Soaking in hot springs has been a common method of healing the body, mind, and soul for centuries. Starting long before the days of colonization, all the way up to today’s commercialism. On top of that, it still serves as a place for spiritual reminiscence for a lot of people. It’s precisely because of its countless properties – including medicinal qualities – that people are ready to take on the bumpy and sometimes impossible trails of the wilderness and national parks only to reach (what is most of the time) a shallow pond that is more brown and grayish in color than that of crystal blue and smells of what travelers very humorously refer to as ‘rotten eggs.’
Mt. Baker Hot Springs, nestled in the rugged mountainous landscape of Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, WA, and consisting of two primitive pools, is one such case. It’s far from the privatized, multi-service thermal spas and is every inch the rustic natural oasis, ready to be explored by outdoor lovers.
|Address||Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington|
|Location||1.5hrs from Bellingham, WA|
|Road Access||Moderate. 4WD; Hike|
All You Need to Know
Mt. Baker Hot Springs is a thermal spring consisting of two primitive pools – one more shallow than the other – tucked into the heart of Mount Baker (hence the name of the spring, *gasp*). Surrounded by all things natural, with endless breathtaking ranges of spruce and pine trees, Baker HS is a destination as secluded from the city bustle as it gets. Requiring half a mile hike to get to, on top of crossing a bumpy road, Baker is the ultimate thermal reward for your sore body after such a difficult journey.
With its surrounding greenery, it’s also the perfect winter destination- but note that getting there during the snowy months can be very tricky.
Both pools are rock and log-walled and have a gravelly bottom with a temperature reaching a solid 101°F. One of the pools is a few feet deep and wide enough to accommodate up to 10 people, whereas the second one is only a few inches deep – disproportionate to its wide diameter – and makes you think that it’s an extension of the bigger pool.
On the downside, however, as much as we want Baker Hot Springs to be a destination fit for a natural getaway, it’s anything but, considering how crowded it can get. If you wish to avoid crowds, you can visit early in the morning and enjoy witnessing a beautiful sunrise, or the opposite – visit late at night and stargaze with your loved ones.
Those who consider Baker Hot Springs to be easily accessible would be mistaken. Don’t be swayed and fooled by some of the reviews on the internet because however subjective the perception of road access may be, the fact is that the road to Baker Hot Springs is tough, to say the least. While it’s easy to find, It is extremely pot-holed, and bumpy, and in the winter it’s near impossible to cross. Even though the ‘road’ is semi-manageable with a sedan if you’re careful enough, a high clearance car is still recommended. However, the best-case scenario is hiking the path you’d initially cross with a car and saving yourself the headache of vehicle maintenance. The choice is yours.
Don’t forget that once you get to the parking area, you’ll still need to hike half a mile in order to reach the springs.
Now, the hiking trail is pretty easy to trek even if it sometimes gets muddy. It doesn’t offer that big a chance of getting a glimpse of the wildlife and may prove disappointing for seasoned hikers, but it’s perfect for newbies.
Additional Information To Take into Account
- No cell service is available at the springs, so be prepared with offline maps and let someone know where you are beforehand in case of an emergency.
- Don’t let the reviews downplay how bad the potholes actually are. When we say it’s bad, we mean it. Even though it is possible to conquer that road with a 4-wheel drive, the journey will turn into a semi-expedition and be anything but comfortable. There have been numerous reports of cars getting stuck in the snow. And without cell reception, it’s not the kind of situation you’d want to end up in. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
- Dogs are allowed on the trail without a leash, but not in close proximity to the springs themselves.
- These springs are clothing optional. Additionally, they can get crowded. If you’re not comfortable with nudity, this may not be the place for you.
- Baker Hot Springs is a Leave No Trace policy active zone and requires you to follow all etiquette guidelines. Click here to learn more about our carefully compiled list of appropriate behavior tips. Wonders such as natural hot springs should be cherished, and we must ensure they are.
How Do I Get To Baker Hot Springs?
From Concrete, Washington, travel through Baker Lake Rd. towards Boulder Creek Bridge. Then take the first turn on the left onto the National Forest Development Rd. 1130. Keep to that road for the next 6 miles until you reach your destination, which is the start of a trail that leads to Baker Hot Springs. Note: these directions include the bumpy road mentioned above.
If you’re a visitor from another state or a city far away and are planning a trip instead of a quick visit, there are two options that you can consider for your overnight stay: Bellingham (the bigger of the two) and Concrete, both offering a good number of lodging options.
Find accommodation in Concrete here
Find accommodation in Bellingham here
If you want to stay overnight in the way that’s fit for a proper outdoor lover, then you’re in luck because Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is abundant with camping options ranging between, but not limited to, cabin rentals and dispersed camping. You can find camping grounds at different elevations and easily choose from the vast selection that this national forest offers.
Learn more about the campgrounds and their respective guidelines on the US Forest Service official website.
What To Explore
This section is based on you making your visit to Baker Hot Springs a proper trip. Obviously, there is no trip without checking out some of the best attractions in the area that you are traveling to. You’re in luck yet again when it comes to exploration because the area surrounding Mt. Baker Hot Springs offers a lot of discoveries for first-time visitors. This is why we’ve made a list of all the additional sites that you can explore.
Starting with the obvious pick of Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, where the spring itself is located. It’s one of the best attractions in the state of Washington and is full of all sorts of natural wonders waiting to be enjoyed by travelers. If you want to narrow it down a bit more, then the Mount Baker Hot Springs Trail is one of the main attractions within the national forest. However bumpy the road that leads to it is, this trail is still filled with a canopy of beautiful trees and equally beautiful flora. It is also a birdwatchers’ ideal spot.
If you want to hike some more, then there’s Table Mountain Trail for you to enjoy.
For stunning scenery, definitely visit Baker Lake, Picture Lake, Anderson & Watson Lake, Mount Shuksan, and the biggest gem of all – Maple Falls, which is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the state. These places are as picturesque as it gets and will turn your Instagram account into one of the most aesthetically pleasing sights on the internet.
If you’re looking for more, here are some other great places to check out:
- You can visit Rasar State Park
- You can hike on Sauk Mountain Trail
- If you’re a skilled hiker, good at back-country navigation, and an adrenaline junkie, then start planning for Gamma Hot Springs and see if you can find it.
The Final Take-away
Hiking, camping, and even birdwatching – everything is included with a little trip to Baker Hot Springs, in addition to exploring some of the most incredible natural wonders of the state of Washington. Evidently, it’s the perfect place for anyone who loves the outdoors, and is an extremely rewarding experience after the energy-consuming semi-expedition you’ll need to take on in order to get to these beautiful springs. If you’re okay with occasional crowds and are a newbie hiker who only wants to get a taste of what it’s like to be a dweller of the wilderness, then definitely add Mt. Baker Hot Springs to your future plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Baker Hot Springs is in Washington State, located in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.
From Concrete, Washington, travel through Baker Lake Rd. towards Boulder Creek Bridge. Then take the first turn on the left onto the National Forest Development Rd. 1130. Keep to that road for the next 6 miles until you reach your destination, which is the start of a trail that leads to Baker Hot Springs. Note, that these directions include the bumpy road mentioned above.
Yes, Mt. Baker Hot Springs is clothing optional.
From the parking area, the trail to Baker Hot Springs is only half a mile long and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.
There are a lot of camping options near Baker Hot Springs. Scroll up to learn more.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!