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.

driving directions

From Burlington (I-5, Exit 230), head east on the SR 20 (the North Cascades Highway) for 23 miles, and turn left (north) onto Baker Lake Road (between mileposts 82 and 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). Privy available.

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.  


  • For longer explorations consider backpacking along Baker Lake, 28 miles of rambling.
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 650 ft
  • 1,000 ft
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX

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