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Baker Lake I

Backcountry Response Team

Tue May 18, 2021 8:30 AM — Fri May 21, 2021 3:30 PM

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Region

North Cascades — Mount Baker Area

Features: Earn Northwest Forest Pass

Crew Leader: Meg Bushnell

A Baker Lake BCRT crew stands lakeshore at sunset. Photo by journeycake.

Overview

Join WTA for four days as we work on improving the popular Baker Lake Trail. Wake to the sounds of loons on the lake and views of pristine Mount Baker from the Noisy Creek Campground. A boat trip to camp means you can bring a few extra things to make camp comfy.

About the Area

Because of its low elevation and level grade, the Baker Lake Trail makes a wonderful hike year round. Stands of giant old-growth timber are a highlight along this trail, which begins in a majestic stand of Douglas-fir that grew up following an 1843 forest fire caused by a small eruption of Mount Baker.


The trail contours above the eastern shoreline of Baker Lake for 14.5 miles, offering glimpses of Mount Baker with the lake in the foreground.

What to Expect

We'll have fun, work hard and make a difference!

Project Description

The Baker Lake trail is popular and needs a variety of maintenance to keep it welcoming to hikers. We may prune back overgrown vegetation, rebuild or repair impacted wooden walkways, or dig new paths for water to flow off the trail.


We may also restore the tread. This involves digging the trail surface to the proper width and slope as well as removing organic material or protruding rocks and roots.

Camping and Hiking Information

  • Type: Backcountry base camp
  • Location: Noisy Creek Camp
  • Weather: Be prepared for variable conditions including heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Other: Camp facilities include pit toilets and bear boxes. While there is plenty of room for the crew, we will try and save some space for passing hikers to camp as well
  • Since we will be boating across the lake, a few extra amenities can be brought along like a folding chair or small ice chest.
  • Initial hike to camp: We are getting boated across the lake from Swift Creek Campground to Noisy Creek Camp by the Forest Service
  • Expected daily hike to project: 1-3 miles roundtrip with 500 feet of gain at a moderate pace

Schedule

  • Day 1: Meet the crew rain or shine, then boat in, begin work on the project and set up camp
  • Day 2+: Make breakfast and pack a lunch before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Arrive back in camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew.
  • Final Day: Break down camp, finish trail project, boat out and say goodbye to the crew at the trailhead

For safety reasons, arriving late or leaving early is not allowed.

Planning Information

Get ready for a challenging backcountry adventure!

What it Takes to Do This Work Party

  • A great attitude for working with a team! WTA provides the training and tools you need for the project
  • Backpacking gear and food for multiple nights on the trail
  • Good physical condition to be physically active for about 8-9 hours daily on uneven terrain 
  • Backpacking experience including ability to run your own camp following Leave No Trace principles
  • Day work party experience recommended
  • Flexibility to adapt to changes due to unpredictable weather or land manager requests
  • Minimum age: 18

What to Bring

Please wear comfortable and weather-appropriate hiking clothes and your boots for our hike to camp.

Backpacking gear

  • Backpack to carry all of your gear
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear and enough food (plus a little extra) for the entire trip
  • At least two 1-liter water bottles and a way to purify your water
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Camp clothing such as shorts, shirt and sandals
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Personal items such as medication, hand sanitizer and toiletries
  • ​First aid kit
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!

Trail work gear

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended such as safety glasses
  • WTA hard hat (provided, unless you have one)

For safety reasons, shorts and sneakers are not allowed while working. Firearms and weapons are not allowed.

More Information

From the Hiking Guide

See what WTA's hiking guide and trip reports say about this area.

A My Backpack account is required. You will be asked to register or log in before you can join.

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Partners

Directions

From Seattle drive north on I-5 and just north of Mount Vernon take exit 230 onto the North Cascades Highway, which is Highway 20. Drive on Highway 20 through Sedro Woolley and from there continue on Highway 20 for 14.5 miles where you turn left (north)onto the Baker Lake-Grandy Lake road. Drive 18 miles on the Baker Lake Road, then stay right on the Baker Lake/National Forest Development Road 11 for about 2 more miles until you take a right to reach Swift Creek Campground and boat launch, formerly Baker Lake Resort. (NOT the same as Baker Lake Lodge). (Driving time from Seattle: approximately 2.5 hours).

Note: Please follow the written directions above instead of using a GPS device. This will ensure that you get to the correct meeting location for this work party. The location of the pinpoint below is only approximate.

Getting to WTA work parties can involve travel on rough, unpaved roads in areas without cellular service and without street addresses that can be accurately used by navigation devices. Unless specifically noted otherwise, routes can generally be traveled by all types of vehicles. Volunteers with limited experience driving on unpaved mountain roads may want to allow extra time, beyond what is recommended in the directions above, to get to the meeting location.

Required Documentation

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