I normally write on hikes done in British Columbia however I have decided that once in awhile I will mention hikes that are outside the province that I think are extraordinary. Yellow Aster Butte is one such hike. Located in the Mount Baker range in Washington DC it is a relatively short and easy drive from Vancouver. The longest part is getting through the border depending on whether or not you get a nice border crossing agent.
I led a hike of a group of fifteen there last Saturday August 12th and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The hike is about four – five hours return depending on how long you stay on the Peak enjoying the surrounding views. It is not a hard trail but you will gain at least 2550 feet. Some of my hikers had a difficult time because of the elevation change. These mountains are much higher than Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains.
The first part of the trail you will be walking amongst trees loaded with Blackflies so be prepared with extra bug repellent, better yet a bug net of some sort. Once you get above the treeline the trail loops around to the north side where you get amazing views of Mount Baker and the surrounding mountains around Yellow Aster Butte. You also get views of the backside of Tomyhoi. We passed a neat little creek where I was able to stop and take a photo of a mountain off in the distance.
We took a few more breaks than usual as a couple of hikers were having problems with the difference in elevation. Our group became separated because of issues at the border but we met up with each other on the Peak. When I arrived, many of the hikers had been up there for over an hour or so basking in the sunshine. Prior to reaching the summit, I stopped and set up my tripod in order to capture the backside of Tomyhoi and the valley below. The sun was high in the sky (not ideal for photography) but there were some nice shadows which created a nice effect in the photos.
I then proceeded to the top of Yellow Aster and met up with the rest of the group and was treated to some stunning views of the mountains all around. Oh, I forgot to mention the wildflowers that we saw on our way up. They were in full bloom, stunning colors of purple and yellow. My plan is to try and do an overnight trip their next month as I heard that in mid to late September the trail is a sea of Red. This is one of the most beautiful hikes that I have ever done but I recommend a 4 x 4 if you have it, make sure you get your medical insurance and be extra safe on the trail. Search and Rescue will make you pay if they need to get you out.