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Locals’ Guide to Cross-Country Skiing Near Mount Baker

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The snowy mountains east of Glacier are the perfect landscape for a day on cross-country skis. Skip the Leavenworth crowds and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mount Baker’s recreational winter wonderland.

A Slice of History

Cross-country skiing was not always a sport. It first developed as a necessity. The idea was formed by different peoples around the world to accomplish the same goal: to travel quickly across snowy winter terrain. In ancient Norway, skiers guided themselves with a single pole. In eastern Siberia, skis were lined with fur for increased speed. No matter what they were made of or where they came from, skis had the same purpose: chasing game, collecting firewood, and commuting between villages in the snow.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that people skied for sport. Members of the Norwegian army raced for prizes in a combination of cross-country and downhill skiing. The Olympics introduced the sport in 1924 with the cold northern European countries dominating the score boards.

How to Have a Great Cross-Country Ski Adventure Near Mount Baker

Be Prepared

Safety first! Pack water, ample food with plenty of carbs and protein, and bring an extra set of warm, dry clothes. Let someone know your destination and how long you expect to be gone. Check the weather before heading out, and don’t forget to protect your skin and eyes!

Choose a Destination

There is a gorgeous web of trails just north of Mount Baker. The longest is Razor Hone, an easy 3 mile journey along the North Fork Nooksack River. The trail interconnects with the Cougar Loop, the most difficult cross-country ski trail in the area.


Close to the Mt. Baker ski area, White Salmon Road is a brisk 2-mile trip along mountainous terrain, opening to awe-striking views of Mt. Shuksan. At a higher elevation than Razor Hone, White Salmon tends often has snow when the lower areas are lacking. Keep up with the trail-grooming updates for live info and recommendations.

Grab a Snack

Graham’s Grocery and Restaurant in Glacier is the traditional stop on the way to Mt. Baker, located in the center of Glacier, WA. The grocery offers a variety of grocery items, while the restaurant serves comfort foods and local brews in a charming atmosphere. For something quick, grab something to go at the Maple Fuels Wash-a-ton as you pass through Maple Falls. The Wake n Bakery is renowned for its delicious pastries, coffee, and sandwich wraps.

Rent skis on the way out at Glacier Ski Shop, or pick them up ahead of time at Yeager’s Sporting Goods. Both shops offer full season rentals, perfect for growing skiers who may need a bigger set next year, or for people who are starting out and not ready to commit to their own pair of skis.

Get Some Rest

A day in the snow leaves a person wanting rest after a satisfying workout amidst unparalleled beauty. Come back to civilization, perhaps gather for conversation and connection around the firepit, and relax on a luxurious, cozy bed at The Heliotrope Hotel.

To explore more snow sports in the Mount Baker area, read our local snowshoeing guide.

Dylan Green