Baker River & East Baker Lake

This easy-moderate 13 mile day hike with 650 feet of elevation gain offers groves of old-growth giants, an imposing glacier-fed river, turquoise pools and views to rugged summits including Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. Combining two shorter trails that extend in different directions from the same trailhead, wanderers on this route will experience the best that the lowlands of Baker Lake and the Baker River have to offer.

getting there

Take Exit 230 off of I-5, drive east on SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) for 23 miles, and turn left (north) onto Baker Lake Road (between MP 82 and MP 83). Continue on Baker Lake Road for 26 miles—it becomes Forest Road 11 and the pavement ends after 23 miles—reaching the road end and trailhead (750 ft).

on the trail

This is a wonderful trail option for families and for getting out when higher country is snowbound. For the first half-mile, the Baker Lake Trail No. 610 and Baker River Trail No. 606 share the same path.  First explore 2.5 miles north along the Baker River with an easy amble among massive cedars and mossy rock gardens along the broad gravel lined glacier-fed river.  Climb a slope above the river to look down on quiet pools and tumbling water.  Alternately drop through deep forest to get your feet wet crossing small side channels, then climb again to view-full bluffs.  The Baker River trail ends at Sulphide Creek (900 ft).  

Then retrace your steps 2 miles to the junction with Baker Lake trail and head southeast, crossing the river on a 1990s suspension bridge and then on another stationery bridge, and traverse a huge washout from the November 2006 floods. Then follow the river, finally catching peeks at Mount Baker before climbing steeply to cross Hidden Creek on a high bridge, the creek tumbling down a rocky cut.   The trail continues through massive old growth, crossing several more creeks, before reaching the thickly forested shores of Baker Lake.  Enjoy the lakeshore at Noisy Creek Campground on a small peninsula in the lake at about 4.5 miles, grab some lunch while enjoying the Mount Baker views, and then head back.  

notes

  • For longer backpacking explorations or trips that start at the southern end of Baker Lake, se our Baker Lake route/place.
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 650 ft
  • 1,000 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX
Activities

Upcoming Activities

CHS 1 Hike - Baker River & East Baker Lake

Day Hiking Field trip: Conditioning Hiking Series
Hike along the NE side of Baker Lake to Noisy Creek campground. Rolling terrain on
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Sun, May 23, 2021
No Prerequisites
5 participants
Registration closes May 21
Seattle Branch

Basic Backpacking Field Trip - East Baker Lake

Backpacking Field trip: Basic Backpacking
This overnight field trip for the Basic Backpacking Course hikes along the Baker River and
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Mon, Jun 7, 2021 - Tue, Jun 8, 2021
No Prerequisites
1 participant 1 instructor
Registration closes Jun 5
Seattle Branch

Seattle Nomads Backpack - Baker River & East Baker Lake

Backpacking Youth activity: Nomads
Phase 3 trip for Nomads. Join us for a weekend of backpacking!
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Sat, Jun 12, 2021 - Sun, Jun 13, 2021
Prerequisites
1 participant 0 chaperones
Registration closes Jun 1
Seattle Branch
Tom Knee
Qualified Youth Leader

Backpacking Building Blocks Student-Only Backpack - Baker River & East Baker Lake

Backpacking Field trip: Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course
This field trip will give B3 students the opportunity to try out gear and new
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Fri, Jul 30, 2021 - Sat, Jul 31, 2021
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
1 participant on waitlist 0 instructors
Registration opens Jun 25; Instructor registration open now
Foothills Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Baker River
  • East Baker Lake
Resources

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