Each summer, we spend a few weeks in the Pacific Northwest, in a trailer near the Mt. Baker-Snoqualamie Forest. If you are reading this site, you most likely live in Los Angeles and are wondering why I would post about Washington. This area is my absolute favorite place in the world and I want to share a piece with you (that, and I haven’t found any good hiking blogs for this area, so I might as well start one and add to it each year!). For those outdoorsy types who haven’t been to northwest Washington State, put it on your bucket list for the summer months and you won’t be disappointed. It is a hiker’s, backpacker’s and camper’s paradise as there are multitudes of trails, forest roads, and snow-covered peaks to explore. All there for the taking – just pack it in and pack it out (and of course…do your research on the area as the snow levels vary each year). The first thing you need to do when you get here is breathe. Really breathe it all in – crisp, clean, refreshing air that you will NEVER experience in Los Angeles. It is truly rejuvenating. For less than $100 flight on Allegiant to the small city of Bellingham, it is worth an impromptu trip on a long weekend. It’s a small world folks, so get out an explore it!
While this wouldn’t necessarily be a hike I would choose if I were coming from out of town, this is a great local’s hike that is good for almost all seasons due to its low elevation.
Official Website: Baker Lake Trail
Location: From the Mt. Baker Ranger District office in Sedro-Woolley, WA follow State Route 20 east for 16 miles to milepost 82. Turn left (north) on the Baker Lake Highway (Forest Service Road 11). Continue for 14 miles to the Baker Dam Road and turn right. Drive past the Puget Sound Energy Kulshan Campground and across the Upper Baker Dam. Snap a photo of the dam, then after crossing the dam, turn left on FS Road 1107. Follow road 1107 for 1 mile and look for the trailhead and parking area on the left side of the road.
Kid Friendly? This is a wonderfully family-friendly hike with well-groomed medium-width paths and an elevation gain of only about 400′.
Fido Friendly? Dogs allowed on leash.
Cost: Forest Pass Required to park at trailhead.
Trailhead Features: Parking lot with ample spaces, a permanent vault toilet, a well marked trailhead, and sign-in log for those hiking and camping along the trail.
The Trail: This trail is a medium-width, well groomed and well maintained trail sidehilling the mountain and overlooking in peek-a-view fashion Baker Lake (about 400′ below). The trail meanders around the hill, under moss-covered trees and over bridges that lead the way over the many waterfalls streaming towards the lake. The looming Douglas Firs represent new growth from 1843, when Mt. Baker erupted and wiped out the cedar and other forest trees that once stood proud. The trail extends 14 miles one way and offers many camping opportunities for the avid hiker/backpacker. For a shorter hike (1.7 miles in), stop at Anderson Creek (which on the day we went, was more like a ragin river crashing into the lake below). The bridge to the other side was being repaired due to a torrential winter, so this was our stopping point, and a wonderful place to dip our feet in the lake, and also enjoy a snack and a laugh as our dog was taunted by a ground squirrel. She also fell off a low lying log into a shallow part of the lake, which was good for another giggle or two.
Out-of-Shapers Difficulty Rating: Walk in the Park “Plus” – This is an easy hike, but there is a 400′ elevation gain/loss. There are a few areas where the trail is narrow from landslides…just hug the mountain and you’ll be okay.
At the trailhead there is ample parking, a map and history of the area, and a permanent vault toilet.
Along the trail…
The Nut’s photo ops…
Anderson Creek – 1.7 miles. This was our stop for the day as the bridge was washed out. Enjoy a snack, a fishing opportunity, or even a swim in the frigid water, then head back or continue on your way. Other, more adventurous folks, scaled the fallen logs and continued their journey around the lake toward Baker River Trail (offering up to 14 more miles of beauty and wildnerness).