U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest


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Forest Information

The Mt. Baker and Snoqualmie National Forests are combined and operated by the the Forest Service as one Forest, Mt Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest. It is located in north western Washington, bordered by Canada in the north and Mt. Rainier National Park in the south. Mt. Baker National Forest is comprised of 1,282,293 acres. Snoqualmie National Forest is comprised of 1,239,665 acres. There are 59 developed campgrounds of which 24 meet the selection criteria.

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (NF) stretches 140 miles from Canada down the western slope of the Cascade Mountains to north boundary of the Mt. Rainier National Park. There are many national forests that have been "combined" over the years but not many national forests are as big as the combined Mt. Baker and Snoqualmie. Most of those "combined" forests eventually merge so completely they lose their individualism. It is hard to see that happening to the Mt. Baker and Snoqualmie National Forests. They are two wonderful forests offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities and developed campgrounds for all to enjoy.

As the name implies, the Mt. Baker National Forest's centerpiece is the towering glaciated Mt. Baker. Its glaciers and snow fields last through the summer, melting in the summer sun to feed the surrounding streams, rivers, and lakes. State Rt. 542, a.k.a. Mt. Baker Scenic Highway, follows the Nooksack River, fed by Mt Baker's melting snow, from the beautiful Heather Meadow and Artist Point, with its picture-perfect image of Mt. Baker, through the quaint town of Granite, WA. Beside the opaque blue-green glacier meltwater are the attractive and rustic Silver Fir and Douglas-Fir campgrounds. Either one is a good base camp for exploring the north side of Mt. Baker and offers campers a delightful camping experience in massive old firs.

Hugging the south side of Mt. Baker is the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area. It has no developed campgrounds but permits dispersed camping and has lots of hiking and climbing trails for up-close-and-personal discovery of the mountain. If a Forest visitor is interested in just relaxing and enjoying a variety of water play then Shannon Creek and Panorama Point campgrounds will be just what they want. For campers in a recreational vehicle, Park Creek provides a peaceful camping experience away from the water.

Running the length of the Mt. Baker NF is North Cascades National Park. There are several trailheads in the Forest providing access to the park but the most convenient Forest campgrounds to the Park are Mineral Park and Marble Creek. Deep in the woods with lush green vegetation and next to the North Fork of Cascade River, campers will think they have traveled deep into a wilderness but are only 16 and 8 miles, respectively, from State Route 20.

Snoqualmie National Forest may not have a single spectacular feature like Mt. Baker but does have some wonderfully scenic areas accessed by one of four mountain passes. These passes are Stevens Pass (Route 2), Snoqualmie Pass (Interstate 90), Chinook Pass (State Route 410), and Barlow Pass (State Route 92). Each gives visitors another adventure experience.

Barlow Pass suffered storm damage in 2006 so visitors can't drive Rt 92, a.k.a. Mountain Loop Highway, through from Granite to Darrington, WA but there is still lots to see and do. Along with the seasonal whitewater opportunities of Stillaguamish River's South Fork, there is hiking, fishing, and plain old exploring. This is a historic area. Visitors staying at Red Bridge, Gold Basin, Verlot, and Turlo campgrounds will get a better understanding of the important contributions made by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees to today's forest and camping opportunities, with a visit to the Verlot Public Service Center. The north end of Barlow Pass has two developed campgrounds (Bedal and Clear Creek) for visitors to use when exploring that area. The day hike to North Fork Sauk Falls from Bedal campground is one popular activity along with Steelhead fishing. For those who prefer to not sleep on the ground but want to discover this part of the forest there is the historic Suiattle (pronounced "Sue- attle") Guard Station available for rent. (Contact the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Supervisor's Office for information on it and other cabin rentals.)

One feature of Stevens Pass is the Iron Goat Trail. Walking along the Iron Goat Trail, following an abandoned Great Northern Railway grade, is a stroll through history surrounded by scenic beauty. It is a quick trip from Money Creek and Beckler River campgrounds to the Iron Goat Trail for a volunteer-led hike. The nearby community of Skykomish hints at what the area must have been like when the Great Northern Railway was making regular visits to the area.

The busy Snoqualmie Pass may not seem like a great place for camping but Tinkham campground is convenient for transient overnight campers. Further off I-90 is the popular Denny Creek campground which features a handful of campsites with electric hook-ups and flush toilets. The nearby Asahel Curtis Nature Trail provides visitors with insight to the area's plants, animals and geology, plus the water slides on Denny Creek and pleasant hike to Franklin Falls combine to make Denny Creek campground a delightful experience.

Chinook Pass, a feature of State Rt. 410, a.k.a Mather Memorial Parkway, provides visitors with access to Mt. Rainier National Park. Just north of the Park's boundary are two sweet little Forest campgrounds - The Dalles and Silver Springs. Although both campgrounds are good base camps for exploring the Park, it might be difficult to leave the lush, tranquil environment found at either campground except for a brief day trip to the Park.

With the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest covering such a large area, the number and variety of recreational activities are also numerous and varied. Rugged mountains carved by ice-age glaciers, upwards of 800 lakes many in alpine environments, 1,500 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, and several wild and scenic rivers, offer endless possibilities for discovery. Visitors to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest can take a quiet walk beside a glacier-fed stream, observe a pair of Bald eagles soaring, challenge the snowy face of Mt Baker, canoe a mountain lake, roast a perfect marshmallow at their campfire, relax in the solitude of a pristine wilderness, and capture a great sunset and magnificent bull elk on film. These are just a few of the opportunities awaiting visitors to Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest. Come and discover what awaits you.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 2930 Wetmore Ave. Suite 3A Everett, Washington 98201 800-627-0062 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Darrington 1405 Emmens St. Darrington, Washington 98241 360-436-1155 Mt. Baker 810 State Route 20 Sedro-Wooley, Washington 98284 360-856-5700 Skykomish 74920 NE Stevens Pass Hwy POB 305 Skykomish, Washington 98288 360-677-2414 Snoqualmie-Enumclaw Office 450 Roosevelt Ave. E. Enumclaw, Washington 98022 360-825-6585 Snoqualmie-North Bend Office 42404 SE North Bend Way North Bend, Washington 98045 425-888-1421

Fred and Suzi Dow