Sauk Mountain: Hike offers wildflowers, scenic views

Elevation gain: 1,200 feet.

Round trip: 4.2 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Best times to hike: July to October.

Current conditions: Clear.

Highlights: Wildflowers galore, one of the best views in the Cascades for the least effort. On a clear day, the nearly 360-degree views encompass the Twin Sisters, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and the Picket range, as well as the Olympic Mountains, the San Juans and Mount Rainier.

Maps: Green Trails No. 46 Lake Shannon, Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park Complex.

Getting there: Take Highway 20 east from Sedro-Woolley. About six miles east of Concrete, just before Rockport State Park, take a left on Sauk Mountain Road. Follow the steep, winding road 8 miles to the trailhead.

Thirty-two gentle switchbacks lead hikers through the meadows on the southwest face of Sauk Mountain. A signed trail leads down to Sauk Lake.

Proceeding to the summit, head northwest, traversing Sauk's east side. Just below the rocky summit, the trail heads toward the west side for the final few steps to the top.

Source: "Don't Waste Your Time in the North Cascades," by Kathy and Craig Copeland, Wilderness Press.