Wet and wild, with plenty of creeks to cross (some bridged – others not), great views along the east bank of Baker Lake, an old growth forest, spring flowers, distant snow-topped mountains, and more (we saw a bear! we saw a bear!), deep within the Mt. Baker Ranger District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, this hike began along the Baker River Trail (#606); and a half mile later as we crossed the impressive 240′ cable-stay Baker River Bridge, continued another nine-miles (in and back) along the Baker Lake Trail (#610) to Noisy Creek.
About two-thirds of the way along the Baker Lake Trail is where we saw the bear. Spotted sauntering down the trail just ahead of us, my first thought was that there was another hiker along the trail – someone with a big black dog. Closer study proved me wrong – there was no other hiker. It was a black bear! With camera in hand as I processed the fact that it really was a bear, my fingers turned to all thumbs, jelly, and I felt almost paralyzed as my brain told me to focus and take its picture. At about that time, the trail rounded a corner and we lost sight of the bear. Moments later, as we rounded that same corner, just as quickly as that bear had joined us along the trail, it had silently slipped off into the forest. Wondering if it watched as we passed by, we continued on with our hike.
This really was a most spectacular hike filled with wonderful sights all along the way. We passed so many huge, more-to-love, old-growth trees as the trail led us up and down the ridges through the forest along the Baker River and then on to Baker Lake.
There were plenty of spring flowers in bloom.
Bending as it led us from the forest to over the powerful Hidden Creek below, the Hidden Creek Bridge was impressive.
Far from hidden as it cascades down a long series of twists and turns through a giant bolder-strewn path, we enjoyed the view of the creek.
Becoming part of the trail as their water poured over, we continued along as some of the other creeks along the way had no bridges.
Our turn-around point was the Noisy Creek Bridge. This link – 60Before60 YouTube: Noisy Creek at Baker Lake – will take you to my video on YouTube of Noisy Creek and Baker Lake from the bridge.
Before heading back to the trailhead, we stopped for a picnic at the Baker Lake Hiker Camp. What a beautiful view!
The Baker Lake Trail was built in 1998 by Sahale, LLC along the route of old mining and logging operations. By following this link to their website – http://www.sahale.com/baker%20lake%20trail%20gallery.htm, you can see some incredible photos taken during construction.