Responsible Recreation on Mount Baker

COVID-19 Information

The USFS is aligning its COVID-19 and social distancing policy with the state of Washington. The best source for updates about COVID-19 closures is the USFS Pacific Northwest region website.

If you decide to visit Mount Baker, please maintain social distancing and follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Restrooms at trailheads and visitor centers may be closed. Pack out all toilet paper and human waste using blue bags or another system.    
  • Garbage receptacles may also be closed. Pack out all trash and dog feces. 
  • Visit areas that are close to your home. 
  • Keep party size small and avoid busy trails. 
  • Maintain six feet of separation with other parties whenever possible. 
  • Carry a mask and use it when separation isn't possible. 
  • If you have to move off the trail, avoid stepping on sensitive vegetation.

Seasonal Safety Reminders 

As the winter snowpack melts, use extra caution around creek crossings, ditches, logs, and other obstacles. Snow bridges may be melting from the bottom and be thinner than they appear.

Moats, like the one at approximately 4800 feet on Heliotrope Creek, can be extremely dangerous in the spring. A fatality occurred there in 2011. Do not glissade or ski directly down Heliotrope Creek drainage, to the immediate west of Hogsback Ridge. 

Always stay in control if glissading. Do not glissade in low-visibility conditions or when you can't see and assess the entire slope in front of you. 

Weather can change rapidly this time of year. Carry the ten essentials and be prepared for various weather conditions. 

Consider using a form of flotation, such as snowshoes, skis, or a splitboard. If you have the skills and experience to use these tools, they can make your hike or climb more efficient and enjoyable. Stay in control and do not ski down on top of other parties. 

Avoid Overhead Hazards


This amazing and scary video from USFS Snow Ranger Pete Durr is a reminder that hanging ice on Mt. Baker poses a serious threat.

Some of the most popular climbing routes travel beneath overhead hazards that have the potential to collapse at any time. The video shows the Coleman Headwall, but similar avalanches are know to originate on Colfax Peak and impact the Coleman-Deming route. The bootpack there sometimes leads through a debris field and it would be difficult to escape from a large avalanche in that area. Other overhead hazards are found on the Roman Mustache and the rock buttresses near Sherman Crater, as well as many other parts of the mountain.

Climbers and skiers would be wise to give all overhead hazards a wide berth and spend as little time as possible beneath them. Move efficiently and pay close attention to your surroundings. Look up, down and around before deciding on a spot to take a break, eat lunch, or set up camp. Powder clouds, rocks and debris may travel faster and farther than expected.

It’s also a good idea to get off the mountain before the hottest part of the day. An early alpine start on your summit morning will give you the best chance of returning to camp before the worst melting occurs.

Stay Updated

The climbing rangers are gathering information about trail and route conditions and will post reports as soon as possible. To stay updated, follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts! 

Thanks and happy climbing!