Ptarmigan Ridge Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 1,529' 466 m
Descent: -1,529' -466 m
High: 6,117' 1,865 m
Low: 5,030' 1,533 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)
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“Jaw-dropping views of Mt. Baker and spectacular views of Mt. Shuksan on this ridge trail with perennial snowfields.”— Anne Travels
Turn left and descend at an alarming rate along the side of the ridge with ever more spectacular views of Mt. Baker. This section contains some of the most spectacular views of Baker in the region - nothing but a valley and a ridgeline separates the hiker from the volcano. This section of trail is also lovely, with brilliantly colored moss and wildflowers in season along with tiny rivulets and small streams.
About 2 miles from the trailhead - dependent on the time of year, snowmelt, etc. - scramble up the permanent snowfield to a saddle in the ridgeline, trading the views of Mt. Baker for spectacular views toward Mt. Shuksan. Follow the trail as it continues up and then along the side of the ridge, first through heather and huckleberry bushes and then along the exposed rocky side of the ridge. A mile beyond the saddle, arrive at viewpoint of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. This is an excellent place to turn around for a 7-mile hike.
Continuing along the side of the ridge, the trail rounds Coleman Pinnacle about a mile later. Views here are jaw-dropping of Mt. Baker, with nothing but a valley between the hiker and the big mountain. The glaciers are especially spectacular, along with an occasional waterfall. Hikers can turn around here or continue through meadows and low trees to a meadow a half mile later or continue even further with more spectacular views of Mt. Baker and surrounding scenery.
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