CHS 1 Hike - Chain Lakes Loop

Field trip: Conditioning Hiking Series

CHS 1 Hike - Chain Lakes Loop

CHS 1 graduation hike led at a CHS 1 pace (1.5-2.0 mph). This hike will also include an out-and-back journey to Lake Ann on the arm of Mt. Shuksan. Do two of the Classic 100 hikes in Washington in one trip. View alpine lakes and glaciers framed by Mounts Baker and Shuksan.

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.
  • Strenuous/Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0 mph

Leave from the Lincoln Creek Park & Ride (in Bellingham off of I-5, exit 252) at 5:45 AM or meet at the Artist Point Parking lot (end of WA Rte 542) at 7:30 AM.  The Bellingham P&R may change depending on how many people decide to stay in Bellingham the previous night and if we can locate one closer to WA 542.   You can also self-organize carpools, for example from Green Lake P&R (to leave at say 4:25 AM) or from Ash Way P&R (to leave at say 4:40 AM). 

We will start from Artist Point by descending the steep Wild Goose Trail for a little over half a mile until we reach the intersection for the Lake Ann Trailhead.  After crossing Rte 542, we will hike the Lake Ann Trail (approx 8.5 miles) before returning to the intersection with the Wild Goose Trail. We will then continue down the Wild Goose Trail to Heather Meadows and then complete the Chain Lakes Loop (6-7 miles) back to Artist Point.

Sunset is at about 7:35 PM so while we expect to complete the hike before then, please come prepared with a headlamp and good batteries.  Poles are strongly recommended (even if you don’t regularly use them) because of the steep descent, the total elevation gain, and the chance of hiking using a headlamp.  The Lake Ann Trail was muddy when we hiked part of it in mid-August so consider bringing gaiters for this part of this hike. For both trails, you must use a toilet or pack out (not bury) human waste.  There are 3 toilets on the Chain Lakes Loop (Artist Point, Heather Meadows, between Iceberg and Hayes Lakes) but none on the Lake Ann Trail so bringing a blue bag (available from most hiking outfitters) is suggested. 

The after hike food stop will either be in Glacier at Chair 9 (45 minute drive) or in Maple Falls at North Fork Brewery (65 minute drive).


Bagley & Chain Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Ten Essential Systems

  1. Navigation (map & compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
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