Big Foot Hill is a low-elevation but potentially significant peak located in Whatcom County, Washington. Seldom summited, Big Foot Hill is most commonly visited for logging activity. However, the peak has importance to some peakbaggers. Big Foot Hill is a possible contender to be one of Washington’s 144(+) peaks with at least 2000’ of prominence.
Big Foot Hill
Big Foot Hill has two summit areas, a northern summit and a southern summit. Each summit has a contour ranging between 3080’ and 3100’ elevation, and it is unclear which of those two areas is actually higher. In addition, Whacme Mountain, located several miles south of the peak along the same ridgeline, has an officially recognized summit elevation of 3087’. The Whacme Mountain summit elevation falls within the elevation range of each of the two Big Foot Hill summit contours, meaning that any of those three highpoints could ultimately have the highest elevation. Whichever point is highest would claim the greatest prominence, making the point the 66th-most prominent peak in Washington. Whichever two points are lower would have considerably-reduced individual prominences, possibly as low as 170’ or as high as 400’. As a result, those seeking the most prominent peaks in Washington must visit all three possible prominence contenders (two Big Foot Hill summits, plus Whacme Mountain summit) to claim a successful completion of the highest prominence along the ridge.
Outside of prominence seekers, Big Foot Hill is seldom visited by people other than loggers and occasional local hikers & bikers. In the past, there were general concerns and questions regarding public access restrictions due to the mountain being maintained and oveseen by a local logging company (“Sierra Pacific Industries”). On multiple peaks and areas overseen by Sierra Pacific, non-motorized public access is allowed. However, it is recommended to contact Sierra Pacific Industries in advance of any planned summit trip to verify current conditions and access rules. Due to active logging activity on the mountain slopes, hiking or biking up the mountain logging roads on weekends and holidays might be preferred, which is when logging operations tend to be at a minimum.
Getting ThereFROM SEDRO-WOOLLEY, WA:
1) Drive north on Highway 9.
2) After 19.7 miles, turn left (west) onto Potter Road.
NOTE: This road intersection is in the community of Van Zandt, immediately after a small convenience store and immediately prior to where the highway crosses railroad tracks.
3) After 1.3 miles, the road sharply turns left (south) and becomes Hillside Road.
4) After 0.25 miles further, the road crosses a seasonal stream. Shortly thereafter, the red-colored entrance gate for both Road 4530 and Big Foot Hill is encountered on the rightside (westside) of Hillside Road. There is enough room to park a vehicle near the gate. Be careful not to park in front of the gate.
Standard Summit Approach
Map Of Standard Approach
FROM THE ENTRANCE GATE AT BEGINNING OF ROAD 4530:
1) Head WSW along Road 4530, continually gaining elevation for the first 2.5 miles until the road reaches a high spot on the north side of Point 2167.
Ascending Road 4530...
2) Within the next 0.5 miles, the road briefly goes downhill and then slightly uphill until reaching a road junction at ~2200' elevation.
3) Sharply turn left onto the steep side-road, as it briefly heads southeast before switchbacking westward towards the Big Foot Hill summits. This side-road, which will be further referred to as the summit approach road, will travel between Point 2693 and the north summit hill.
NOTE: Several side-roads, including unmapped ones, originate between Point 2167 and Point 2693. The summit approach road is the only side-road that side-traverses westward along the northern slopes of Point 2693, rather than any road that traverses north, east, or south of Point 2693.
FOR NORTH SUMMIT:
Within 0.5 miles of passing Point 2693 to the south of the summit approach road, try locating the most feasible location to ascend north-northeast through steep forested slopes towards the northern summit contour. This is the quickest way to reach the north summit, and one of the summit approaches that has the least exposure to logging debris. A road also leads near the north summit contour, but it requires hiking further along the road adjacent to Point 2693 until reaching a road junction north of Point 3048, and then turning north, east, and then south to the north summit.
Looking At North Summit Contour
At North Summit...
FOR SOUTH SUMMIT:
Within 1.0 mile of passing Point 2693 to the south of the summit approach road, the road sharply bends southward to pass by the west side of Point 3048. Shortly after passing the southwestern side of Point 3048, a side-road on the left side of the road leads up towards the south summit contour.
Looking At South Summit Contour
At South Summit...
Sierra Pacific Industries (a local logging company) controls access to Road 4530 and Big Foot Hill. In general, non-motorized public access has been allowed but that access may be taken away at any time. It is recommended to contact the company in advance, to find out current conditions and access rules.
Due to active logging and service activities along the standard summit approach, it is most recommended to only make summit attempts during weekends and holidays, which is when logging and service operations tend to be at a minimum.
No camping is allowed on Big Foot Hill.