What a beautiful hike!!! It helped that we had a perfect day to do it. This nice easy hike is just what the doctor ordered after doing a harder hike the day before. This trail can be done as a through hike to the East Bank Baker Lake trailhead or as an out and back to the Maple Grove campground. We did the out and back which is 8 miles round-trip. The through hike is about 14 miles.
Stats per WTA:
8 miles roundtrip, 500 feet gain, High point 1,000 feet.
Pass required: NW Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass)
This is trail starts at the south end of the East side of Baker Lake for more info and directions see: www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/baker-lake-maple-grove
In driving to the trailhead, check out the cool waterfall when going over the dam. Sorry, I did not get a picture, but it was very nice. Per WTA, this lake was created in 1959 when the Baker River was dammed. After the dam, the road is unpaved. The lower part was in good shape, the upper part had more potholes. There was one sedan at the parking lot, so you may not need an SUV to get there.
The trail starts in the forest. SOOOOO pretty! Very mossy, enormous old growth trees, streams everywhere most had bridges, those that didn’t were easily passable on the day we went. Mother nature at her best.
There were also a few flowers dotting the trail. My favorite spring flower, trillium dotted the trail here and there as well as some yellow lilies.
After the first forested area you will come along spots where you can see mountain views peaking between the trees. You will be up for a real treat with full mountain views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and surrounding peaks. I highly recommend doing this trail on a sunny day so you get these mountain views, but even in the rain the trail is beautiful.
You will eventually come across the first campground, Anderson Campground. I thought this was the nicer of the two campgrounds on this section of the trail. The camp spots were smaller and it had a camp toilet (not a vault toilet), the sites were out on a peninsula with awesome views of the mountains. All of the campsites on this trail had bear lockers so there is no need to hang your food. This would be a great first backpack. Take a brief stop here and continue down the trail to Maple Grove Campground.
On the way to Maple Grove enjoy more of the mossy forest, and mountain views peeking through the trees, and of course more creeks. There were a couple of blow-downs along the way, but nothing impassable.
Maple Grove campground is a larger campground. It has a vault toilet, fire rings, picnic tables and a vault toilet. The sites themselves are bigger than Anderson Point. It also has awesome views.
From here, you can either do the through hike or make this your turn-around point. Or spend the night. Happy Hiking!