Scenic USA - Washington

Mount Baker

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Mount Baker - Washington

Photo by Jim Stiles
Jim Stiles Photography

     One of the tallest peaks in Washington State, Mount Baker's craggy ridges are softened by a perennial coating of ice and snow. Located in one of the snowiest places on Earth, Mount Baker holds the record of total snowfall. Receiving 1140 inches (2900cm) in a single season, Mount Baker's snow and ice fields add up to more than all the other Cascade Mountains, excluding Mount Rainier.
     Named for British explorer George Vancouver's third lieutenant Joseph Baker, Mount Baker is one of the most conspicuous mountains in the Cascade Range. Standing about 80 miles from the heart of Seattle, the enormous mountain is easily seen from just about anywhere on the Puget Sound. Dated as the youngest mountain of the Cascades, Mount Baker is thought to be less than 100,000 years old. Second most active volcano to Mount Saint Helens, Mount Baker is made up of lava and volcanic breccias. The ice-filled Carmelo Crater lies under the summit's ice dome and is most likely the last source of lava flows. Just southeast of Carmelo Rim is the mountain's high point, called Grant Peak. A series of eruptions are recorded in the geological record. Dating back 6600 years, ash was scattered over 40 miles from the vent in Sherman Crater. The latest activity was a steam plume rising from the Sherman Crater in 1999.
     This majestic peak lies in one of the most visited national forests in the country. Mount Baker Scenic Byway passes through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and leads to splendid mountain viewpoints as well as countless recreational possibilities. For winter sports enthusiasts, you can guess that Mount Baker is the place to be.

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