Church Mountain Hike, June 2011

Church Mountain
Date: June 4, 2011
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,750 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Glacier, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Packed Snow
Hiking With: Linna Freeman & my dog Macho

My wife Linna and I spent the weekend in Glacier, Washington….the last town on highway 542; the highway ends at the Mt. Baker Ski Resort. We decided to hike up Church Mountain on a beautiful Saturday morning, it was close to Glacier and close to where we were staying. We had to drive 2 1/2 miles on Forest Road 3040 to reach the trailhead. Looks like they just installed a new bathroom this year, which means this trail gets busy, but…even though it was a warm sunny weekend, we were the only ones there. If this trail was near Seattle, it would have been packed.

As we got started, there were posted bear warnings….hmmm, at this moment I was thinking it would have been nice to have my .45 Kimber on me. The trails starts off on a 1/2 mile gradual grade on a nice wide trail enough to fit 3 or 4 people wide. Soon after that 1/2 mile the trail narrows and it gets much steeper. Even though it was steep, the trail is quite nice to hike on….no rocks or tree roots to worry about.

The higher we got the older the trees were, it was very sunny so I appreciated the old growth canopy to protect my old skin. Every once in awhile you could see the North Fork Nooksack River….which was roaring with the June snowmelt. Most of the trail is on the Southern slope, which is why there wasn’t any snow; as soon as we traversed around the mountain heading North…we hit snow and a lot of it. We lost the trail and we decided to head up the mountain making our own tracks. The problem was the deep snow and I left my trail map in the car. We finally turned around 4,600 feet and called it a day. We knew we missed the beautiful view that was waiting for us at the top.