Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest is tucked between Seattle, Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Park — an enviable location that makes it one of the most accessible and highly trafficked national forests in the United States. It's a haven for wilderness newbies and back-country explorers alike, offering 1,500 miles of trails, 10 wilderness areas, more than 200 glaciers and some of the best salmon-fishing rivers and lakes in Washington. With different activities available for each season, you can find a new adventure every month of the year.
Activities in Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest
Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest offers more than 3.5 million acres of spectacular wilderness. If you're interested in the forest's famous wildflower blooms, take a spring hike on the Tomyhoi Lake Trail. Heather Meadows is one of the best places to find huckleberries and heather; you'll also see lava rocks and ridges covered in ancient hemlock trees. On the John Muir Nature Trail, check out a 700-year-old Douglas fir tree that's more than 9 feet in diameter.
Bring your fishing gear and join local anglers for the start of the sockeye salmon season at Baker Lake in early July. Cast from the shore or launch a canoe or motorboat from the ramps at Horseshoe Cove Campground, Shannon Creek Campground or Swift Creek Campground. If you're interested in trout fishing, hike up to Silver Lake and fish from the shore.
For some of the best wildlife-watching in the forest, boat the Skagit Wild and Scenic River to see elk drinking from the banks and bald eagles swooping down to snack on salmon. If you prefer to drive, you can also watch them from the overlooks along WA-20 near the town of Marblemount. Another place to see elk and deer is the Gold Creek Pond Interpretive Trail. For a quiet bird-watching experience, head to Forest Road 70 and check out the turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks and violet-green swallows that live in the trees.
Geocaching is allowed in Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest as long as you stay outside of the 10 designated wilderness areas that make up nearly half the park. Check out the caches at Boulder Creek Campground and the Suntop Lookout.
If you're camping in the forest, walk away from the campfire for beautiful views of the night sky. The best stargazing happens in the northern and eastern parts of the forest where the light pollution from Seattle is less visible.
How to get to Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest
Address: 2930 Wetmore Ave. Suite 3A, Everett, WA, 98201
Fee: Entry fee $0
In Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest, there's a new vista and an exciting adventure around every turn. Whether you want to reel in a massive salmon at Baker Lake or spend your afternoons hiking high into alpine meadows, camping is the perfect way to experience the landscape to the fullest. An RV is a wonderful way to sleep comfortably in the cool alpine evenings and wake up refreshed and ready for fun.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest
How many hiking trails does Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest have?
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has 1,500 miles of trails. There are trails for every level of hiker, from beginners to extreme hikers and climbers so you're sure to find something to suit you.
Is Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest open all year round?
Yes, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is open year-round. In summer, visitors can fish, hike, paddle, and swim. In winter, visitors can snowshoe or ski. There are activities in the forest for every season.
Is there a fee to get into Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. There may be fees for using certain day-use areas. There may also be permits required for recreational activities like camping, cutting Christmas trees, and other activities.
Does Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed in the forest and does not cost. Campers must bring everything they need, as there are no amenities with dispersed camping. They must also pack everything out and leave no trace when they're done.
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak and canoe in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. There is also whitewater rafting available in the forest. Several companies offer guides and equipment for an exciting rafting trip in the area.