It's rare in life to get rewarded for very little effort, but the Bagley Lakes trail does just that. When recently camping with friends just 30 minutes from the recently plowed and open road to Artist Point, we couldn't resist the call of nearby Mt Baker. Along with a small crowd of other cars, we drove to the end of the road to explore the still snow covered Artist Point. Most of the crowd was content to park, play around in the snow, snap a few photos, then turn around and leave. We, however, also made a stop a little lower at the Bagley Lakes trailhead to stretch our legs on a short hike. While Artist Point was still heavily blanketed in snow, here there was more trail than snow - just barely. The three of us had visited once before, as part of a larger group during my bachelorette party two years ago. I've always loved returning to trails a different times of year to see the the dramatic changes the season make to familiar landscapes.
On this trip, conditions were much snowier than our previous visit which made the hike a bit more of an adventure. There were several spots where we were crossing snow bridges that looked far too delicate to support our weight, but the snow wasn't deep and the trail was flat enough that the worst case scenario was getting our feet cold and wet. From the trailhead, we took the Chain Lakes side of the loop to start, which is a bit rougher than the nearly flat Bagley Lakes trail on the western side of the lakes, which meant a little more climbing, and slipping on the snow, to start. After a leisurely lunch perched on an enormous boulder, we continued around the loop. We quickly reached the scenic old stone bridge, where we stopped for plenty of photos. With just the flat, easy walk along the Bagley Lakes trail, we were back at the car in almost no time and headed back to relax at our campsite on the Nooksack River.
This is a great trail for kids, or friends and family that don't consider themselves hikers. If you really want to take it easy on this trail, stick to the western side of the lakes, but otherwise hiking it as a loop is wonderful. Either way, you're guaranteed gorgeous views!