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Valscer
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PostThu Feb 27, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Hello all!

I was referred here by a friend and not sure how things really work so please forgive me if this isnít the right forum to ask this.
Iím looking to visit Seattle early April and the one hike that caught my attention is Chain Lakes Loop in Mt Baker National Forest, near North Cascade. However, I currently have a compact car reserved for rental, and Iím not sure if road conditions leading up to there will be icy or snowy in April. I know I can just get an all wheel drive vehicle but would be nice to save money if itís not necessary.

Can any avid hiker in that area let me know? Also will the snow cover the area completely and ruin the view?
Thanks!

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Kenny D.
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seawallrunner
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PostThu Feb 27, 2020 7:40 pm 
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Hi ! In April, there are meters of snow on the trail. Not only that, but you will have to park at the ski lodge parking lot, and snowshoe up to the start of the trail. Depending on avy conditions, it could be a very dangerous loop, or a nice loop around Table Mountain but expect meters of snow.

It's a very scenic area! You will be surrounded by majestic peaks - with Mt Baker visible on one side, and Mt Shuksan on another and a multitude of other peaks in the far distance. It's a beloved skiing, backcountry skiing, telemark skiing and snowshoeing area in the wintertime.

(but in winter, you need to have read the avy conditions before setting out, use avy gear, and *know* how to use it)

In April, everything is still under snow. It will take months before you see the lakes, or grass, or flowers.

Regarding the car, I've driven up with my compact to that area - whether to the Mt Baker Ski Area parking lot in winter or up to Austin Pass or Artist Point in the summer time. The key is winter tires in the winter time. The road is paved, it's two lanes (with occasional pullouts) it's a lovely drive.   dizzy.gif
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Backpackapalooza
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PostThu Feb 27, 2020 7:44 pm 
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There will probably be better responses to your question and specifically this hike but do know that that entire area will still be under 10-15 feet of snow in April. It will be a crap shoot whether there's a significant amount of new snow when you visit. Roads could be clear or it could snow a foot while you are there. If your heart is set on that hike then get an SUV/4 wheel drive vehicle. The road up to Artist Point is closed all winter and most likely wont be open until June or July.

You will need snowshoes for that hike most likely. here's the latest trip report from that area: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report-2020-02-10-6864752975
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kiliki
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PostFri Feb 28, 2020 3:17 pm 
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You always want to check road conditions on the WSDOT site or app. It's the Mt Baker Hwy 542 you are asking about. You'd probably want to ask the rental car company if their tires meet the WA state traction tire requirements.
https://www.wsdot.com/traffic/passes/passinformation.aspx#mt.bakerhwysr542link

As others have noted it's full-on winter up there. The skiing is generally very good in April in the Cascades. If you really have your heart set on doing this and you lack equipment and knowledge you might look to see if you can hire a guide service.
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Schroder
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PostFri Feb 28, 2020 4:31 pm 
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The ski area is operating until April 19th and it's been a good snow season with 184" currently on Pan Dome.  I wouldn't expect the road to Artist Point to be open before August this year unless we have extraordinary early summer conditions.
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