Located on the northwest side of Mount Baker, Heliotrope Ridge is a popular spot for hikers to view the Coleman Glacier and for climbers to start their summit attempt. The trail starts by crossing Grouse Creek on a single-log foot bridge and continues through thick forests before entering mountain meadows and glacial moraines. Be prepared to get your feet wet — stream crossings can be dangerous throughout the season.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Elevation gain: 1,400 feet
Round trip: 5 miles
Hiking time: 3 hours
Best times to hike: August through September
Family friendly: No
Dogs: Dogs are allowed.
Amenities: Two vault toilets at trailhead. A few campsites in the forest (with a box toilet) and several rocky campsites at end of climber’s trail.
Current conditions: High water makes stream crossings dangerous. Trail to viewpoint is clear of snow. Call Glacier Public Service Center at (360) 599- 2714.
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass required; $5 for the day or $30 for an annual pass.
Maps: Green Trails No. 13: Mount Baker; USGS: Groat Mountain
Getting there: Drive east on Highway 542 to the Glacier Public Service Center. One mile after the center, turn right onto Glacier Creek Road (Forest Service Road 39). Follow for 8 miles to trailhead. Drive time from Bellingham: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Parking: Park on left side of road.