I want to thank the original owner of this page Scotteryx for putting up this excellent peak and putting some excellent pictures as well. Most literature will be from the original owner on this page.
Table Mountain is a year round easily accessible mountain due to it's proximity to the Mt Baker Ski Resort (www.mtbaker.us). In the wintertime, it's generally accessed by any backcountry skier that heads towards Artist Point or further to such destinations as Coleman Pinnacle or the Sholes Glacier. Although it is not the ascent path (most folks travel around the south side of Table, complete their tour, then descend the saddle between Table and Herman) it is generally a good place to find a stash since it sees little sun during the winter months.
In the summertime, the Artist Point parking lot is easily accessed and it is only a 1.0 mile one way trip (600' ft) up the steep southeast face. The trail switchbacks up through lava cliffs to the flat top of Table Mountain. It is steep and rugged, and not kid friendly. In fact part of the way up the trail you are literally doing a catwalk on the side of a cliff. You can continue across the top of the mountain and down the other side to hook up with the Chain Lakes trail. The plateau offers awesome view of Shuksan & Baker as well as the rest of the North Cascades.
This hike will supply ample marmots and pikas, perhaps grouse or ptarmigan and maybe even mountain goats on talused slopes covered with heather. The summer parking lot at Artist's Point is one of the highest places you can drive to in Western Washington at 5,100 feet. The parking lot is host to the dozens upon dozens of pictures that photographers take of Mt Shuksan each year.
Table Mountain resides in the Heather Meadows area, which received the world record for annual snowfall in 1998-1999 with 1,140 inches (95 Feet!). The snow was deep enough that the visitor center and trailheads remained buried through the summer and never opened in 1999.
Death Picnic (WI 5, 2 pitches).
From Seattle, WA: Take I-5 north to Bellingham. At Bellingham, take Exit 255 and head east on U.S. 542 (Mount Baker Highway) to Mount Baker.
From Vancouver, BC: Head south to the U.S./Canada border on I-5. Continue on I-5 to Bellingham, WA. At Bellingham take Exit 255 and head east on U.S. 542 (Mount Baker Highway) to Mount Baker.
The trailhead is located on the west side of the parking area. It is shared with the Chain Lakes and Ptarmigan Ridge Trailhead.
Green Trails: Mt. Shuksan #14
USGS: Shuksan Arm
Avalanches: Be very careful and do your homework. 1-6 people are killed every year in the baker Backcountry during the winter months.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required for each vehicle parked at the trailhead.
The Table Mountain Trail enters the Mt. Baker Wilderness. In keeping with wilderness regulations, party size is limited to 12. Leashed dogs are allowed in the National Forest in developed recreation areas, except on Table Mountain Trail 681 in Heather Meadows Area.
Ranger Contact: Glacier Public Service Center, Glacier, WA 360-599-2714
Camp at Artist Point during the Winter, a great place for snow cave practice.
Mt. Baker is primarily a day ski area as there are no on-slope accommodations. The closest lodging is roughly 20 miles away in the small town of Glacier. Overnight parking for self-contained RVs is permitted in designated areas only.
External LinksThe Feds: RE
This is Cool, A Virtual 360 View
Reference BooksTrail Guides for Table Mountain:
Pacific Northwest Hiking
by Ron C. Judd & Dan A. Nelson (Foghorn Press)
Day Hike North Cascades
by Mike McQuaide (Sasquatch Books)
Hiking the North Cascades
by Eric Molvar (Falcon Publishing Inc.)
The top is table-like because it reflects the original surface of the thick lava flow. The Table Mountain flow in particular is so thick that geologists think it must have flowed into a constraining canyon. in which the molten rock formed a lava lake. Because of the wild, crazy columnar joints that occur along the sides of Table Mountain, volcanologist Wes Hildreth suggests the flow may have been constrained by glacial ice! Other flows of about the same age underlie the ski area and make up parts of Ptarmigan Ridge, stretching off to the southwest. After these valley-filling lava flows solidified, streams and/or glaciers worked on the edges of the flows more efficiently than in the center and eventually left the remnants as ridge tops. Erosion produced this marvelous topographic inversion after the lavas erupted about 300,000 years ago. These are not Mount Baker lavas; they erupted from an older volcanic vent located somewhere near the northeast flank of the present Mount Baker cone.
Under the dark lavas of Table Mountain, and forming white cliffs above Swift Creek, are the older volcanic deposits of Kulshan Caldera. The edge of this large volcanic depression is more or less directly beneath the parking area. The caldera is, about 2.5 miles across. It formed and was filled with volcanic tuff (the rock formed from volcanic ash) about 1.1 million years ago, when the magma chamber beneath it erupted, and its roof collapsed. Similar volcanic calderas, such as the one filled by Crater Lake in Oregon, have produced huge volumes of ash in cataclysmic eruptions. Volcanologists have identified ash deposits from the Kulshan volcanic eruption as far away as southern Puget Sound. The caldera itself is filled with over 3,000 feet of rhyolite tuff from such an eruption.
From USGS Research Website