Maple Grove Campsites are located on Baker Lake Trail.
This is a wonderful family hike for all seasons with its low elevation and level grade. Stands of giant old growth trees draped in lichen and covered in moss are some of the highlights along this trail. Baker Lake Trail is the only trail on Mt. Baker Ranger District open for stock and llama use year round. It can also be accessed at the north via Baker River Trail 606.
This trail leads into a majestic stand of Douglas fir that regrew after Mt. Baker erupted and started a forest fire in 1843. You can still see the burned snags of the cedar trees that once dominated the area. From south to north, the trail contours the eastern shoreline of Baker Lake, offering glimpses of Mt. Baker. All along the trail spot western trillium, twinflower, foamflower, coralroot and twisted stalk.
Campground Review: Maple Grove campground (boat-in or hike-in)
I have a love and hate relationship with Maple Grove campground and in my experience it has all depended on the season in which I have visited the lake. I love the campgrounds along the lake and amazing views of Mount Baker, just hate the unbearably busy fishing and camping crowds, biting flies and mosquitos summer brings.
I have been to Baker Lake three (3) times in the last three (3) years to camp and have only been able to actually camp on the lake two (2) of those three (3) trips. September has been my golden month on the lake as far as luck in finding a camping site. We no longer even bother heading up to Baker Lake or any of the surrounding campgrounds in July or August unless we are there to fish and/or already have a reservation. We once made the trip up mid-July for our anniversary and found out upon arriving in town it was the opening weekend of sockeye salmon fishing season and I have never seen so more boats packed onto a lake except at Sea Fair! It was crazy! No camping available, not even on the side NF / FS roads.
When you do have the chance to make the journey to Baker Lake’s Maple Grove campground, you will find a small campground tucked in a serene maple grove shading the shoreline of the lake. You have two (2) options to access the campground;
1) Hike in via Baker Lake Trail 610 (stock and leashed pets allowed). From the Mt. Baker Ranger District office in Sedro-Woolley, WA follow State Route 20 east for 16 miles to milepost 82. Turn left (north) on the Baker Lake Highway (Forest Service Road 11). Continue for 14 miles to the Baker Dam Road and turn right. Drive past the Puget Sound Energy Kulshan Campground and across the Upper Baker Dam. After crossing the dam, turn left on FS Road 1107. Follow road 1107 for 1 mile and look for the trailhead and parking area on the left side of the road. You will need an America the Beautiful pass or a NorthWest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead. Register your group at the trailhead and get ready to hit the trail.
Once you start the hike the first real point of interest you come across is the bridge at Anderson Creek at 1.5 miles down the trail, followed by Anderson Creek Campground at 2 miles. Continue on another 2 miles and you will reach the spur for the Maple Grove campground.
2) Boat in. When boating in you have a number of over-night parking lot options to park your vehicle in during the summer season, granted you can find parking. In the off-season you can park over-night at either Kulshan boat launch or Panorama Point boat launch which are open year round.
Maple Grove campground has a wooden boat dock but depending on water levels I’ve seen it completely beached or floating alone in the water, you’ve been warned.
Maple Grove Campground hosts six (6) official, semi-private campsites that you’ll find free on a first come first serve basis. No need to bring the dehydrated meals or bear canister (unless you backpacked) because there are bear boxes located at almost every site to store food and scented items. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit and grill. We found at least one topless toilet located near the camp with a nice view of the forest, rumor has there are more. There is no running water on this side of the lake so bring your water filter to head to the local creeks with.
If you do have the pleasure of hiking in to Maple Grove Campground or chose to explore the surrounding area, take the time to check out the forest as it is full of huge, old growth trees, some trees still showing the evidence of old lumbar scars. If you continue hiking past Maple Grove there are two (2) more campgrounds further north along the lake; Swift Creek and Noisy Creek.
The real pleasure of staying at the Maple Grove Campground or any of the boat-in/hike-in campsites along this side of the lake, are the majestic views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksun rising up above Baker Lake. You can literally sit on the dock all day soaking up those epic views.
Warning: I have heard rumors that the boat-in/ hike-in camps along Baker Lake can get rowdy and loud with large group parties in the summer months. We haven’t had this experience personally but have heard tales of this happening and seen reports of this on WTA.
Not too far from the trail at baker lake. Quiet and peaceful.
These campgrounds are about a 4 mile hike in from the trailhead. Plenty of wild berries, flowers, and ferns along the way. We had fun just relaxing under the Big Leaf Maple trees. Each campground has a flat tent site. Some also have fire pits with grills and picnic tables, but not all. There is a pit toilet and urine diverter on site. There are also a couple bear boxes to share, as bear (and deer!) roam this area. The lake is lovely, though it was a bit too cold in June to swim. There is a small floating dock on the lake. Spectacular views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan - be sure to watch the sunset. Boaters frequent this lake so there is a bit of motor noise, but this doesn't bother me. Dog-friendly campsite. This made for a very relaxing overnight backpacking trip!