CHS 1 Hike

Field trip: Conditioning Hiking Series

CHS 1 Hike - Yellow Aster Butte

This hike is led at a CHS 1 pace.

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  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 7.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,550 ft

Details to be provided by leader

Find supreme wildflower gardens and a high-country plateau speckled with shimmering tarns-but that's not all. Spectacular alpine vistas abound too-of Baker, Shuksan, and all those rugged and craggy peaks straddling the 49th parallel. Yellow Aster Butte may be a misnomer (those yellow-petaled delights are actually daisies), but you definitely don't want to miss hiking here.

Sharing a start with the Tomyhoi Lake Trail, begin on a steep course alternating between cool old-growth forest and warm brushy avalanche slopes. Views out to Goat Mountain and big ol' Baker aren't bad from the brushy openings. Shortly after entering the Mount Baker Wilderness, the grade thankfully eases up. The tread remains excellent, the result of a lot of volunteer work over the years on this heavily traveled trail.

The way soon breaks out into a basin bursting with berry patches.  In 1.4 miles come to a junction (elev. 5150 ft) with the Tomyhoi Lake Trail. Head left for Yellow Aster Butte.

 As you round the basin, Mount Shuksan reveals her beauty. Baker flaunts his as well from across Austin Pass. After moderate climbing across boulder-strewn heather meadows, the trail drops about 100 feet into a snow-harboring basin. Showy penstemon and monkey flowers spruce up the stark gulch with touches of purple and gold.

Climb more steeply, now, rounding Yellow Aster's south shoulder. Catch your breath-not from altitude, but from multitude-a beautiful multitude of peaks, ridges, and tarns spread out before you. At 3.5 miles reach a junction on a ledge overlooking the glacier-scoured tarnished plateau below. Take the way trail right, steeply climbing 400 feet in 0.25 mile to ascend the butte.

From this 6150-foot promontory, look out over an amazing landscape of emerald ridges, verdant valleys, snow-capped spires, and glacier-clad giants. Winchester, Larrabee, American Border, and Canadian Border peaks are particularly striking. So too is Tomyhoi, the big broad behemoth dominating the north viewscape.


Yellow Aster Butte

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

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