DISTANCE
17.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,669 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
3 months ago

7/18/18-7/19/18: I hiked up Welcome Pass late on the 18th, camping about halfway up, then continued on the High Divide Trail along the ridge. The views along the High Divide Trail are incredible, and I can only imagine how much better they would have been on a clearer day. I continued on to the Damfino Lakes Trail, reaching the little cabin at the end, resting for a bit, then making my way back along the same route. It ended up being about 1.5 miles the first day and 20+ miles the second, which was fairly tough.

The ascent up Welcome Pass was brutal and felt a lot longer than the 2.3 miles it really was. Once I reached the ridge, however, it was all worth it. The views were incredible when I could get them, but the majority of my hike was spent within a cloudy mist. The whole High Divide Trail has numerous snowfields of varying sizes which were easy to cross with trekking poles and boots. I’d imagine that the majority of the snow will be gone within a few weeks. The snowmelt has created some nice lakes and streams to collect water from along the trail. There’s a lot of contouring on the trail and some really beautiful views of Mount Baker and the surrounding valleys and mountains. There are a few dangerous sections a few miles (westbound) into the High Divide Trail that are narrow and cross rocky slopes that have partially collapsed and look liable to continue, but I passed them unscathed with a bit of caution. Damfino Lakes Trail has a lot of debris and fallen trees from the winter months that haven’t been cleared, likely because the access road to the trail is closed right now and has been since late September of last year, as I gathered from the broken trail register’s water-damaged log sheets. A lovely and challenging hike for a single day!

At present, the “directions” button for this hike will take you to the closed service road and you will have to turn around because the trailhead is another 9 miles past the closure. This may change in time, but for the short-term, follow the written directions instead, which are correct. The map of this trail is also not quite correct, as it includes Damfino Lakes and High Divide, but not the ascent/descent of Welcome Pass itself, which (at least at the time of posting this review) begins at the eastern terminus of the route on the map here. There is also an excellent and again quite steep hill to the right of the junction between High Divide and Welcome Pass that is unnamed. It is worth the climb! With all three trails combined, my round-trip was roughly 22 miles. It’s all excellent and very worthwhile!