Baker Lake Trail
The Baker Lake Trail is a family-friendly adventure near Sun Valley that beckons your exploration. This pleasant hike explores a landscape occupied by pine forests and flowering meadows before opening to an idyllic lake hemmed by towering red rock bluffs. This epic expedition is ranked relatively high on our list of the Sawtooth National Forest's greatest hikes—trust us, it's good!
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Route Description for Baker Lake Trail
Explore the Sawtooth National Forest and immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness as you hike the Baker Lake Trail. Boasting awe-inspiring scenery and incredible outdoor pursuits, this adventure is a must-add to the summer to-do list. Note that this trail is well-loved, so expect some company! Those seeking a more tranquil experience are encouraged to head out in the early mornings or evenings to avoid the afternoon rush. No matter the time of day, it is worth pointing out that this route explores an area of burn scar, and the tree canopy is open, so it is wise to wear SPF. Note the road to the trailhead is rough and rugged, so vehicles with high ground clearance are recommended.
The Baker Lake Trail boasts the perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh mountain air. This easy-going adventure is particularly popular amongst families and the elderly due to the mild grade and manageable terrain. With several campsites along the shoreline, hiking this route would make a great introduction to backpacking! Whether you head out for the day or overnight, the gorgeous scenery will not disappoint. While autumn treks offer more tranquility and changing foliage, summer hikes offer magical wildflower displays and water recreation opportunities. Bring a swimsuit and towel to enjoy the refreshing alpine waters or a fishing rod to try your hand at some trout—though it is only catch and release fishing in this lake. Just don’t forget your camera; the setting is picture-perfect.
Embark on your journey along the Baker Lake Hike from the trailhead off the National Forest Development Road 162. Setting out from here, you will be guided along the Barker Creek-Norton Creek Trail. The westbound path will begin to gently climb into the woods occupied by burned ponderosa pines from the 2013 Beaver Creek fire and lush regrowth carpeting the forest floor. Shortly after your departure, the path will switch back, rerouting north and intersecting with Baker Creek. Enjoy the sounds of the babbling brook and marvel at the beauty of the vibrant wildflower displays that adorn the montane meadows. Minding your footing on the rocky terrain, you will eventually confront an intersection.
At this point, you will want to turn left on the Baker Lake Trail. Now traveling west, the primarily exposed terrain will offer you incredible views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Again, the path will approach Baker Creek before ultimately delivering you to the shoreline of the glacial basin. Revel in the clarity of the alpine lake and the lush pines that decorate the lakeside. You will be granted mesmerizing views of the red-hued spires and rocky-sloped mountains that bound the water in the west. Take a refreshing swim in the blue-colored pool, being mindful of the trees that lay across the floor. When you are through exploring the natural sanctuary near Sun Valley, head back along the path the way you came, all the way to the trailhead.
Baker Lake is a glacial pool in the Smoky Mountains near Sun Valley. Standing at an elevation of 2,682 m in the Sawtooth National Forest, the alpine lake is bound by towering red rock spires—a scene begging to be photographed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in Baker Lake, Idaho?
Yes, Baker Lake is a great swimming destination—fishing too!
How long is the Baker Lake Trail?
The Baker Lake Trail is a 5.8 km out-and-back hike.
Insider Hints for Baker Lake Trail
- Fishing is catch and release only
- Bring a towel and bathing suit to enjoy the inviting waters
- Keep an eye out for mountain goats
- After rainfall the terrain becomes unstable with mud—so mind your footing
- The dirt road to the trailhead is long and rough
- Explore in the spring to enjoy wonderful wildlife displays
Getting to the Baker Lake Trail Trailhead
The Baker Lake Trail departs from the trailhead off the National Forest Development Road 162.
Baker Lake Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Baker Lake Trail Reviews
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