Distance from Vancouver: 2h45 plus border time
From Artist Point to Mazama Lake round-trip: 2hrs, 6.4km round-trip
Elevation loss: roughly 200m
For our second day in Mt. Baker area, we decided to head to Chain Lakes for camping. We knew from the Glacier visitor center that the weather wasn’t good for the next 2 days, but we wanted to try to get something out of these few days off in the area. We figured it would be a nice area to camp at, and as we were only about 1h away from the parking, we could always get out quickly if the weather got quite ugly. In this area you will have to pay 5$ US per day to park and visit the park during the day. Make sure you show your proof of payment in your car before heading out!
And so we went – we drove all the way up to Artist Point in the Mt. Baker area. From there we followed the main indications towards Chain Lakes Loop. We did not hike the entire loop, although I have done it a few years ago on snowshoes. After one mile on a pretty steep traverse (the trail itself is quite flat), follow the sign on the right towards the Chain Lakes trail.
From there, it is another mile until you reach Mazama Lake, where 4 large campsites are available. There are another 4 at Icerberg Lake a bit further on the trail (another 0.5-1.0 mile).
As the weather wasn’t really clear, we were not surprised to be the only ones camping for 2 nights. Our Day 3 consisted of eating, trying to stay dry and playing boardgames and ukulele in the tent! Rest days are rare nowadays so we decided to enjoy it!
On Day 4 of our Mt. Baker trip we finally saw the sun coming out. As we hiked back to the car, we met a few volunteers from the Washington Trail Association coming to Mazama Lake for 4 nights to do trail maintenance. They told us the forecast was good and that the sun should sneak out around noon, and that the next few days should be completely clear and sunny. That was all we needed to happily get back to the car and get ready for a few nice hikes!