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Excelsior Pass Trail

HARD 81 reviews
#4 of 26 trails in

Excelsior Pass Trail is a 8.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Maple Falls, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.4 miles Elevation Gain: 3,549 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Glacier: Travel east on Mt. Baker Hwy. 542 for approximately 7 miles. The parking area is located on the right hand side of the highway. The trailhead is on the left just across from the parking area.

hiking
muddy
rocky
19 days ago

This hike starts straight uphill and keeps climbing. Met fellow hikers at the top who took the Damfino Lakes trail to the same top out point that told us we took the hard way up. We took the hard way on purpose to train for the Half Dome Cables. Beautiful tree canopied trail. Stunning views of Canada and Mount Baker at top. Also, there is a bathroom at small parking lot just before the trailhead.

hiking
27 days ago

Steep, densely wooded trail. Great view, and access to, a rocky waterfall around 2 miles. Fantastic mushroom hunting.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was chosen because it was easily accessible from the road. Unfortunately it was more difficult and uneventful until the end. All uphill through the forest. But the views at the top were gorgeous. I just wish more of the trail wasn’t in the forest. It felt so long and monotonous. Took us about 4 1/2 hours and was about 9-10 miles.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Trail wasn’t too difficult, nice views once you leave the forest. It was cloudy today - I got lucky with some unique views of mount Baker. It’s worth it to go up to Excelsior Peak, only a few minutes from where the trail splits off at the meadow.

hiking
bugs
muddy
2 months ago

Such a gorgeous and difficult hike! Uphill switchbacks in forest for the first 4ish miles, and then it opens up to an amazing view. Hiking up to the peak as well made the round trip 9.5 miles. I will definitely do this hike again! The trail in the forest was muddy in places but not terrible, and still easy to cross. I didn’t have any trouble with bugs until I reached the peak where they started attacking me, but I didn’t have problems with bugs anywhere else. No snow at all.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail conditions were good, though a little muddy in places. Cloudy at the top, so no view for us today. it was pretty chilly at the summit with a few small patches of snow which didn't present any problem for us. Overall strenuous hike, great workout!

hiking
3 months ago

Super great hike! Not too challenging but definitely a good gradual incline the entire way up. We started at 1 and made it to the top of excelsior peak by 2:45. We had lunch and hung out for a while at the top. We were back at the parking lot at around 4:15. We only encountered 4 other hikers along the way. Overall a fantastic hike, great views at the top (unless it’s foggy/cloudy). Recommend going on a clear day and for those who want a nice workout!

hiking
4 months ago

Perfect trail for hiking in the sun. Plenty of tree cover most of the way. Ran into snow a mile from the meadows.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
4 months ago

I was a little surprised to discover the trail is closer to 10 miles from the parking lot round trip. I was hip high in snow at mile 4 hoping to be sneezing distance from the meadowlands at the top only to realize that I had almost a mile to go. It’s worth it but I really appreciate accurate distance information.

hiking
blowdown
snow
4 months ago

Was hoping for a scenic hike, but encountered a lot of snow at 3.5 miles, so we turned around. seems like about 500ft gain per half mile for 3 miles.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
snow
4 months ago

Great ... lots of snow on top

hiking
4 months ago

An easy grade makes for a quick ascent. Consolidated snow on the trail starting around 800 ft below the pass. I used micro spikes for a bit more traction. Great views, well worth the effort.

hiking
blowdown
snow
6 months ago

Started right before 9am at the Excelsior Pass Trailhead. As we were getting ready to start another car pulled in, but that was it. We didn’t see anyone on the way up until another couple with a dog caught up at about 3.5 miles in. Trail for the first 3.8 miles was visible and easy to follow- we used micro spikes. After that point the tracks literally just stop. We put on snowshoes at this point because we were majorly post-holing. We had to do some route finding up to the ridge/meadows area and after that we just kinda made up our way to the top of the pass and followed the ridge along the trees to the summit of Excelsior Peak. We were alone with fresh, untouched snow, for at least 45 minutes before we were joined by a group of two. Large cornices off the north side of the ridge so be aware. Lots of snowmobile tracks as this area is on the edge of a wilderness area. All in all a beautiful day with peaks further than your eyes could see. Views of Shuksan, Baker, Glacier, Canada, and Olympics- to name a few.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

March 12. Had to turn back a few miles because I realized it was longer than I expected, but running back down that trail was siiiiiick. I'll come back later. It'll be an all dayer...

7 months ago

Went up march 10, great snow path all the way up. Veers straight up near the top to avoid dumping out into the bowl so safe from avalanche danger. Need snowshoes at top...deep powder! Boots fine on trail and microspikes helpful coming down.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

10 months ago

Fantastic view at the top! There was so much to see that it was difficult to resist the urge to keep exploring.

11 months ago

Amazing hike! As others have said, snow on the trail very early on and got to knee deep at the top of the pass. We went on a clear sunny day and lucked out with gorgeous views. I wouldn’t go too much later in the season as I suspect the trail with be harder to follow with the snow cover-come prepared. Also a word of warning, the snow was falling off the trees in the undergrowth-so much so that we had our rain gear on for the first hour. So just be wary and bring rain gear.

hiking
11 months ago

Rained off and on with snow on trail about 4,000 ft. About 8" or so deep the last hour of hiking. Wished I'd had my boots and not trail runners. Beautiful hike! Rain cleared out and the clouds moving in and out made more some dramatic scenery.

hiking
Friday, October 12, 2018

We stopped at random and found this trail off the highway. We only hiked about 2 miles in and had to turn back due to time issues- but those 2 miles were filled with beautiful forest scenery.. something from a fairytale. Those 2 miles I would list as moderate hiking- note we didn’t hike the whole trail.

running
Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hiked/ran this trail for the first time on Sept. 29th. Trail wasn’t super crowded. We saw maybe 10 other people, a few on horses. No bugs today. The weather was a bit crisp, but the fall colors when we came out of the trees at the top were stunning! Nice view of Mt Baker as well. Lovely trail. Distance was pretty spot on with my gps watch. I’ll definitely do it again if I’m back in the area.

hiking
Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Great views from up top Bugs were pretty thick:)

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