- Church Mountain Scramble
View of Mount Baker from Church Mountain
October 11, 2015
Church Mountain Scramble
View of Mount Baker from Church Mountain
There are a bunch of awesome hikes in the Mount Baker wilderness. Three of them are Church Mountain, Excelsior, and Yellow Aster Butte. My friends and I made an epic hiking day by basically doing all three of them at the same time.
We started at Church Mountain, which is about a 5 miles hike and gains over 5,000 feet of elevation. The views from the top are phenomenal. It's one of the Western most hikes so from the top you can see everything to the East and around Mt Baker. Church Mountain is basically on a long ridgeline that connects to Winchester Mountain to the East. And so that was our route. There is no trail and requires a bit of scrambling and a lot of water. Pack a lot because there are no water sources up there (unless you find snow to melt). After departing the Church Mountain peak it's about 4 miles to Excelsior Pass, which finally introduces a trail. This is a perfect place for a break. After another 3 miles you'll reach Welcome Pass, which isn't much to see. That marks the end of the trail and then we were back into bushwhacking and scrambling. Another 4 miles put us at Yellow Aster Butte. We drove a car up there earlier in the morning and setup our tents, so we could crash once we got there.

This isn't on a trail map. Hiking the ridgeline is challenging, but totally doable. There's only one way to go so it's easy not to get lost. Though, I would make sure you study the maps before you go so you know the terrain and distances.

You could actually keep going past Yellow Aster Butte. If you did you would reach Winchester Mountain and the Twin Lakes. You could be even more epic and continue on the ridge to Goat Mountain.
Church Mountain - Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
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