The Mount Baker—Snoqualmie National Forest is located in Washington state on the west side of the Cascades between Canada and Mt. Rainier National Park. Its 1,724,229 acres are made up of a stunning and varied terrain ranging from mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, snow fields, old-growth forests and the Skagit Wild and Scenic River System. It has more glaciers and snow fields than any other national forest outside the contiguous United States and is home to the largest winter population of bald eagles in the United States.
Even though it is a convenient drive for 62% of Washington state’s population, as well as the Vancouver metropolitan area, it still maintains its reputation as one of the most pristine wildernesses in the US. It is a favorite of travelers who are seeking a true outdoor experience, one that provides beauty and solitude unmatched in most other nationally sanctioned forests and parks.
PET FRIENDLY TRAILS AND CAMPGROUNDS
With 38 campgrounds and 1,500 miles of trails, it offers a wide range of activities that will satisfy everyone from beginning hikers to the most experienced outdoor enthusiasts. And, have we mentioned?, dogs are welcome pretty much everywhere in the forest. Depending what area you explore, the requirements for your best friend range from being on a 6-foot leash in all developed recreation areas, meaning those that have been improved for recreation and on interpretive trails, which are usually shorter trails with informational signs and which are usually accessible to wheelchairs. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a free rein for your favorite animal.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you shouldn’t take plenty of precautions with your dog while visiting the Mount Baker—Snoqualmie National Forest. After all, wilderness areas can be extremely hazardous and all care should be taken including updating all vaccines, as well as staying up-to-date with flea and tick medicines and making sure your pet has identification tags or, more preferably, chips or tattoos in case you get separated. And, if you do go on hikes, you should always bring plenty of water and high-quality dog treats.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT AND SIGHTS TO SEE
In a place where so much natural beauty abounds, it’s hard to choose where to begin. Heybrook Lookout would be a good start. With an elevation of 1700 feet, it offers a short but steep hike that will offer great views of nearby mountains, including Mount Persia and Mount Baring as well as Bridal Veil Falls. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Other popular hikes include Heliotrope Ridge Trail, Table Mountain, Lake Ann and Hannegan Pass. For a fantastic view of Mt. Baker, you can go to Artists Point where a quick hike will also give you a sweeping views of Mt. Shuksan and the North Cascade Range.
Beyond beautiful hikes, you and your family (including your favorite pooch) can hop in the car take a scenic drive along the Mount Baker Highway for a 116 mile trip that will give you a great feel for the area. Some of the stops you can make include the Glacier Public Service Center, Nooksack Falls (one of many waterfalls that adorn the area), Picture Lake, and Heather Meadows Visitor Center.
Since most of us here at Petswelcome are devoted fly fishers, we couldn’t not mention heading to the Nooksack River which offers great salmon fishing, as well as Silver Lake which has abundant trout.
NEARBY TOWNS AND CITIES
If you’re thinking of heading to the Mount Baker—Snoqualmie National Forest, there are numerous pet-friendly hotels, motels, and vacation rentals to choose from. The largest cities, including Seattle (134 miles, or about 2 1/2 hours from the Forest), Vancouver, BC (a 2 hour drive) and Bellingham (53 miles east) provide ample pet-friendly lodging. Closer options include Maple Falls which has a great selection of pet-friendly vacation rentals, Mount Vernon and Everett, all of which allow for you to make day trips to enjoy this amazing natural resource, one that will provide a great outdoor experience for your whole family.