Phillips Lake North Shoreline Trail
Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Length: 6.5 miles point to point. You can hike just a small section.
Elevation Gain: Almost completely flat
Location: Phillips Lake (20 minutes from Baker City, OR)
The North Shoreline Trail is one of my favorite hikes with little ones because you can easily make it any length you'd like and it's almost completely flat. The trail wanders along the edge of the reservoir through ponderosa pine forests and meadows. This is also a great trail to introduce your kids to mountain biking. Make sure you do a tick check afterwards; we have picked up a couple when we hike here.
Along the way you will have outstanding views of both the mountains and the lake.
Phillips Lake is a reservoir, so the water level varies a lot throughout the year. This picture was taken in April when the lake was still fairly low. It fills as the snow pack melts and then begins to lower again as the water is used for irrigation. If you are planning to combine this outing with some swimming or lake play the best time to visit is June or July.
The trail can be accessed at the Mason Dam Boat Launch, Union Creek Campground (day use fee applies), Social Security Point or Mowich Loop Picnic Area. Our favorite place to access the trail is at Social Security Point. It's free to park there, the lake access is fairly easy and there is also a vault toilet. From Social Security Point we like to hike back towards Union Creek Campground. The portion of the trail we normally hike is highlighted in yellow. We just hike for awhile and then turn around and head back. I think next time we go, we might try parking at the boat launch instead and explore that section.
Getting there: From Baker City, travel south on Highway 7. Turn left off the highway to one of the trail access points (they are all clearly marked).