Drive east on State Route 20 to the Baker River Highway and beautiful Baker Lake. The area around this nine-mile reservoir features camping, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking and pack and saddle trips.
Developed campgrounds are located on the western side of the lake.
The Baker Lake Trail is an easy family hike. It extends along the eastern shoreline, crossing Baker River at the north end of the lake.
Mt. Baker National Recreation Area (NRA)
This impressive mountain landscape on the southeast flanks of Mt. Baker’s slopes offers year-round recreational fun. During summer months, hikers and stock parties share trails leading off from the end of Forest Service road 13 or through the Middle Fork and South Fork Nooksack River drainages. Winter recreation includes cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
Explore the Skagit Wild and Scenic River System
Segments of the Skagit, Sauk, Suiattle and Cascade rivers make up the federally designated Skagit Wild & Scenic River system.
Baker Lake Sockeye Season
Sockeye season could open as early as July and fishing enthusiasts will be flocking to Baker Lake.
Travel east on Interstate 90 to Snoqualmie Pass, where a multitude of recreational possibilities await you. Don't miss downhill skiing at Snoqualmie Pass. Hike for endless miles in the awe-inspiring Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Mountains to Sound Greenway
Drive Interstate 90 east from Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass, stopping along the way to fish for trout in the Snoqualmie River, or meander along the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail, a one-mile walk through stately old-growth fir and cedar. Leave the freeway at milepost 47 and drive the Denny Creek Road, following the historic wagon route used by early settlers to cross Snoqualmie Pass. Fourteen trailheads access more than a 100 miles of trails ranging in difficulty from "almost easy" to "punishing." Hike to scenic ridgetops or peaceful mountain lakes.
Allow time to walk along the Gold Creek Pond Interpretive Trail, where mountains are often reflected in the pond, providing great photo opportunities.
The Wilderness Experience
Snoqualmie Ranger District is responsible for the stewardship and preservation of the Clearwater Wilderness, portions of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the Norse Peak Wilderness. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy this wild landscape while preserving its integrity and beauty for future generations.
Linking Darrington with Granite Falls is the Mountain Loop National Scenic Byway, which was first pioneered in 1891 by miners` dreams. Later developed as a road by loggers and members of the CCC, this road was designated a Scenic Byway in 1991. Today`s roadway passes 55 miles through boom-and-bust town sites and abandoned claims, as well as rushing rivers and glacier-clad peaks. Although the tracks are gone and the daily whistle silenced, today`s traveler can still see remnants of times gone by.
Discover the Verlot Public Service Center, near the South Fork Stillaguamish River. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1942, Verlot`s handsome buildings reflect the architectural style and fine craftsmanship of that era and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Operating seasonally, the center`s employees will help you plan an outing.
With snow lingering at Barlow Pass through late spring, driving the entire loop is usually limited to late spring through the fall. The road is paved from Verlot to Barlow Pass and from Darrington to the junction with the White Chuck River Road. The middle portion (14 miles) is a single-lane gravel road.
Starting at the northern boundaries of the forest, take a drive on the Mt. Baker Scenic Byway (State Route 542). This paved road starts at the Interstate 5 interchange in Bellingham, Wash., winds along the scenic North Fork Nooksack River, and climbs to an elevation of 5,140 feet to its well-named destination, Artist Point. This area is legendary for its spectacular views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. Stop by the Glacier Public Service Center just east of Glacier at milepost 34 to learn about current forest road and trail conditions.
Mt. Baker - A State Scenic Highway and National Forest Scenic Byway
State Route 542 is a Washington State Scenic Highway and a National Forest Scenic Byway. The forest byway begins just east of the town of Glacier as the route enters the national forest, leading travelers to historic Heather Meadows, home of the Mt. Baker Ski Area. Forest roads lead off the main highway into the heart of the national forest with trails accessing the Mt. Baker Wilderness and North Cascades National Park backcountry..
Four Seasons of Recreation
During summer months, Mt. Baker's 10,781 foot snow-covered peak rises above the landscape. On a clear day, several vantage points offer spectacular views of neighboring Mt. Shuksan and surrounding slopes of the Cascade Mountain range. Hikers can head out on more than 200 miles of trails and campers can enjoy long evenings in rustic settings. The fall months bring cooler temperatures and lower snow levels, limiting hiking access to the high country. Several side roads are groomed, turning them into a winter playland for snowmobiles and cross-country skiers. During winter months the Mt. Baker Ski Area operates in Heather Meadows at the end of the byway. .
Heather and huckleberry meadows dotting the Heather Meadows landscape near the eastern end of the Mount Baker Scenic Byway, (State Route 542). Glistening lakes nestle between knolls. Ridges bristle with 900-year-old mountain hemlock. Lava flows from Mount Baker have resisted glacial carving and columns of basalt stand like black anvils against the sky. During the summer months enjoy a picnic, stroll the trails and stop by the Heather Meadows Visitor Center for a historical perspective of the area’s rich heritage..
Heather and huckleberry meadows dot the majestic landscape at Heather Meadows near the eastern end of the Mount Baker Scenic Byway, Washington State Route 542.
Glistening lakes nestle between knolls. Ridges bristle with 900-year-old mountain hemlock. Even the rocks catch the eye. Lava flows from Mount Baker have resisted glacial carving and columns of andesite stand like black anvils against the sky.
Interpretive signs along the Picture Lake, Fire and Ice and Artist Ridge Trails enhance the story behind this spectacular scenery.
The historical Heather Meadows Visitor Center exhibits offer a glimpse into the area’s colorful cultural history.
The center and area trails are open during the summer season after accumulated winter snows melt out.
During winter months snow-covered slopes offer opportunities for skiing and snowboarding at the popular Mt. Baker Ski Area located in Heather Meadows. Snow-covered trails outside of the ski area boundaries are not maintained or controlled for avalanches.
For information about accessible recreation opportunities in Pacific Northwest National Forests, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r6/accessiblerecreation
Traveling along Highway 2, enter the center of the forest along the Skykomish River, a rafting adventurers' dream.
Grab your skis! In just two hours you will be gliding down the slopes at Stevens Pass Ski Area. Check in at the Stevens Pass Historic District for an overview of the area's colorful railroad and mining past.
This challenging climb into the Necklace Valley rewards hearty hikers with cool alpine lakes named for precious gems that you can swim, fish or camp beside. The hike begins gently along the East Fork Foss River and enters Alpine Lakes Wilderness at 1.5 miles, traversing a beautiful, naturally-regenerated second growth forest that was logged by the railroads in the 1930s. The first five miles gain only 600 feet. Look for lowland forest wildflowers: trillium, calypso orchids and yellow violet. This pleasant stroll abruptly ends at the crossing of the East Fork Foss River at mile 5. Depending on the condition of the foot log and the amount of snowmelt in the river below, the crossing can be a little scary. Afterwards the hike becomes a steep, grueling climb, gaining 2,550 feet in 2.2 miles until you reach Jade Lake. Necklace Valley is a fragile sub-alpine valley with extensive meadows. Find campsites on the river at mile 5 and in Necklace Valley at Jade, Emerald, Ilswoot, Opal, Cloudy, Al, Locket and Jewel Lakes. At the camp there are still remnants of old mining equipment.
Protect the fragile meadows and vegetation by camping in sites already established. Campfires are prohibited in the Necklace Valley.