Blue Lake: Short, easy hike for youngsters

Located in the hills above Baker Lake, Blue Lake is a great destination for a family daytrip. A short and easy hike leads to this serene swimming spot and an intricate system of trails around the lake offers youngsters plenty to explore.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain: 100 feet

Round trip: 1½ miles

Hiking time: 45 minutes

Best times to hike: June through October

Users: Hikers

Family friendly: Yes

Dogs: Dogs are allowed.

Amenities: Several campsites at lake; one box toilet.

Current conditions: Trail is clear of snow. One fallen tree obstructs the trail, but is easily passable.

Permits: Northwest Forest Pass required; $5 for the day or $30 for an annual pass.

Maps: Green Trails No. 45: Hamilton; USGS: Baker Pass

Getting there: Drive south on Interstate 5. Take exit 232 and turn left onto Cook Road. When it intersects with Highway 20, turn left. Follow Highway 20 east for 16 miles; turn left onto Baker Lake Road. Follow for 12 miles. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 12. This gravel road splits at 2 miles. Stay left. Continue for another 5 miles to Forest Service Road 1230. Turn left onto Road 1230 and follow to trailhead. Drive time from Bellingham: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Parking: Park at end of road.