One of the finer roads in the northwest just happens to be approximately 2 hours north of Seattle; highway 542 to Artist Point.
Perched above the Mt. Baker Ski Area, Artist Point is normally cleared of snow around July 1st, allowing people in any vehicle type to reach the top. However, the best way to get up there is by bicycle. Ideally, a weekday would be the best time to go, but its not too bad on the weekends. The traffic will normally pass you in groups, allowing you to relax a bit after they pass by.
The best way to experience the trip is to make your way to highway 542 and park at the Glacier Public Service Center. Day parking is $5 unless you have a Discover Pass, plus there is also a clean bathroom.
Make your way out of the parking lot and head right to begin the 23 mile route. You will get some rolling but steady climbing for the first 14 miles and then a steady 6% climb for the majority of the ride. It will sometimes kick up a bit higher but its a very smooth climb. The roads are near perfect all the way up with spectacular views of Mt Shuksan and the valleys below.
#proTip – Remember to bring enough water for the entire trip and pack something warm for the descent.
Words & Photos by Mark Longman