Known locally as the primary access point for climbers looking to summit the Twin Sisters, Forest Service Road #38 also offers prime views of spectacular clear cuts. Nestled along the Middle Fork of the Nooksack, the road leads to trailheads for Ridley Creek and Elbow Lake, which access the country south of Mt. Baker. Unfortunately, access to these trails is limited from the #38 due to bridge washouts, which leaves the road itself to use mostly by the aforementioned climbers, weekend warriors engaged in target practice, and logging road aficionados like me.
The heavy logging (and mining, in some areas) lend the area a surreal sort of beauty, but all those clear cuts make for some glorious views of Baker and the Sisters and provide, on a bright blue spring day, a welcome dose of vitamin D after a rainy winter.
We took several walks there on successive weekends early last spring, which is when I shot the photos I include here. The #38 accesses private lands, and the last time we tried to go there was a sign on the gate indicating that this particular branch of the area was closed to recreational use. Because the area is so exposed, it’s not ideal for summer hiking and we haven’t been back again since, but we’ll check it out once things cool down again and we start feeling the need for more sun.
For driving directions (and brief background on issues relating to recreational access), see here.