Hannegan Trail


Mt. Baker Highway, east of Glacier
Glacier , WA 98244


The rugged trail to Hannegan Pass parallels Ruth Creek for most of its 4 miles. Passing through open meadows and cool forests some of the slopes reveal the flattened shrubs and splintered trees caused by the many avalanches that scour this valley every year. Views open up to the south revealing cascading waterfalls on the sometimes vertical walls of the Nooksack Ridge, topped by Mt. Sefrit. Near the pass the pleasant meadows on the right were historically used for camping until recent years when food left by campers made bears overly aggressive.

Reaching the pass at over 5000 ft is an excellent place to enjoy the view of surrounding mountains and then return with enough time to complete a pleasant day hike. Depending on the season, conditions, and skills of the wilderness travelers, there are plenty of other options. To the left of the pass is a pleasant 1000 ft vertical scramble to Hannegan Peak. Over the pass and down into the next valley, Chilliwack Creek flows north into Canada passing the Boundary Camp (permit required) of the North Cascades National Park, and Hells Gorge. Cross-country scramblers may explore Copper Ridge, while long distance hikers prepared with permits, will make the 40 mile trek to Ross Lake. To the right of the pass is the white glaciered dome of Ruth Mountain. Backcountry skiers will carve the slopes in Spring while climbers with crampons will make the ascent later in the year.

The 5 ½ mile forest road (#32) to the trailhead provides other recreational opportunities. On the left side of the road you will pass a small bolted sport climbing area, an historic cabin, and the trailhead for Goat Mt. The fork to the right leads to a washed-out bridge that was the approach to the Nooksack Cirque. In the winter the lower sections of road are used for cross-country ski touring and are ideally located next to a snowpark. The low elevation of 2000 ft means that snow conditions must be just right but the highway drive to this point is relatively flat and snow-free.

As always, be aware that the beauty of the wilderness must be enjoyed with caution for the natural conditions that exist. Washed out trails, avalanches, bears, cougars, violent storms, and even pesky summer insects must always be considered.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 8/7/2000


State Highway 542 (Sunset Drive in Bellingham) go east, ½ mile past MP 46 (you’ll pass the Dept of Transp buildings on your left). Turn left onto Forest Road 32, pass the restrooms and continue 5 1/2 miles to road’s end.


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