Baker Hot Spring

Hot Spring

A popular hot mud spring southeast of Mt. Baker easily accessed from Interstate 5.

Located to the southeast of Mt. Baker, there's a convenient mudhole that can be easily reached. A short five-minute stroll from the parking area on a well-maintained trail leads to this spot. Despite the unattractive appearance of the pool, it remains popular among residents of Washington and British Columbia. The surrounding region offers opportunities for camping, hiking, and boating.

The springs are widely known, resulting in potential crowds. To avoid the rush, it's advisable to plan your visit for weekdays or early mornings. With the exception of deep winter, the footpath's starting point can be reached by car. When there's sufficient snow, the final part of the road becomes an excellent and simple cross-country skiing route.

Baker Hot Spring can serve as a day trip from Vancouver, encompassing a roughly five-hour round-trip drive with potential delays at the border. The journey involves driving south from Vancouver to the Canada-U.S. border near Blaine and then taking Interstate 5 south to the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) exit at Burlington. Alternatively, you can access Highway 20 by following Highway 9 south from Sumas or from the Mt. Baker ski area. Subsequently, traveling east on Highway 20 for approximately 37km and turning left onto Baker Lake Road after the Mile 82 marker and just before Concrete, the last place to refuel and find food.

Exiting the pavement, Forest Road 1144 comes into view across from Baker Lake Resort, about 33km from Highway 20. Follow the rugged gravel road for 5km to a spacious parking area on both sides. The drive from Interstate 5 typically takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, varying by traffic. From the upper end of the parking lot, a brief and easy walk along a well-constructed trail leads to the spring. With some effort and assistance, the path might even accommodate a wheelchair. During winter, it's recommended to verify current road conditions with the Forest Service in Sedro Woolley.

At the site, there's a sizable pool, dug into the gravelly bank on one end and barricaded with rocks and dirt on the other. Capable of comfortably hosting a dozen or more individuals, the pool features nearby logs suitable for placing clothes, and its sloping dirt bank facilitates easy entry. Hot water, reaching temperatures up to 44°C, emerges from various spots at the pool's base. Characterized by a strong sulfur scent and low levels of dissolved minerals—primarily sodium, bicarbonate, chloride, and silica—the pool's temperature generally falls short of its maximum due to cooling from surface water and an overflow streamlet during spring. While many people enjoy prolonged stays in the pool, some view it as a mud wallow and opt out. The water's murkiness results from the pool's soil excavation and inevitable forest debris.

Provided clear weather during your drive, you'll spot a glacier-draped peak from about 12km along Baker Lake Road. This isn't Mt. Baker but rather Mt. Shuksan. Mt. Baker itself becomes visible at the 22km mark. This prominent peak, visible from substantial portions of Vancouver, is a dormant volcano that experienced several eruptions in the 19th century and has displayed signs of activity in recent decades. Baker Hot Spring, much like Meager Hot Springs, is likely linked to volcanic processes.

The short path leading to the hot spring traverses a charming, largely unlogged forest adorned with inconspicuous small plants. Dominated by red cedars, the area includes a notably large specimen just above the pool. An imposing shrub with sizeable broad leaves and a spiny brown stem is known as Devil's Club. During late summer, this attractive shrub produces abundant red berries, though inedible. Ripe blueberries and huckleberries might be available nearby if you're quick enough to beat other hikers and squirrels to them.

The forest exudes tranquility, punctuated by bird melodies, flowing water, and rustling leaves. Woodpecker holes frequently dot the trees, and patient solitude could reward you with sightings of these birds. A shaded spot for picnicking beneath the cedars is situated a few meters above the pool. It's advisable to bring your beverages and avoid drinking from the nearby creek. From this vantage point, you can admire old broadleaf maples nearby, covered in moss and ferns along their trunks.

Beyond the hot mud pool, the area offers numerous attractions. Forest Service campgrounds grace the shores of Baker Lake, with Shannon Creek campground allowing boat launches a few kilometers past Baker Lake Lodge. Countless hiking trails beckon during the summer, while winter opens up opportunities for cross-country skiing along forestry roads. The Forest Service office can provide maps detailing hiking trails and other recreational options.

Baker Hot Spring, previously known as Morovitz Hot Spring, owes its name to Joe Morovitz, a prospector and mountaineer who lived near the spring from 1891 to 1917. During this period, he and a partner constructed a log-lined hole at the spring, creating a functional personal bathtub. In the 1970s, a sizable cedar tub graced the springs, complete with a split-cedar screen surrounding the pool. However, health concerns led to the removal of the cedar pool tub due to bacterial accumulation. Consequently, the pool remains muddy yet safe. Until recently, a cedar boardwalk connected the parking area to the spring, but its deterioration and slipperiness prompted removal.


48.727209, -121.690063

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