From November to May? June? July? there is snow at Heather Meadows. And views! It’s a great place to go explore. While to go far, you need to pay attention to avalanche conditions and maybe be ready to side-step on some steeper slopes, there is plenty of area just past the parking lot to just look around.
The information in the map is presented for ‘general interest’. I do not have a lot of experience with touring up from the parking lot – this page is to just get you thinking about it!
The Forest Service has posted a set of 4 very informative videos to help orient you for a snowshoe trip: Snowshoe to Artist Point on Vimeo
If you drive up to the end of the Mt. Baker Highway (about mile 55), you will come to the Mt. Baker Downhill Ski Area. There is a large parking lot at the far side of the resort that is open to the general public. At the far end of the lot is access to snow! There is a rope barrier with a sign indicating the edge of the downhill ski area. Some people ski/snowshoe up the cat track to the left (inside of the ski area). You really shouldn’t do that. Downhill skiers (and snowcats) can come down this track and it is not open for uphill traffic. Go up to the right of the rope.
The green area on the map is where lots of people go to ‘play’ in the snow. Families sledding, throwing snowballs, messing around. There is parking available all around the loop. Never tried your skis in deep snow before? Come try it out.
The blue area is where I usually go with friends. By picking your route, you can stay to modest slopes and ski in and out of glades of trees and views of mountains. Follow other tracks or make your own.
The black areas have steep slopes and sometimes avalanche conditions. Note: a massive avalanche came off Mt. Herman, across Bagley Lakes (the flat valley that you see with lots of snowshoe tracks) and a little ways up the near side (2020-21). This web page is not where you should get your information about what is safe and not safe. People go down into the big valley (Bagley Lakes) that you can see from the parking lot. During some conditions, it is quite safe – other times, it can be the site of an avalanche run-out. Same for going up to Artists Point. Go with experienced people.
And finally, at the end of May, the opening leg of the Ski-to-Sea race is Nordic skiing. The 7 kilometer course starts and ends at the upper lodge and encompasses the general region. They groom a trail several weeks before the race to allow skiers to practice. It’s a great place to ski in May. Spring, 2021: Unfortunately, the Ski-to-Sea race has been cancelled for this season due to Covid and presumably no grooming will take place. But it’s still a great place to go play around in May and June!