Red Mountain (Sumas, WA)

May 26, 2022


Sumas, WA

There are a zillion peaks named “Red Mountain” in English-speaking countries and most of them are not-so-great peaks and this one is no exception. Despite the name being official this peak is a rather dumpster-dive in the vicinity of Sumas and Deming at the start of Mt. Baker Highway. One could drive to the summit but the gate at the bottom of the logging road is usually locked. If the gate is locked one has to walk or bike several miles with almost 500 m elevation gain to reach the summit. This peak does boast over 400 m prominence and because of the logging clear-cuts the view isn’t non-existing, so there’s overall one or two things that attract peak-baggers from time to time.

I made a spontaneous decision to grab this peak as a before-work exercise on bike. I was only keen on a small peak with minimal effort as I was still feeling tired after the Fire Spires trip. The weather was too nice to waste the morning by staying home. I had already caught up with the trip reports so there’s literally nothing left to do. I woke up at 5:45 am feeling demotivated but since I had already made the plan I must commit, so I dragged myself up. I booked a ramen breakfast at home before starting the drive. The border crossing was easy and I made to the start of the logging road in just over an hour. The gate was unlocked but I still opted to park at the gate as I came here for some exercise.

Red Mountain via roads from the south. GPX DL

The road’s grade was actually quite pleasant for pedalling. I only needed to get off the bike a couple times but mostly to catch up the breathe. If I were properly warmed up I could have ridden all the way up to the last spur. I also took several breaks to take some pictures as there’s actually some views looking back towards Mt. Baker. The junctions were a bit confusing. I took two wrong turns but quickly realized those mistakes. I then had to consult with the satellite images several times to make sure I stayed on track. The final spur road was steep and rough and the road extends all the way to within 10 m from the true summit. The true summit was then tagged by a short bushwhack.

The gate was surprisingly open but I still decided to bike instead of drive
Not far from the start of the ride, looking back
The forecast was 0% precipitation but 100% clouds, which was kinda correct
The views were opening up towards south as I rode higher
I took the first wrong turn here. Realized within 1 minute
The road was actually in some great conditions for driving.
Onto the final spur now, looking back towards Sumas Mountain
Another view towards Mt. Baker
My bike parked 10 meters away from the true summit
Me on the summit of Red Mountain

Not wasting much time I quickly descended to the bike and rode the hell out of here. I only stopped one time during the descent for a couple photos. My round trip time was under 1.5 hours. It was then an hour’s drive back home but unfortunately at the border crossing back into Canada I got “randomly selected” for COVID testing. I do believe their system is random at this point as I literally only spent a couple hours in US travelling solo so there’s zero chance for me to catch COVID in this trip. What a dumb ass system but whatever. This was not my first time doing that so the registration process wouldn’t take that much time anyway.

There’s actually mountain biking or hiking trails extending beyond the top
The only photo I took on the descent..
It’s a very fast ride back to the trusty Taco