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Horseshoe Bend

North Cascades


North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area
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2.4 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 220 ft.
Highest Point: 1200 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2021

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Here's a Mount Baker Highway gem that's low enough to be passable all year and at the same time easy enough for the whole family. It's also a terrific spot to witness the power of water.

Here, the North Fork of the Nooksack River, which gets its start from the glaciers of Mount Shuksan, powers its way through everything and anything in its path -- house-sized boulders, snags, and the riverbed, giving kayakers and rafters who venture here a wild ride.

From the plush parking lot, head down a set of wood steps leading to the trail at the river's edge. Follow the trail to the left as it parallels the raging river squeezing its way through a narrow gorge. In a few hundred yards, the trail climbs some steps and enters the deeper and darker wood.

After crossing a log bridge, reach a spot where there used to be a perfectly placed bench at river's edge. The bench washed out a couple of years ago (you can see the supports that used to hold it if you look closely), but you can still sit on a piece of driftwood, relax, and ooh and aah in wonder at the Nooksack, which seems to explode right before your very eyes.

Continue on if you like or turn around here. The mostly gentle riverside trail meanders through a forest of giant moss-hung firs, hemlocks and cedars that all but block out the rain on those rainy days. Eventually, the trail peters out.


Horseshoe Bend

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.9023, -121.9117 Open map in new window


North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area

Horseshoe Bend (#687)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Mount Baker No. 13

Getting There

Drive east on the Mount Baker Highway (State Route 542) for 34 miles to the town of Glacier. Continue for another 1.8 miles to the trailhead, immediately after crossing the North Fork of the Nooksack River. The trailhead will be on the right, across from Douglas Fir campground.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Horseshoe Bend

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