Outdoors

Baker River: Route accessible, even for disabled

Elevation Gain: 50 to 200 feet.

Round trip: 6 miles.

Difficulty: Easy.

Best times to hike: Nearly year-round.

Highlights: Despite this trail's seeming remoteness, it never climbs above 1,000 feet and is passable nearly year-round. With its modest elevation gain, the trail's first mile is negotiable by ambitious wheelchair users.

Trail users are rewarded by a rain forest of gigantic Western red cedar and big-leaf maple trees, rich green moss and shaded ferns on the forest floor. The trail follows Baker River and offers views of looming Mount Blum, Hagan Mountain and Whatcom Peaks. When the snow level gets low, mountain goats are sometimes visible from nearby cliffs.

Extensive beaver ponds also can be spotted. The trail ends at Sulphide Creek about three miles in. Four campsites are located near the creek. The trail enters North Cascades National Park, where dogs aren't allowed.

Maps: Green Trails No. 14 Mount Shuksan, Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park Complex.

Getting there: Pick up Highway 20 in Sedro-Woolley and head east. Take a left onto Baker Lake Road, about four-tenths of a mile past mile marker 82. Drive 26 mostly paved miles north, taking a left on Road 1168, just before the end of Baker Lake Road. The trailhead is well-marked.

  Comments