Viewing Mount Baker

Mt. Baker represents the opposite of the Olympic Rain Shadow in many regards, with its exceedingly wet climate and high elevations. Geographically it is located approximately 75 miles from the center of the shadow in Sequim, and 40-50 miles from locations on Whidbey and in the San Juan Islands. Moderate elevation locations (<1,000 feet) in this region receive 60-100 inches of precipitation per year, a factor of up to six times rain shadow figures; the number of sunny days, or for that matter sunny hours, has not been measured, but speaking from personal experience, it is not large!

Ironically, some of the best places to view or photograph this majestic mountain are located in the rain shadow. There are several reasons for this. From rain shadow areas, typically Baker is seen across a body of water, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Rosario Strait, Sartoga Passage, etc. This allows one to appreciate the full relief of the 10,781 foot massif, and the mountain often appears to rise right out of the sea.

Ironically, the closer you get to the mountain, often the harder it is to see. The mountain is ringed by smaller peaks in the 4,000 -6,000 ft range and these typically block many of the views of the mountain. Furthermore, low clouds and fog may obscure all views from areas close to the mountain, while the summit is visible from a distance. There are of course some exceptions, for example the views from Artist Point, Skyline Divide, and parts of Baker Lake can be exceptional.

The first photo taken from Deming, illustrates how hard it is to appreciate Baker when you are relatively close to it, for example in Bellingham or other settled areas close to the mountain.

The next photo shows Baker rising from the waters of Juan de Fuca near Sequim.

The final photograph shows the remarkable detail one can see and photograph (with a little help from advanced optics) from rain shadow areas. (Photo taken from Dungeness Spit).

If you have a favorite photo you would like to share, upload it to the photo gallery, or feel free to send it to me ( and I will post it.

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