I have had my eye on Artist Point Snowshoe for a while now but had never found the right time to do it. It is definitely a hike you want to do on a clear day because it is said to have one of the best views in the state. During the winter and spring this can pose problems as the weather in the North Cascades is very unpredictable. Not only do you want a day without clouds, you also need to choose a day when avalanche danger is low because the trail does cross some exposed terrain. During the summer after all the snow melts you can actually drive right up to the point, no hiking involved...but what’s the fun of that?!
The drive is also long from Seattle, almost 3 hours, and the hike is only 4 miles round trip. I wanted to go when I had enough time to spend up there without feeling like I was driving all day for a mere two hours on the mountain. Taking all these variables into consideration I never found the right opportunity to hit the trail, until yesterday!
To make the best use of our time Mike and I decided to backpack in and spend the night snow camping along the trail and hit the point in the morning. Because it was so late in the season the trail was actually more difficult to navigate than I had expected as there were many tracks leading in all directions.
Not knowing if we were close, or headed in the right direction we found a flat spot to set up camp under the shadow of Mt Shuksan. As we cooked our dinner and watched the sun set we made a plan to head out early to try to catch the sunrise.
Well in theory it was a good plan, but we both slept through our alarms and missed sunrise. But all was not lost, just off to a little later start we headed in the direction of what we hoped was the point. Our navigation skills paid off and as we crested the last ridge I finally laid eyes of the beauty of Artist Point. We were the only ones there and took our time reveling in the beauty of it all.
From the point Mt. Baker towers in the southwest, and Mike and I reminisced about our experience summiting it last year. Sprawling views of the Cascades can be seen in all directions. Beyond Content that I was finally able to check this one off my list, we headed back to camp to pack up and start the drive home with another successful weekend in the books.
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Before attempting attempting Artist Point Snowshoe, please visit WTA.ORG for hike difficulty, gear requirements, and recent trip reports.