Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Yellow Aster Butte - photos and map

Blue Lupine and a field full of other wildflowers

Last year about this time, my friend Mel and I climbed the spectacular Yellow Aster Butte in the North Cascades.  

It is rare to find a hike where just about every footstep is enjoyable, where the breathtaking views push you to keep on going so that you can fill your eyes and soul with the wonder of the mountains.  



The first (steepish) mile through the forest is over quickly, and you come out into a lush meadow.

Mount Baker with clouds

Mount Baker is only one of the encircling North Cascade mountains that loom huge on the horizon.


In August only one snowfield remained, easily crossed with running shoes and poles. 


The scenery grew ever more beautiful as we climbed higher and crested the ridge to peek down into the cirque of gem lakes below.


The South Summit of Yellow Aster Butte itself is a heather and blueberry covered round peak with a good trail to the top.

Yellow Aster Butte South Summit

The sweet, sweet, tiny wild blueberries are ripe at the end of summer.  I can spend a surprising amount of time grazing on them....best rest stop ever.

Mel picking wild blueberries

I have my eye set on Tomyhoi Peak so that I can return to the area and see more of the views. Tomyhoi is a bit more technical and I have heard that it is another very enjoyable destination.

Tomyhoi

Can't get enough of those flowers!  I love how the summer flowers are in full bloom at lower elevations, and slowly transition to the springtime flowers at higher elevations.


The well worn trail to the South summit becomes a less used boot track to access the Peak's higher and less frequently visited North Summit.  Click here to explore our gpx tracks & map in hillmap, and print a free topo map for your trip to Yellow Aster Butte.





P.S. The first time I went to this area I had no trouble finding the trailhead, but it took me a moment to realize it actually was the trailhead.  Parking really is at the hairpin bend in Twin Lakes Road.  There is a signboard and outhouse here.  Park on the shoulder.

From I-5, take the Mount Baker Highway #542 East for 46 miles, turn left at the DOT maintenance shed onto Twin Lakes Road.  The hairpin bend and trailhead are about 4.5 miles from the highway.

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