From Bellingham, Washington, drive east on State Route 542 up to 59.00 miles/95.00 km to the highway's end and choose one of three parking lots in the last 4.00 miles/6.40 km, depending on the desired trailhead
The Bagley Lakes lot at 55.00 miles/88.50 km accesses the the Bagley Lakes Trail
The Austin Pass lot at 56.00 miles/90.00 km accesses the lower Wild Goose trailhead
The Artist Point lot at 59.00 miles/95.00 accesses the upper Wild Goose trailhead and Chain Lakes Loop
A 360-degree panorama radiates from Table Mountain, encompassing Mt. Baker, Mount Shuksan, Mount Herman, and the crinkled landscape of surrounding ridges and valleys. In contrast to its rugged neighboring peaks, Table Mountain is a flat-topped, roughly L-shaped massif thought to be the remains of a lava lake. Curious patterns in its stone attest to its formation from a molten state. The Chain Lakes Loop trail circles the mountain, with a short side trail up to its prominent eastern pinnacle. The 2.00-mile/3.20-km loop trail around Bagley Lakes may be hiked separately or as part of the overall loop, extending its round-trip distance to approximately 8.00 miles/12.90 km. Consistent with its name, the loop trail links a series of lakes (sometimes called the Galena Chain Lakes) strung around the foundations of Table Mountain’s imposing walls, with either Mt. Baker or Mount Shuksan — or both — nearly always in sight.
The loop trail can be hiked from either Austin Pass or Artist Point, both of which provide ample parking and are linked by the steep, Wild Goose portion of the trail. (The Wild Goose Trail can be difficult to discern in places, especially where it is intersected by Highway 542 and many crisscrossing footpaths. When uncertain, look for mortared stone cairns marked with blue and white badges depicting a goose in flight to guide the way.) This profile begins at Austin Pass and proceeds clockwise up the Wild Goose Trail, taking a side jaunt to Table Mountain’s topside. The easily accessed loop trail is not as heavily trafficked as one might expect from the crowded parking lot and footpaths around Artist Point, which afford stunning views in their own right; nevertheless, one will periodically encounter other hikers and campers along the way. The steep and potentially vertigo-inducing side trail to the top of Table Mountain is even less travelled. However you choose to enjoy this unique mosaic of trails, peaks, and lakes, there will be no shortage of views.