about 5.5 mi rt
gain: ~2600 ft
I love this trail, I use it just about every year. The parking area is low enough that it can be reached early on and if you are comfortable with snow travel then you can get to the tarns below Yellow Aster Butte (and up the Butte if you so desire) way before the regular trail can be traveled.
This trail is the original trail to YAB and Tomyhoi, the current route was established back around 1999, there was a trip report on wta lamenting its closure This trail is kept open by rouge trail maintenance so it has some brushy places but is overall excellent…well, a good portion is under snow so I can’t really speak of how the upper portions of it survived last winter quite yet ( :
Parking is about 2.3 miles up the Twin Lakes road from Mt. Baker Hwy. It is easy to find, it is at the bend in the road that has a large clearing and often a car or two parked at it. Trail starts across the road and appears to be just an old brushy road because it is but about a quarter of a mile or so up it you take a sharp right and head up the hillside quickly entering the old trees where there is little undergrowth.
Just shy of a mile from the car there is what remains of the old wilderness boundary sign on a tree. When I first started using this trail the sign was still intact, now there are just pieces of it still attached.
The snow starts shortly after entering the wilderness and is consistent from there, it looks like it will be there awhile. The map is on some mapping programs, the other couple up there was using Backcountry Navigator, it is also on opencyclemap.org I have the trail from a previous summer visit on my handheld gpsr via switchbacks.com
The other couple that was up there was heading up to spend the night at the high point then they were traversing over to Welcome Pass and out, I was envious. Since they were younger and willing, I let them break trail and kick steps, this worked out GREAT for me!
Following near the trail we made our way up the hill to where it breaks out into the meadow, the views start here.
This is where the snow started getting sloppy and the snowshoes went on. The way up is through the meadow and slightly to the right. From there you take a sharp left and head up.
The final approach to the ridge was pretty steep, I used the steps kicked into the hill almost as a ladder on the way up and down. Once on the ridge it levels out and then it is just pick your own route. I went just a short way further then sat and enjoyed the day before heading back down.
Looking over at YAB it doesn’t appear as though anyone has made it up over the hump and there may be a fair amount of avy danger if the snow is unstable. The butte can be accessed via this trail and it looks doable if one is so inclined (ha!).
Great alpine day.