At the junction with the Price Canyon Trail, Baker Canyon is blown out with cobble wall to wall, through the narrows, but the trail can be intermittently found further up the canyon and while it's quite overgrown and crossings are damaged, large sections of trail still exist.
From where the trail leaves Baker Canyon to Baker Canyon Saddle, the trail is very faint, overgrown and has intermittent deadfall, but is followable by experienced navigators as of May 2017.
From Baker Canyon Saddle to its junction with the Crest Trail near the top of Sentinel Peak, the trail was maintained extensively in April 2014, with numerous logs cut off the trail and encroaching oak and aspen removed. As of May 2017, Baker Canyon Saddle is covered in deadfall and can be difficult to navigate between the three junctions—refer to the trail descriptions, map below, and coordinates to figure out this area.
The Baker Canyon Trail can be accessed from three locations.
The Jones Ridge Trail, (31.80833, -109.23970) Horseshoe Ridge Trail (31.80858, -109.23956) and an unnamed connector trail from Horseshoe Ridge (31.80945, -109.24040) all connect in along a 0.1 mile stretch at Baker Canyon Saddle. The first two junctions are signed but only traces of the signs can be found post-fire and all are unreadable. The connector trail's junction is not signed.
The higher-elevation northeastern terminus is located at a three way junction with the southeastern terminus of the eastern leg of the Crest Trail and the short spur trail to the top of Sentinel Peak. This junction lies among a stand of aspen which may partially obscure the trail and is marked by two signs. (31.81406, -109.24235)
Two separate dual-post signs, one for each trail, mark the junction of the Baker Canyon Trail with the Price Canyon Trail, which currently exists on a small "island" of surviving trail, surrounded by flood-damage and cobble from both Price Canyon and Baker Canyon. (31.79324, -109.25317) The trail heads roughly east, up the canyon and through the narrows, though there is no tread visible at this point. After several hundred feet, you will pass through the Baker Canyon narrows, where high rock walls come close together.
Just past the narrows, and about 400 feet beyond the start of the trail, the tread climbs out of the blown out canyon bottom to the left, (31.79350, -109.25201) passing through an overgrown section of oak heading east-northeast before turning northeast to parallel the creek. Over the course of the next ⅔ mile, the rough trail alternates back and forth across the canyon bottom, crossing the blown out creekbed as it makes its way up Baker Canyon.
After a little over 0.2 mile, a side drainage with perhaps even more damage than the main canyon connects in from the east. (31.79575, -109.25019) Make sure to follow the main fork instead. Pieces of the trail follow the west side of the "ridge" that separate the two drainages, but are quite overgrown, faint, and intermittent. A little over ⅓ of a mile past the blown out side canyon, the trail crosses to the west side of Baker Canyon (31.79944, -109.24729) and stays there for about 300 feet before coming to the final crossing of the canyon bottom before the trail climbs away to the ridge. (31.80030, -109.24718)
From a large rock cairn (31.80039, -109.24714) marking where the trail departs the canyon bottom, the Baker Canyon Trail climbs up to the north, passing through oak brush. Though it is somewhat overgrown at the bottom, tread can still be found and followed. After about 200 feet, it makes a brief bend to the left and then back to the right in another 100 feet, (31.80101, -109.24697) starting a roughly north-northeastern climb. In 260 feet, the trail enters the treeline (31.80162, -109.24656) and curves north.
In 800 feet, it makes its first major directional change as it angles hard into a side canyon off Baker and heads northeast. (31.80378, -109.24638) It maintains this heading for over 500 feet, passing through some very faint and narrow tread to the first of four switchbacks. (31.80449, -109.24485) Turning southwest, it's another 500 feet to the second, (31.80355, -109.24577) then 600 feet northeast again to the third. (31.80423, -109.24411) The 400 foot section between the third and fourth switchback crosses a wide, burned drainage and is fairly faint, but starts out south, then turns west-southwest halfway through, ultimately turning southwest at the very end before coming to the switchback proper. (31.80354, -109.24477) A game trail continues southwest from here, so be sure to turn east to follow the correct trail.
There are no further switchbacks until Baker Canyon Saddle, and the trail again crosses the burned drainage it just passed through below, heading east-northeast and then north-northeast nearly 400 feet after the last switchback. (31.80360, -109.24367) This area can be quite faint as well, but you'll pick up the trail quite clearly in another 350 feet or so as it enters living trees again. Within 100 feet of doing so, it will turn northeast (31.80470, -109.24297) and continue in a straight shot for 550 feet until it crosses a drainage (31.80532, -109.24136), turning north, then northeast again over the next 400 feet before crossing another small drainage. (31.80614, -109.24068)
From there, it's a straight shot to Baker Canyon Saddle for the last 900 feet—first north, then angling slightly to north-northeast. The tread becomes quite clear in here, though it is somewhat overgrown by oak in places.
There are three junctions in the Baker Canyon Saddle area.
The first, and southernmost, is with the Jones Ridge Trail which heads southwest above and parallel to the Baker Canyon Trail. This junction was marked by two signs, but both burned in 2011 and all that remain are stumps of the posts. (31.80833, -109.23969)
The second, 100 feet northeast, is with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. There is still a sign standing here, but it burned so badly that it's no longer readable. (31.80858, -109.23956) That trail exits the junction to the northeast before curving northwest while the Baker Canyon Trail takes the left fork and begins climbing northwest.
The final junction is 420 feet northwest of the second and is with a 0.1 mile connector that heads north and can be used to avoid unnecessary elevation loss when combining the upper Baker Canyon Trail to or from Sentinel Peak, and the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. There is no sign at this junction. (31.80945, -109.24040)
The Baker Canyon Trail swings west through several small rock-lined bends and enters a stand of living pine and fir. After a little over 300 feet, it switchbacks to the right, then makes 5 more switchbacks over the next third of a mile, remaining under tree cover. The trail is in good condition here and very easy to follow. This is an ideal route for ascending the peak, as you remain in the shade most of the way to the top.
At the final switchback, a rock outcrop just off-trail (31.81042, -109.24327) provides a good observation point for Jones Ridge, Price Canyon and Horseshoe Canyon. From here, the trail heads north, curving gradually to the northeast along the eastern slope of Sentinel Peak, and exits tree cover into a brushy zone after 0.16 mile. A firebreak crosses the trail after a little over a tenth of a mile, (31.81390, -109.24195) so take care to avoid mistaking it for a switchback. The actual trail curves to the west over its final 160 feet, entering a stand of small aspen which can frequently be found growing up into the trail for the last approximately 30 feet. The upper terminus of the Baker Canyon Trail (31.81402, -109.24238) is at a three-way junction with the southeastern terminus of the Crest Trail and a very visible 420 foot spur trail to the top of Sentinel Peak. This junction is signed.
The fire lookout atop Sentinel Peak was removed long ago, but its foundation and a metal plaque in its honor can still be seen. (31.81373, -109.24272) The view from the top is about the best in the region.
Last updated May 15, 2017.