I’m contemplating running the Baker Lake 100k Fat Ass (two laps of this course) later this month, so today I went to Baker Lake to check out the “start line” at Kulshan Campground and the turnaround point at Baker River trailhead. Mainly I was just looking for somewhere to run, and since I hadn’t been to Baker Lake in a couple years, it seemed like as good a choice as any.
Baker Lake Road was a bit of a winter wonderland this morning. I tried to drive to the Baker River TH but turned around when the pavement ended – the road hadn’t been plowed yet and was getting pretty messy. After turning around, I ran into a really nice PSE guy who told me that they plow every time it snows, even on the weekends. However, it usually takes them most of the day to clear all the roads back there, and the road to Baker River TH is often one of the last to be plowed.
Right now, the campground is under a few inches of snow. Really Nice PSE guy told me you can still camp there if you want, and yes it is free. There are heated bathrooms (!) with flush toilets (!). The potable water spigot is turned off for the season, but there is running water (hot and cold!) in the bathrooms and Really Nice PSE guy confirmed that the bathroom water is fine for drinking (“Probably better than the water you’re drinking back in the city!”)
All things considered, Baker Lake trail is in pretty good shape. There were patches of snow on the trail, but it never got deeper than my ankles, and I definitely didn’t need snowshoes or traction devices. There were approximately 1/2 dozen blowdowns in the first 3+ miles of trail, but they were all relatively easy to climb over or crawl under.
The campsites at Anderson Point looked good, and would be a fun winter camping option. There was standing water in a couple places, but there were also plenty of flat spots to pitch a tent. Plus bear boxes and fire rings. Fancy.
In summary, Baker Lake is currently a great option for logging some relatively snow-free miles!