Miles: 6 Round trip
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass at trail head
Elevation Gain: 3925 ft
My Hiking Time: 6 hrs
The trail up Mt Baring begins with an easy road walk from the Barclay Lake trail-head. Go around the toilet facilities and follow an overgrown road for about 1/3 of a mile. At the first creek crossing look to your right for a cairn that marks the beginning of the climbers trail. This “trail” is not so much a trail but more of a general guideline. At some points there are multiple ways to go and you'll just have to pick what's best for you. If you cross the creek twice you are going the right way.
At the time of this writing there is pink tape providing a good marking for a trail. However, other times I have gone up there is none, so don't count on having a marked trail.
Once in the woods, the trail climbs quickly and steeply up the north side of the mountain. It is hard to describe the difficulty of this portion. All that can be said is this is where most people fail.
At the end of the first hill, you will crest the west ridge, which you will roughly follow for the next 1 mile. At some point you will need to go below some cliff bands and then follow a faint climbers path up the hill on the other side. This leads to the basin below the summit of Mt Baring. The summit on the left is the north summit and your destination. The south peak is rarely climbed because it is shorter and more difficult.
From the basin follow the boulder field up to the saddle, go left and follow easy trails to the summit. You will cross a couple more boulder fields, but it is fairly easy to navigate.
I was unable to find the summit register, and while I was searching a mild thunder storm began, so I raced off the summit. I can honestly say that this summit was not worth the effort, it is difficult and the view was mediocre at best. However, for someone who is just looking for a challenge this might be the mountain for you.
Miles: 14 (approximately) round-trip
Permits: No permits required
Elevation Gain: Around 5000 ft
My Hiking Time: 7 hrs (failed to summit)
Needing to put summer school in the back of my mind for a day, I decided it was time for the season’s first scramble. After some searching to find something at low enough elevation to be snow free, I settled on North Twin Sister near Deming Washington.
The approach itself is something to be conquered. Nearly 6 miles of walking on logging roads and bush-whacking through thick brush, before finally reaching the terminus of the ridge where the fun begins. It is highly recommended (and fun) to bring a mountain bike for the journey out. The gravel road back to your car is nearly all downhill and having the bike saves your legs while allowing you to sit back and take in the view.
The scrambling route starts off as jumping over a few boulders but soon becomes a narrow ridge that must be worked around. However, there is an ample number of cairns lining the ridge line that can be easily followed. The scrambling itself is described as class three or four by many but I would say a few parts were class five (I got a little lost so maybe that’s why). There is some large exposure in areas, but with the ample hand holds available and the quality of the rock, none of it was too difficult to navigate. Basically what I saw of the ridge was a fun afternoon of scrambling for anyone with the determination to get there.
I have compiled a video (found below) that shows what some of the scrambling is like.
Admittedly I was unable to reach the top and so I feel like this post is incomplete. I will be making another attempt at this mountain again this summer and will update this post as soon as possible.
Driving Directions (Courtesy of Summitpost.com):
Permits: Discover Pass Required
Elevation Gain: Unknown
My Hiking Time: 5 hrs
With the weather barley hanging on it seemed like time to get out once more before I have to put on a pair of snowshoes to get around in the woods. While that does sound enticing, with the small crowds and virtually open country, I am not looking forward to the extra work it requires. So I was excited to hit the trails at least one more time in my hiking boots.
This trail begins at an almost unnoticeable trail head on the side of Highway 11, near milepost 10. Finding it can be difficult if the trail is empty, but most days it should be obvious from the long line of cars on the west side of highway 11.
Begin by climbing up the side of Blanchard hill, following 4 long switchbacks for about 1.9 miles to a trail junction. Go left at this point to stay on the main trail leading toward Lilly lake and Oyster dome. Here the trail becomes a little more interesting as it crosses a couple of creeks, and passes a viewpoint that looks out over Samish bay. After about a mile, the trail curves right and heads straight up a large hill, eventually reaching a plateau.
At the plateau the trail forks once again, I headed right to get a view of Lilly lake. From here it is just 0.4 easy miles to the shores of the lake. I was surprised to see that the trees were blanketed in snow as I approached, and the shores had a good 6 inches all around. With very little area to sit and enjoy some lunch with all the snow, I headed around to the left following the camping trail.
I must say that the camping available at Lilly lake was of fairly poor quality except for the last site as you go around the lake. However, after seeing the camping available at lizard Lake I would not even recommend using that one for the night.
Once around the lake, about 0.2 miles, the trail splits again, I headed right toward Lizard lake. From here the trail drops down through the woods and comes out on the shore of Lizard lake.
Lizard lake seemed like the much better of the two lakes. It was less crowded and had far nicer camping spaces. It seemed like a good place for an early season weekend out, and in fact there were some campers there enjoying a decent sized fire. After inspecting the lake for a few minutes and finding little area to sit again due to snow I retraced my steps to the plateau and took the left trail toward Oyster dome.
From the plateau it is only a a short 0.25 miles to the top of Oyster Dome where you will get an excellent view over Samish bay. Finally finding a place to sit I got out my jet boil and heated up some cocoa to keep warm in the chilly wind.
After soaking in the view for about 30 minutes, I headed home feeling rejuvenated.
My name is Abrahm and I am a college student, and outdoor enthusiast . I spend much of my free time wandering through and photographing the great Pacific Northwest state of Washington.