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Swift Creek / Artist Point

Adventuring on the lands of the Nlaka'pamux and Nooksack people. 

Route Description:

Swift Creek & Artist Point are nice places to begin touring and great places to keep touring. With views of mountains like Shuksan and Kulshan backdropped by the hollers of pow chasers in the Mt. Baker Ski Area, you'll find skiing here is pretty much a right of passage. Plus, we all keep going there when the snow stacks up for chill laps in the trees. Which brings up a good point: check the forecast and mind your terrain selection. There's a lot of options in this zone, so you can keep it safe or get steep depending on what suits you.


The tour described here is a basic option that gives you the typical out and back used to access the area. Feel free to stack more laps or safely pursue your own line as you observe the area.


Beginning at the Bagley Lakes Trailhead, you'll head along the closed portion of Highway 542 until Terminal Lake. From here you'll head uphil heading south, southwest generally aiming for the higher portion of 542 from Terminal Lake. You'll keep heading southwest till you attain a nice bench from which you can see all the way out to Huntoon Point. From here, you now have the option of skiing into the Swift Creek drainage. Don't transition right away since you'll want to nudge up to the tree line in order to scope your lines down to the creek. Following the gpx track provided here give you a pretty standard line with a nice slope angle. Once you've decided your line, rip skins and enjoy!

At around 4,350' you'll find the natural end to your ski line. From here you can stop for a snack, put skins back on then climb back out of the drainage back to where you started your ski line. Once back at the bench, you have the option to lap your Swift Creek line, maybe nudging over to another lane, or you can head up to Artist Point. For this tour, let's head up to Artist Point.

You'll head south along the bench for a couple hundred meters then head up the gentle slopes to Artist Point. You might notice the 542 is under the snow providing a couple benches along the way. As you approach Artist Point, it begins to level out so it may not be worthwhile to continue all the way to the point unless you want some good views. For skiing, you'll have some easy skiing back down the slopes you just skinned up. This sets you up for more laps oran easy out by heading north then skiing out the way you entered.

Keep in mind, there are a lot of terrain options here. If you're looking for steeper skiing, you can certainly find it with cool loops to link up. Just be sure to check the NWAC report before heading out!


3.75 miles <distance>

Elevation, High Point.png

+/- 1,250 feet <vertical gain/loss>

5,000 feet <highest point>


December-April <best season>

none, unless overnight <permits>

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