Baker Lake Camping reconnecting with great friends, over delicious food and amazing wine is the perfect way to savor summer.
Follow along on a three day group camping trip to Horseshoe Cove State Park in Washington State’s Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest. A fabulous destination for camping, hiking, boating or splashing in a glacier-fed lake and picnicking in a picturesque location! Just 3 hours north of Seattle and you can be doing it all with the most breathtaking view as your backdrop.
Baker Lake + Mount Baker
The most prominent feature of the Mt. Baker Wilderness is it’s perpetually snow-capped active volcano, Mount Baker. And camping at Baker Lake offers you the prime viewpoint to take in the glacier-filled volcanic crater and the neighboring Mount Shuksan in all their glory. It’s just the sort of place that once you find out about draws you back year after year. We’ve been camping at various Baker Lake campgrounds for years.
Baker Lake Campgrounds
There’s really no bad spot, but we do have our favorites. And awhile back we shared one of our favorite not-so-little camping spots with friends and returning with a group has been an annual tradition since!
Pro Tip: traveling with a group? reserve a group site to get everyone together in one area while accessing the best semi-private locations!
Savor Summer : 3 days of camping at Baker Lake
On this trip we’ve arrive with a handful of couples for 3 days of outdoor cooking, happy hours, kayaking, and reconnecting in the woods.
Our arrival was celebrated on day one with Campfire Wine and Cheese. I popped open a few bottles of my favorite Decoy Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and warmed some grilling cheese over the campfire.
After everyone set up camp I invited them to bring a little of whatever they have to add to the table and enjoy some delicious wine by the bonfire.
We kept the coals hot and later cooked citrus marinated flank steak and warmed tortillas for Carne Asada Tacos.
Pro Tip: Don’t over complicate food! Plan a few potluck style meals and let everyone do their own thing otherwise, sharing highly encouraged of course 🙂
The next day began with caffeine; STAT. Thanks to the best way to start a camp morning – lots of Camp Cold Brew. This quick to make coffee is simply cold brew, a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and a float of cream.
After, we rallied the troops to adventure in the area at nearby Shadow of the Sentinels Trail. With raised boardwalks weaving their way through a forest of old growth trees this would be a fabulous spot to bring a bottle of wine for a picnic.
But that will have to wait for next year, because tonight we had other plans. Half of us hung around the campsite, stocking the fire and preparing for our Grilled Pizza Dinner. While the others took the kayaks over the cove to a secluded spot for a little happy hour among the trees.
Our last day was powered by a Hearty Hodge-Podge Breakfast of meat, eggs, pancakes and biscuits and gravy + whatever else anyone brought to the table.
There are many more adventures to be found in the area but we decided to stay close and explore the trails around the cove. A rope swing, once only accessible via water, can now be reached by a nice looping 1 mile trail with trail head directly behind the group sites.
The beauty of traveling to a location like this is that there so much to do if you want to. Or you can simply sit back, relax and soak it all in.
Hopefully with a view of Mount Baker and a glass of Decoy Wine.
Head east on hwy 20 from interstate 5 exploring picturesque small towns with family farms and loads of fabulous food and drinks before making the shores of crystal-blue Baker Lake your nature home for a few days.
try along the way:
- COA in Mount Vernon for amazing authentic mexican cuisine
- The Train Wreck Bar and Grill fresh, local and inventive. So much more than ‘bar’ food in Burlington
- Hal’s Drive In in Sedro Woolley for the classic drive in experience
- Liberty Bistro in Sedro Woolley for a mouthwatering menu and perfect execution
- Birdsview Diner in Birdsview to grab a burger and a game of horseshoes
Baker Lake has many different day use and overnight options. Some campgrounds are super remote and boat-in only. While others are easy to access but have just a handful of sites for privacy.
Horseshoe Cove – spacious group sites with easy access to the cove make this our favorite of all the Baker Lake campgrounds. Open from mid-May to mid-September there’s first-come, first-serve and reservable sites available. Reserve group sites up to 12 months in advance.
other baker lake campgrounds:
- Swift Creek – formerly Baker Lake Resort and cabins this large campground offers kayak and boat rentals + group sites. Reserve group sites up to 12 months in advance
- Panorama Point – a small campground with a handful of sites, day use area and great beach access
- Boulder Creek – for a more private, tranquil experience
- Bayview – directly across the cove from Horseshoe Cove currently only available on a first come, first serve basis
EAT AND DRINK
It can be easy to plan camping food if you keep it simple, even when camping with a group. A few potluck style meals like diy pizza, burgers and tacos allow everyone to come together ‘stone soup’ style. Otherwise let everyone fend for themselves. Of course sharing is always encouraged.
What’s better than sharing food with friends? Sharing food and wine! Happy hour is serious business at camp and there’s always wine on the table. Champagne and white wine make an appearance early in the day. While red wine continues into the evening.
group camping meal plan:
- Camp Cold Crew – cold brew + sweetened condensed milk + cream Make cold brew ahead of time or stop by your favorite local espresso stand on the way for pre-made.
- Hodge Podge Breakfast – sausage and bacon + fried potatoes with onions + peppers + scrambled eggs + biscuits and gravy + pancakes A potluck of all campers breakfast offerings.
- Campfire Wine + Cheese – assorted Decoy Wine + grilling cheese + assorted other cheeses + crackers + pita + hummus + fruits and veggies + pickles, olives + ? Ask all campers to bring an item or two to share.
- Carne Asada Tacos – Citrus Marinated Skirt Steak + Cilantro Lime Coleslaw + tortillas + guacamole + salsa + cilantro +onions Make guacamole, marinate skirt steak and prep coleslaw ahead of time. Freeze steak and store slaw and dressing separate until ready to eat.
- Grilled Pizza Dinner – pizza sauce (squeeze bottle preferred!) + pesto sauce + pizza dough + roasted garlic + mozzarella cheese + pepperoni, basil + green salad Buy dough or make ahead of time and store in oiled freezer bags.
Take advantage of the amazing local farms and pick up some of your supplies locally! Just make sure to hit the brakes if you approach Baker Lake Grocery and think you might have forgotten anything. It’s your absolute last chance.
get your supplies locally!
- Decoy Wine at many locations
- oysters from Taylor Shellfish Farm
- marinated carne asada, super fresh produce and amazing corn tortillas from Carniceria Los Compadres in Mount Vernon – just make sure to buy a few tacos from the counter while you’re there!
- breakfast pastries and bread from Calico Cupboard
- fresh produce from either the Mount Vernon Saturday Market or the Sedro Woolley Wednesday Market
- super local fruit from Jones Creek Farms right before Hamilton
In addition to being a prime location for boating, fishing, swimming, and picnicking , you can also access to a variety of spectacular trails along the lake and in the nearby Mt. Baker National Recreation Area.
- Shadow of the Sentinels trail directly outside the entrance to Horseshoe Cove and is a beautiful easy (very, very short) hike with boardwalks and lots of information along the way about the 500+ year old trees.
- for a bit of a longer adventure head out on The Baker River Trail and follow the river 2.5 miles upstream
- or, check out the nearby small Baker Hot Springs
- more experienced hikers might enjoy The Blue Lake trail
- popular with backwoods campers and overnight hikers The Baker Lake trail is very long, but with many spots to stop and turn around along the way you never feel like you’re missing out