I wanted to go back to Baker Lake to check out the north end. My friend Jerry and I decided to brave the rain and set out on this trail at the end of April. The trail is similar to the other side, a lot of huge trees, creeks and moss. I was sad to miss the mountain views on this particular outing but it was good to be outside.
Here are the stats for the north side of Baker Lake per WTA:
9 miles roundtrip, 500 feet gain, high point 1,000 feet.
Pass required: NW forest pass or America the Beautiful Pass
I believe the gain listed is net gain. This trail has a lot of ups and downs all short, but they add up. This side of the trail did have more switchbacks than the south side.
For driving directions and more trail information go to wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/baker-lake
The road is paved until the last 6 miles. The dirt section was okay in the first portion, then had several potholes as you near the trailhead. Again, there were some cars with lower clearance, so you can make it with care.
The trail begins along Baker river on a wide dirt trail. Enjoy some of the big trees around you as you approach a suspension bridge that crosses the river. I was thinking this bridge was going to be much more exciting than it was. It was very sturdy and wide and not too bouncy, piece of cake.
After crossing this bridge, the path crosses another creek which used to be an old river channel (Blum Creek), on the first of many other bridges. As you go up the trail, check out the cool mossy boulders in the next section.
The next cool bridge is at Hidden Creek, it is built in a zig-zag across this beautiful waterfall.
There were two stream crossings that did not have bridges that were a little tricky. The water was slightly high and the rocks are slippery. Poles are recommended for these crossings. Take your time and watch your footing and you should be fine. (Sorry for the water dots on some of the pictures from here on out… darn rain!)
There are several old growth trees along this trail, don’t forget to stop and pay them some respect. Give them a hug if so inclined.
On a sunny day, you will start to see mountain views peaking through the trees as you hike along the shoreline. We didn’t have these views on our soggy outing, but we did enjoy the mossy forest. There were also some trillium dotting the trail along with bleeding heart, yellow violets and salmonberry. We even caught sight of a Rufus humming bird along the trail.
At 4.2 miles you will come to a signed intersection you can head up Noisy Creek in search of a large fir tree named “Big Doug”, continue down the trail as a through hike, or go to the Noisy Creek campground for lunch…and a potential mountain view. We had lunch at the campground and then went in search of Big Doug. The trail up to this old fir tree is pretty steep and with wet conditions we gave up…little did we know we were almost there.
Noisy creek campsite was another nice spot, big sites, picnic tables, bear lockers and an alfresco camping toilet. There is one more camp site between Noisy Creek and Maple Grove that I am told is pretty nice. I would love to try this as an easy backpack.
On the way back a couple of the mountains were trying to peek behind the clouds, but no full views on this day…an excuse to come back.