Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
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With an abundance of mountain views, fishing, and backcountry campsites, Baker Lake makes for a relaxing weekend kayaking trip or a long single-day tour.

Fed by the Baker River, Swift River, and several other smaller rivers, Baker Lake was a much smaller lake until the construction of the Upper Baker Dam in 1959 that raised the water level approximately 312 feet. Today the lake fluctuates about 39 feet annually. Kokanee salmon runs in the spring and fall draw fisherman from several surrounding counties.

There are numerous launch points for Baker Lake. The Kulshan Campground boat launch is the closest access point to the nearby town of Concrete, Washington. Beyond the Kulshan Campground, it is possible to drive across the 312-foot Upper Baker Dam and gain a very real sense of how deep much of the lake is. North of the the Kulshan launch is the Dry Creek Campground and inlet; be mindful of logs and tree stumps on the shallower sections of the inlet. Continuing north, there is a nice beach at the mouth of Sandy Creek. Directly east of Sandy Creek, the lake bed rises up to mere inches below the surface, then dramatically drops hundreds of feet down where Sandy Creek cut through the ancient lake bed. At the northwestern corner where the lake doglegs to the east, the Swift Creek Campground sits at the mouth of Swift Creek. From this vantage point, Mount Baker can be seen to the west, Mount Shuskan to the north, and Mount Blum to the east. The far northeastern shore of Baker Lake offers access to remote, boat-assisted camping and exploring.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Washington Discovery Pass


Excellent views of Mount Baker. Lots to explore. Big lake.


Remote. Moderate boat traffic.


Backcountry camping
Bird watching

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


Put in at Panorama Point: $5 day use fee, ample parking. Thought north end of the lake would be quieter away from Horseshoe Cove but there's a well used campground and boat launch just past Panorama Point which means a concentration of power boats. Still, an amazing view and experience.
What an incredible day at Baker Lake. Explored all the campgrounds along the reservoir and than had a stop at the dam built in 1959.
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