North Cascades Photography – Baker River
The Baker River drains an area of 270 square miles in a complex of deep valleys partially inside North Cascades National Park.
Access is year-round via the Baker Lake Road. To get there travel east from Sedro-Woolley on Highway 20 about 15 miles. Baker Lake Road is well marked, its about 26 miles (20 paved, 6 gravel) from Highway 20 to the end of the road at the parking area for the Baker River Trail.
Baker River makes a great destination for anyone traveling along the Cascade Loop. There are great hikes, camping, boating and more along Baker Lake!
Along the way there are some wonderful views of Mt Baker.
At the end of the road there is a large parking area with rest rooms. You MUST have NW Forest Service Parking Pass to park there! You can buy one in Sedro-Woolley and sometimes at the gas stations along Highway 20, near the intersection with Baker Lake Rd.
Most of the trails in the North Cascades involve going up and down a lot. Seems like mostly up… But the Baker River Trail gently meanders its way along the river. There are some wonderful old-growth trees along the way.
About a quarter mile from the parking area there is a junction with the Baker Lake Trail. This trail crosses the big suspension bridge and heads back south, along the east side of Baker River and then Baker Lake.
The Baker River Trail continues alongside of the river. Here and there are a few spots where you can scramble down to the gravel bars.
Each year spring floods carve a new path. There is good camping, out in the open with views of Hagan Mtn and Ragged Ridge to the north.
Any season or weather is good for a hike here.
Fall can be spectacular along the Baker River. Often the side channels are filled with salmon.
I have camped on the gravel bars many times and have found that its a great place for night sky images. If you can manage to get both no moon and no clouds, the Baker River provides some wonderful south facing views. Here are a few.
If you’re interested in a guided photo tour of the North Cascades, here is the link: North Cascades Photo Tours