Bagley & Chain Lakes


Backpack - Bagley & Chain Lakes

Enjoy blazing fall colors and big views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan on a moderate, two day loop trip out of Artist Point.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 13.8 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,592 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,950 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 - 2.0 mph

We will meet at the Artist Point trailhead parking lot ( at 10am.  Colin will send an email to all trip participants ahead of time so that folks can organize/join carpools if they wish.

Drivers will need a Northwest Forest Pass or an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass.

Directions to the trailhead: From Bellingham (exit 255 on I-5), head east on the Mount Baker Highway (WA-542) for 34 miles to the Glacier Public Service Center. Continue another 25 miles to the road's end at the mega parking lot for Artist Point. Privy available.

Squeeze in one final backpacking trip of the year!  We’ll be combining two different hikes - Chain Lakes Loop ( and Ptarmigan Ridge ( - to give ourselves a weekend of great mountain views, vibrant fall colors, and decent exercise and altitude!

On Saturday, we’ll start at the Artist Point trailhead and take the Chain Lakes Loop trail clockwise to Mazama Lake.  We'll set up camp at Mazama Lake, have lunch, and then head out for a day hike on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail.  We’ll follow the Ptarmigan Ridge trail for approximately 3.4 miles and then turn around and hike back to Mazama Lake.  Day totals: 8.7 miles, 2500 ft of gain.

On Sunday, we'll continue clockwise along the Chain Lakes Loop trail, taking in the views from Herman Saddle.  Along the way, we can decide if we want to take an optional (0.8 mile) loop around Hayes Lake and/or an optional (1 mile) loop around Lower Bagley Lake.  We'll finish the day with a 700 ft ascent from Upper Bagley Lake to the Artist Point trailhead.  Day totals: 4.3 miles, 1450 ft of gain.

Route details:

Weather can be highly variable at this time of year. Expect daytime temperatures in the low 40s, nighttime temperatures in the low 30s, and the possibility of snow.  The trip will be moved (same weekend, different location) if there is a forecast of accumulating snow or other substantial weather hazards.  This trip will be an opportunity to put your cold weather gear to use!

This is a mentored backpacking trip, with Sarah Hess mentoring Colin Chapman.


Bagley & Chain Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports