Mt. Baker Hot Spring & Swift Creek Trail

A few buddies from high school and I planned out a camping trip in Washington over the last week. We drove from Burien, WA to Mt. Baker, an active stratovolcano and surrounded by a national forest about an hour northeast of Seattle. The road was filled with crater-like potholes and it felt like we left a few pieces of the car behind, but eventually we stumbled onto a turnout with a spraypainted stone that read "Hot Spring". We lucked out and found a firepit a short walk away and set up camp.

The hot spring was awesome, but it was never vacant. Out of respect for the half-nude hotspringers, I wasn't able to get a good picture, but here's one I found online.

Swift Creek

The highlight of the trip was Swift Creek Trail, a gorgeous, wild-berry filled 8 mile hike across Rainbow Creek ending on the shore of Swift Creek.

Ripe, delicious huckleberries and thimbleberries (my new favorite berry) were abundant on the hike and around the campsite. We came across a few ripe blackberries and strawberries too. I probably ate around a couple hundred berries over the trip.

Rainbow Creek had a large fallen tree fashioned into a bridge across the creek with a handline. Crossing it was a little nerve-wracking the first time, but after spending a day climbing fallen trees upstream in search of berries, it was like a walk in the park.

After Rainbow Creek, the trail became hard to follow and overrun with foliage. It was easy to get lost in the lush forestry and spectacular views.

The trail took us up and around a mountain and eventually to the shore of Swift Creek. The creek was crystal clear and was surprisingly rapid. We weren't dressed to cross it safely, so we spent some time exploring up and down the shore before heading back. We had run out of fresh water so the crystal clear, ice-cold Swift Creek water was incredibly satisfying.

Hiking Route