3.7 mi rt Yes, you read that right…all of this in just 3.7 mi round trip, you should go.
gain: 1268 ft
Miranda and I
gpx tracks, use at your own risk: Church Lake
This short hike has been on my list for quite awhile. I tried for it earlier this year, well I tried for the trailhead when I was just allowed to start driving again, but snow turned me around a few miles before the trailhead. There is quite the drive to get here but boy, is it worth it!
Church lake is a beautiful blue subalpine lake. This area is popular with snow mobilers during the winter. To get to the trail, you will need to drive out Mt Baker Hwy to Canyon Creek Rd (just past Glacier). Drive up the CCR to the first major split where you can keep going up to the parking for Damfino Lakes or you can go right onto forest service road 3160. You will be following that rough road (high clearance vehicle recommended, trucks or SUV’s though a Suby would probably be fine because it seems I see them everywhere) about 4.4 miles to it’s end, just keep following the main road. Parking is at N 48° 57.400 W 121° 51.149
The trail is easy to follow since some motorcycles have decided to help define in ) : Oh well, they need somewhere to play as well and this is National Forest not Wilderness so they can come play too. In a short 0.6 mi you will come up over a hill and be at the lake.
There are camping spots at the lake and I imagine this would be an excellent place to hang out for the night. After you enjoy the lake, continue on around and then start going up, I did! I found that the rough trails are easy to follow and the views get better as you go.
Once through the meadows we started up the ridge, you can just start to see the shoulder in the picture above. It gets a little steep here but nothing scary. We just kept going up until we came over the ridge onto the high point and WOW! what views!
Once at the top we decided to drop down to the snow and tarns below Bearpaw proper. We did not go up the mountain because Miranda does not scramble very well.
After cooling off and getting some water we headed back up then over the ridge. This time instead of following the trail back down we went straight down the chute back to the lake where Miranda climbed in and I soaked my feet for a good while in the cold water. What a great day and what a great spot!