Friday, January 28, 2011

Yellow Aster Butte Trail, North Cascades National Park


The Yellow Aster Butte Trail, (pronounced be-yoot) is located far north close to the Washington-Canada border. This hike is famous for it's fall colors so naturally the parking lot was full of cars upon arrival the second day of October.


Despite the overwhelming amount of cars and having to park in a ditch half a mile from the trailhead, we didn't see too many people throughout the hike...probably due to the fact that we were either too fast for the slow people or too slow for the fast people.

About twenty minutes into the hike we realized both of us thought the other person had brought lunch...which was still sitting in the kitchen when we got home ten hours later. Lucky for us there were multitudes of Huckleberry bushes everywhere. Almost all of the red plants in the pictures are berry bushes.


The trail instantly zigzags straight up a mountain before entering a sparse forest. Pretty looking trees are everywhere at this point but hardly a reward after climbing a small mountain. The forest area ends as abruptly as it starts and transforms into this:


Mt. Baker is seen in the background with lunch seen in the foreground. By the end of the hike I never wanted to eat another berry again


This is the strangest wildflower I've ever seen


Continuing the ascent towards the end of the trail


More berries.


This plateau was carved out by glaciers that have since receded. This is 0.25 miles before the end of the hike. Not pictured is the 400 foot mountain still left to climb in that 0.25 miles to reach the end of the trail. The panoramic view from the top is well worth the effort and is pictured at the beginning of this post. The Yellow Aster Butte trail is 7.5 miles round trip and gains 2,550 feet with the peak being at 6,150 feet.