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The Elbow Lake Trail is a strenuous 8 mile hike or horseback ride. Starting from its northern end at Forest Service Road #38, the trail crosses the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River and climbs steeply through lush ancient forest, reaching a viewpoint of the Twin Sisters Range at 2 miles. The trail continues at a gentler grade, passing some boggy areas and a small pond before reaching Elbow Lake at 3.7 miles.

At the south end of Elbow Lake, a spur trail goes left to two hiker campsites along the eastern shore. The main trail passes smaller Lake Doreen and reaches a junction. The left fork is the Bell Pass Trail #603.3, which leads to the Mazama Park Horse Camp in the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area. The right fork winds through pleasant forest for 3.5 more miles, gently dropping down to Bell Creek, which must be forded, and continuing to Pioneer Horse Camp and the southern Elbow Lake Trailhead. Elbow Lake and Lake Doreen are popular fishing spots. This trail enters the Mt. Baker Wilderness.

Directions: From Sedro-Woolley, Follow State Route 20 east for 17 miles to milepost 82. Turn left on the Baker Lake Highway (Forest Service Road #11). Continue on the Hwy. for 12 miles to Forest Service. Road #12 and turn left. Travel Road #12 for 14 miles and look for a sign indicating a left hand turn for the trailhead. Turn left on a short spur road which leads to Pioneer Horse Camp and Elbow Lake Trailhead. The trailhead is located on the right side of the parking area.Note: Forest Service. Road #12 is closed and gated from Nov. 1 - July 1 at Wanlick Pass, 5.4 miles before the Pioneer Camp Trailhead. To protect elk breeding habitat, no motorized vehicles are allowed beyond this point during these closure dates.

Elevation: 2,200 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

Distance: 8 miles

Usage: Moderate

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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