Skip to main content

U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


View of Artist Ridge Trail with Mt. Shuksan in the background. Artist Ridge Trail with Mt. Shuksan in the background. Photo by Lief Hazelet.

ire and Ice Trail with Table Mountain in the background. Fire and Ice Trail with Table Mountain in the background. Photo by Debra Paul.

Avalanche Lilies. Avalanche Lilies (Erythronium montanum).

Heather Meadows Visitor Center. Heather Meadows Visitor Center. Photo by Debra Paul.

Ptarmigan Ridge Trail with broad-leaf lupine and spreading phlox. Ptarmigan Ridge Trail with broad-leaf lupine and spreading phlox (Lupinus latifolius and Phlox diffusa). Photo by Kurt Parker.

Heather Meadows

Forest: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

District: Mt. Baker Ranger District

Description: You’ll find fantastic subalpine wildflower displays with heather and huckleberry meadows that roll for miles at Heather Meadows near the eastern end of the Mount Baker Scenic Byway. Glistening lakes nestle between knolls, ridges bristle with 900-year-old mountain hemlock, and columns of basalt from Mt. Baker stand like black anvils against the sky. Interpretive signs along the Picture Lake, Fire and Ice, and Artist Ridge trails enhance the story behind this spectacular scenery. Exhibits inside the renovated visitor center offer a glimpse into the areas colorful cultural history. Visitors to Heather Meadows enjoy photographing the scenery, hunting for mountain blueberries, spreading out a picnic lunch and other activities. Picnic tables are centrally located in the Austin Pass Picnic Area.

Meadow Repair To prevent damage to fragile meadow ecosystems, the U.S. Forest Service has initiated an intensive revegetation program within Heather Meadows. Visitors to the area are urged to help. Please observe ‘Meadow Repair’ signs marking overused side trails and denuded areas that undergoing restoration, and always stay on established trails to prevent further damage.

Recreation Fees A Northwest Forest Pass is required when visiting this area. Federal Golden Passports are also honored.

Safety First: Trails in the Heather Meadows area have been designed primarily for hiker use, with certain sections made barrier free for wheelchair users. All trails are closed to bicycle, motorcycle and pack animal use. Accessible restrooms are available near the visitor center and at Artist Point. This high elevation area is subject to all the uncertainties of mountain weather – always be sure to carry “The 10 Essentials”. For more information contact the Glacier Public Service Center (mid May through September) at (360) 599-2714.

Directions: From the city of Bellingham on Interstate 5, take exit #255. Head east on State Highway 542 (the Mt. Baker Highway) 58 miles to the end.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mt. Baker Valley Ranger District.

Closest Town: Bellingham, Washington.