OverviewThe Keep Kool Trail (#699) was begun as an old prospectors route to the diggings around the tarns below Yellow Aster Butte. The forest service used to maintain it for access to Yellow Aster Butte until the trail to Tomyhoi Lake over Gold Run Pass was added on to, thus including the new Yellow Aster Butte Trail. Several years ago the old trail was “abandoned” by the Forest Service, however local residents occasionally brush parts of the trail, and for the most part it is well flagged.
Getting ThereFrom the Glacier Public Service Center, follow the Mt. Baker Highway 542 for 12 miles to Forest Service Road #3065 (Twin Lakes Road). The road is located on the left hand side of the highway just beyond the Department of Transportation's Shuksan maintenance facility. Turn left on Twin Lakes Road and continue approximately 2.4 miles. The old trailhead is on the left (West) at 2960 feet, there is an old roadbed noticeable for a few yards into the alder. On the right across from the trailhead there is a pullout large enough for a couple of cars.
Route DescriptionYou will know you’re on the right trail immediately because there is an old post the once held the trail register just a few yards from the road.
The initial half-mile follows an old roadbed through brush (this had been well cleared in summer ’09) to the first switchback. Then the trail climbs moderately on the south side of a ridge into old forest, then climbs steeply, leveling out just before the first meadow a little over 2 mile in (camping here). The angle increases again as you ascend a short distance through trees and blueberries to the first tarn (more camping). From here there are a swarm of trails leading in the direction of the broad tarn-filled saddle west of Yellow Aster Butte where one can ascend to the butte.
There is also a route from just above the first tarn to the southwest up to point 5933 leading towards Welcome Pass. You could follow this all the way to Welcome Pass and indeed beyond all the way nearly to Church Mountain if you were so inclined.