not the Pacific Northwest. It combines nicely with Yellowstone/Tetons, or the Canadian Rockies; I've only been to the Canadian Rockies in September, so I don't know the snow situation as well there. But if you were also going to head to CA, you can still do that. There's no shortage of things to see there and you can drive down the OR and CA coast. This must be a nice long trip!

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7. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

All great suggestions. Job obligations in September. We were in the Canadian Rockies for two weeks summer,2012, so we were looking to head more Pacific northwest this year. We will travel six weeks to escape the unbearable summer heat in Alabama. We go to Glacier every summer and have visited Yellowstone/several times. Maybe Vancouver area then down the coast?

Seattle, Wa
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8. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

That's certainly an idea. There are also the Canadian Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and the San Juan Islands (in the US). You could certainly visit Olympic and Rainier along the way, with the expectation you won't be able to do all the hking you might like. As you can imagine, it's high season on the coast and in the islands in July.

If you've never been to the Sawtooth Mts in central Idaho, that would be a good detour on your way west. It's national park caliber scenery without as many people.

Oregon
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9. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

Glacier every summer?. Well you must have had some access problems there. Most of Oreg and Wash places are open by July. Certainly the major passes. Crater lake north access will be open, maybe entire rim road. McKenzie Pass probably open. I am not sure what all will be open at Rainier, but guess Chinook pass will be.

I would not let Mt Baker access change your entire plan.

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10. Re: North Cascades/Mt. Baker Hwy

I did look at places to stay in Ketchum once, but for some reason never made it there. I will revisit that idea. Thanks!

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