Baker River - N. Cascades, WA

My buddy Mike and I hit the trail in the North Cascades again. This time we brought our boats to the Baker River. There is no gauge that I’m aware of on the portion of the river above the lake, so I can’t say what the flow was. The hike in was pleasant - pretty flat with views of the river now and then. Salmon berries and huckleberries were ripe for the picking (huckleberries in June?!?) The trail begins in the National Forest, and ends at Sulphide Camp on Sulphide Creek in the N. Cascades National Park. Sulphide Creek flows off the southern face of Mt. Shuksan and is a significant tributary of the Baker. To get to our put-in, we crossed a log over Sulphide creek and made our way to the Baker just upstream from where Sulphide merges with it. Mike brought his new Tenkara pole and tried it out.

You can continue up river from here, but you’ll be hiking along ankle-twisting river rocks. We didn’t have proper foot wear so we didn’t go any further. I’m told there used to be a trail that went further up river to another tributary, but has since grown over.

The river moves pretty quickly, is beautifully clear and quite cold. We encountered three log jams we had to portage, and a couple of small rapids we had to scout but were not difficult at all. The river braids and winds its way back and forth on the valley floor. We took our time and ran a fun little wave train several times where the river runs straight into the bluff below the trail and hangs a 90 degree left into a couple of boulders. Got to practice the throw rope there.

The Baker River from Sulphide Creek is good day trip if you’re in the area. The trail is easy, the water is clear, and the views are beautiful.

Photos can be found here: