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The hike begins just at the base of Table Mountain accessed by the Artist Point Parking area at the terminus of Mount Baker Highway. Drop down through a small section of trees to find yourself on a rocky path along the ridgeline. In the distance, you can catch glimpses of the tip of Baker Lake, and the valley and foothills of Baker. The hillside here is rocky, with a thick layer of wild mountain huckleberry bushes which paint the ridgeline in autumn reds come late September. Listen carefully and you might hear ptarmigans or pika. During our first hike out on this trail, we saw a pair of ptarmigans right in front of us, cooing to one another as they waddled their way down the ridgeline. Pika are heard more than seen, their cheerful squeaks perfectly suited for their small rabbit-mouse like looks. The best advice for a sighting is to stand still for a moment and look in the rocks if one sounds close.
After continuing right on the Chain Lakes Trail, come to the most challenging part of the hike as you make your way down to the base of Table Mountain and the moraines along its edge. You'll reach a valley, covered in wildflowers, and the first of the chain lakes: Mazama. The smallest of the four lakes, the far side of Mazama lake is a great site for overnight backpacking. Wander through wildflower dotted streamlets and over a small ridge to the largest of the lakes, Iceberg Lake. Named for the glacier which forms along the Table Mountain moraine, even in September you can still spot a snow drift along the edge of lake's far side. Iceberg Lake offers plenty of picnic spots, as well as picture opportunities. In autumn, the red huckleberry bushes, green alpine firs and, blue-green of the glacial waters make for a panorama of beauty.
You can choose to turn around here after enjoying time at the lakes. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, keep going on the Chain Lakes trail along Herman Saddle before dropping down to Bagley Lakes, and completing the loop back to the Artist Point parking lot via the Wild Goose Trail.
Washington Trails Association (WTA):
US Forest Service: