VIKING TRAVEL: ARTIST POINT
They say in Bellingham we like to get high; 5,000 feet high, I mean.
Let me take you on a virtual trip to Artist Point on Mount Baker. Drive down the scenic Mount Baker highway, through dense forests and past open pastures. Toward the end of the ascent on Mount Baker, stop at Picture Lake, one of the most photographed vistas in the U.S.
Keep driving until you reach the Artist Point parking lot. From there, find signs with hiking directions to Table Mountain. It’s a quick hike but with steep switchbacks on loose, rocky slopes. Those scared of heights might not enjoy the climb.
The main trail continues on around the south rim of the mountain, but the top is generally free to roam around. It’s lined with scraggly trees, strange black rock formations and stunning views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. Valleys surround the spot with gorgeous, multicolored lakes and a panoramic landscape like something out of a dream.
The top is relatively level, hence the name Table. Venture around to see the views from every perspective, but watch out for the steep cliffs that line the rims. Make sure to stick around for golden hours, which are the first and last few hours of sunlight each day.
Artist Point is usually covered in snow until around mid-July.
I recommend snowshoeing Artist Point. I rent all of my gear from either the Associated Students Outdoor Center or Glacier Ski Shop ($14 for snowshoes) on Mount Baker highway.
Of all the breathtaking views and hikes that Bellingham has to offer, put this one at the top of your list. The pictures look like a postcard, but they don’t do the place justice.