Sit, soak, and slow down in the Baker Hot Springs geothermal pools. About an hour-and-a-half outside of Bellingham, in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, this is a hidden sanctuary.

The drive itself is more strenuous than the hike to access these secluded hot springs. Traveling along North Cascades Highway and down Baker Lake Road will lead you to a service road, Forest Road 1130. That will take you up to the trailhead. Be prepared for gravel instead of pavement and plenty of pot holes, but the payoff is worth it. (Best not to visit in winter—the road can be difficult and sometimes impassable.)

Once you finally reach the end of the road, you’ll see multiple trails departing from the clearing. One will have a spray-painted rock with the words “Hot Springs” written on it. After about a half-mile on this effortless trail, you’ll reach the natural hot springs.

Because of the remoteness of this spot, the springs are usually empty and waiting for you. The steam rising from the still water is extremely inviting.

Soaking in the pools doubles as a sort of mud bath, as the natural sediment in the warm water will ease aches and pains, and detoxify the skin. Like many natural hot springs, you’ll have to bear with some sulfuric aroma. Be kind to this magical spot and leave no trace—some visitors have found unwelcome trash from previous parties, though we didn’t.

The main pool can fit about 10 people and is about three feet deep. The smaller pool crests the ankles, and can only fit about two. So bring some friends for a relaxing departure from the stress of day-to-day life in the Baker Hot Springs.

Quick Stats

Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.6 miles
Pass/fee: Northwest Forest Pass
Elevation: 59 feet

"Be kind to this magical spot and leave no trace."