Description - The Baker Ranger district covers 309,590 acres of the Wallowa-Whitman Nation Forest. Contained within the District are nine developed campsites, 10 developed campgrounds, and 116 miles of trails. The District is also home to the North Fork of the John Day River, and the North Powder River. The district also offers many different types of activities in the winter.
- The district has within it two nationally designated Wild and Scenic rivers, The North Fork of the John Day River, and the North Powder River. Both of these rivers have been recognized as being abundant in scenery, geology, heritage resources, recreational opportunities, and wildlife.
There are also many picnic areas, scenic overlooks, boat launches, and observation points within the district.
Recreation - There are many opportunities for recreation within the Baker Ranger district.
Camping - Baker District provides a wide variety of camping experiences and levels in two distinct areas: the Sumpter Valley area and the Anthony Lakes area. There are five campgrounds in the Sumpter Valley, ranging from rustic in nature to one level 5 urban setting campground called Union Creek. Union Creek Campground on Phillips Lake offers 67 units (with 24 units having full RV hookups), flush toilets, picnic area, swimming area, a large boat launch facility, fish cleaning station, telephones, and other amenities. Union Creek is operated under a concession special use permit. The Anthony Lakes area encompasses four other campgrounds that provide for climatic relief from the Baker Valley. Recently, four campsites within Grande Ronde Lake Campground were renovated to accommodate larger recreational vehicles and to make them more accessible.
Hiking - There are over 100 miles of trail on the District including over 20 miles of trail in the Baldy Unit of the North Fork John Day Wilderness. The Elkhorn Crest National Recreation Trail can be accessed form several points with many connector trails creating a diverse trail system. Many of the trails enter the wilderness thus not allowing loop trails for motorized use. Many of the trails are old packer routes and are not in good locations, and many are in need of heavy maintenance or relocation. The view afforded from many of the trails are spectacular, but access to many of the trailheads is limited to 4x4 only.
Winter Recreation - The Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort provides for downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as catering to snowmobilers and other winter recreationists. The resort has recently proposed adding an RV park, overnight accommodations, and development of the Big Bert lift and associated ski runs on the backside of the present area. The area offers approximately 10K of groomed cross-country skiing trails on six individual trails. The Phillips Lake system offers up to 16K of ungroomed cross-country trails on four interconnecting trails. There are over 100 miles of groomed snowmobile trails on the District. These snowmobile trails are groomed and maintained by Oregon State Snowmobile Association. There are abundant opportunities to explore the rest of the District on ungroomed trails.
Recreational gold panning and dredging are also allowed in some parts of the district.
Climate - The diversity in elevation on the Wallowa-Whitman can also cause unpredictable weather with temperatures ranging from winter nighttime lows of 30 degrees Fahrenheit in alpine country to over 100 degrees in the summer at lower elevations near the Snake River. Precipitations also vary greatly. Changes in weather are common, but summers are generally warm and dry with cool evenings. Cold, snowy winters and mild temperatures during spring and fall can be expected.
The Baker Ranger district is located within Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, in between the La Grande and Unity Ranger districts. It is just west of the town of Baker.