Scott Paul Trail & Park Butte

Hike from Schreibers Meadow through alpine meadows to a lookout with panoramic views to Mount Baker, especially on the Railroad Grade, and beyond can be done as an 7.5-mile moderate out and back or 8-mile loop day hike with 2,200 and 2,000 feet of elevation gain, respectively, or as a 15-mile moderate backpack with up to 3,200 feet elevation gain and some great side trip opportunities.

getting there

Take I-5 to just north of Mount Vernon and drive east on SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) and turn left on Baker Lake Road. Continue 12.5 miles to just past the Rocky Creek Bridge, turn left onto Forest Road 12. Go 3.5 miles to Sulfur Creek Road (Forest Road 13). Turn right and follow it 6 miles to its end at the Park Butte Trailhead (3,360 ft).

The Park Butte Trail  is open to stock, Aug 1  to Oct 31. Please do not park passenger vehicles or gear trailers in the stock vehicle parking area.

on the trail

Park Butte

7.5 miles round trip, 2,200 feet of elevation gain, High Point: 5,460 ft

Hike ~4 miles from the trailhead to the Park Butte lookout, then retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Scott Paul Loop

8 mile loop, 2,000 feet of elevation gain, High Point: 5,460 ft

Hike the Park Butte and Scott Paul Trails clockwise or counterclockwise for a loop trip. Consider side trips to Park Butte, Railroad Grade, and the off-trail Squak Glacier "crag view.".

Railroad Grade

8 miles round trip, 2,990 feet of elevation gain, High Point: 5,900 ft

Hike the Park Butte Trail 2.3 miles and turn right onto the Railroad Grade Trail. Hike as far up the Railroad Grade Trail as desired, up to 1.5 miles one-way. Consider a side trip to Park Butte.


For a backpack, camps are available at Cathedral Camp and 2-5 miles beyond on the Railroad Grade Trail—Railroad Camp, High Camp, and Sandy Camp.


  • This trail can be quite crowded on weekends. 
  • There is great blueberry picking in September!
  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft
  • 5,450 ft
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX
  • Green Trails Hamilton No. 45
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Scott Paul Trail
  • Scott Paul-Park Butte Loop
  • Scott Paul & Park Butte Loop
  • Scott Paul Loop Trail
  • Park Butte
  • Railroad Grade
  • Railroad Grade Trail
  • Park Butte & Railroad Grade

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