Baker Lake is a 2.4 mile out and back trail located near Darby, MT and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from July until September.
Not for beginner hikers. We left late in the day and turned back at 1.25 miles. Was demanding, beautiful, and isolated. I will return to complete this hike. Spectacular scenery.
Direction link to google was wrong. We made it down the trail less than five minutes and walked up on a bear. That freaked my girlfriend out enough to not hike the rest of the trail. The drive up and down was beautiful.
My wife and I found Baker Lake by accident last fall on vacation. We were hiking and obviously on a different trail system because we were making some real elevation climb or maybe its because we are old but we were really digging down to keep climbing. We were told there was a lake called Gem Lake near and we found a little bog and thought "this is a lake?" so we enjoyed the nice scenery and decided to move on a little more before heading back since we didn't really take much of an established trail and then BAM there was one of the most beautiful, pristine, and serene lakes I had ever seen. There was nobody else on the mountain according to the three trail heads we drove by and eventually backtracked and picked one (obviously the wrong one because we were told this was Baker Lake by forest service later). It was absolutely beautiful with no other souls around and nothing but sheer silence and beauty. Knowing Montana has these little gardens of eden convinced my wife and I to make this our new home state when we retire in a few years.
We just did this hike today. It leads to a beautiful little lake. There was very heavy traffic though, we saw several hikers, there were 20-25 cars parked at the trailhead. We also saw 6 kids, probably ages 5-10, so it might be a good trail to bring your kids on. If you want to go past Baker Lake, you can also reach Middle and Gem Lake, although the trail past Baker can be a little confusing, we had to back track once. We brought our 4 dogs, but you'll need a leash since this is a popular trail. We really enjoyed this hike though and will definitely do it again!
This was a beautiful hike with lots of interesting terrain. The mosquito's were particularly bad in a few boggy areas, but otherwise ok. We went in late June so the air temp was warm enough to encourage a dip in the lake. The lake is formed from glacial run-off so naturally you will want to make it a quick swim to guard against potential hypothermia. If you can take it, it's a nice way to "rejuvenate the soul", and the warmer air feels like a warm blanket as soon as you get out. Very rad experience and and amazing day!
The drive on the dirt fire road is well worth the 45 minutes from the highway. After a steep rocky 3/4 mile the trail levels off to a gentle climb. The last part of the trail is hard to follow, but they all lead to the pretty lake. We saw lots of fish, for those who want to carry poles on their hike.