See directions to trailhead on main page
At 6.5 miles round trip and 1600 feet of elevation gain this is the true definition of a hike. And while the peak could easily be gained in less than half a day, once you reach the summit you will find yourself wanting to sit and enjoy some of the best scenery any North Cascade peak has to offer.
From the trailhead Church Mtn is within view to the southwest. Excelsior Ridge can be seen headed North, but your view of Excelsior is blocked.
Take the obvious and clearly marked trailhead west into the forest. The well maintained trail gains altitude at a moderate grade as it meanders through old growth forest for about 1/2 mile.
At this point you will come to a Y-junction with Canyon Ridge Trail (Trail 689). Take the right fork over a fallen tree that has been notched for easy passage (everything about this trail is easy) and head toward Damfino Lakes.
You will continue to gradually climb and shortly reach two small "lakes". The trail winds around what would be the wet-season shoreline of the lakes becoming a boardwalk for most of trek. As you travel along the boardwalk take time to sit and enjoy the silence, or the abundant blue and huckleberries that line the trail and lake's edges.
Continuing on the trail wraps you around the lakes and changes your direction, you are now heading south. As you leave the lakes you will continue your hike through woods for about another mile.
When the trail leaves the woods you are dropped into a small meadow with a notch in view. The trail continues through the notch with a sidehill on your left and a washout area on your right. After passing through the notch you are rewarded with an ultra-easy 1/2 mile walk through a large meadow filled with lupine and more berries.
The trail reaches its end with a small climb (steepest of the hike) as it meets with Excelsior Pass. This is the first point where you begin to get a glimpse of what awaits you on the summit, as Baker and Shuksan become visible.
Turn left at the junction and climb approximately 200' to the small, unobstructed summit. With nothing taller than grass to block your view, the entire Northern section of the Cascades, the Olympics and Canadian Rockies are yours for the taking-in.
After your senses have had their fill, return to your vehicle following the route in reverse.
Seasonal gear required. Camera.
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