Traveler Tales: Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Exploring our Nation's National Forests
Karen Blue's photo of Mt Baker in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Discovering Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

The state of Washington boasts some of the most breathtaking national forests in the United States. Among them is Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, nestled on the western slope of the Cascade Mountains. Recently, my family and I had the pleasure of experiencing this majestic landscape of snow-capped volcanoes, old-growth trees, and emerald lakes first-hand.

Where We Stayed

We journeyed to the Mt. Baker National Forest in our 30 ft Airstream Flying Cloud and settled in at the Shannon Creek Campground on the northern edge of Baker Lake for two nights. Our campsite was nestled in dense forest and an easy walk to the lakefront where there is a small boat ramp and two picnic areas right on the lakeshore. On our third night, we decided to boondock by the lake in one of the many pullouts along Baker Lake Rd. We also enjoyed the day-use area at Panorama Point Campground, which had the best views of Mt. Baker. This was a very popular campground that was fully booked, but several sites were right on the water.

The beautiful lake was an ideal spot to cool off from the warm weather. We explored the lake, and incredible scenery with our packrafts and paddleboards, and my husband Lenny caught a ride on a boat and managed to hook a salmon just a few days after we witnessed the fish taxi stocking the lake.

Karen Blue's family sitting by a campfire next to their Airstream travel trailer in a National Forest

What To Do

Beyond enjoying the lake and the beautiful campground, one highlight of our visit was an 8-mile round trip hike to the Park Butte Fire Lookout. Situated atop a mountain, the lookout provides 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains. It's first come, first serve, but you can even stay the night in the lookout. My daughter especially enjoyed learning about the “lady lookouts” and the rugged self sufficient women who kept watch while the men were away during WWII. These fire lookout structures were once critical in detecting wildfires before they spread and wreaked havoc.  Although technological advancements have replaced them, the twelve fire lookouts in Mt Baker Snoqualmie remain a crucial part of national forest history.

Our visit to Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest was an unforgettable experience. We relished exploring the stunning landscape, hiking to the fire lookout, and cooling off in the lake. The forest's rich history and unique qualities make it a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature. We're already looking forward to returning and experiencing more of this incredible national forest.

National Forests: Our Nation’s Treasures 

When visiting national forests, there are so many activities to participate in. From hiking and camping to fishing and wildlife watching, there's something for everyone. It's important to remember that these natural areas are treasures that need to be protected. We appreciate our time spent in national forests and are grateful for the hard work that the National Forest Foundation does to ensure they remain healthy and vibrant for generations to come.

Karen Blue's photo of a lake and Mt Baker in Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are the most popular type of non-motorized RV. No doubt you’ve seen one pulled down the highway hitched to a car or pickup. Travel trailers come in all sizes including tiny jellybean-shaped models with a chuckwagon kitchen in the rear to the massive house-on-wheels with picture windows and a sliding glass patio door.

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