• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

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  • State Route 20 closed at Mile Post 134, Ross Dam

    After a brief closure at Newhalem due to an avalanche and unstable conditions, SR 20 has re-opened to its normal winter closure point at MP 134, Ross Dam. The highway will remain closed from Ross Dam to MP 171 (Silver Star Creek) until spring re-opening. More »

  • Ross Dam Haul Road Closure Continues

    A short segment of the Ross Dam Haul Road between the Diablo Lake suspension bridge and the tunnel remains closed to public use due to continued recovery following a March 2010 landslide. The closure will remain in effect through 2014. More »

  • Notice of planned work for the Cascade River Road, fall 2014

    Visitors planning to access the park via the Cascade River Road after Labor Day should be advised that the Park Service is planning a fall closure of this road at Eldorado Creek (3 miles before the end of the road) in order to perform permanent repairs. More »

Bridge Creek (Pacific Crest) Trail

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
-Walt Whitman
 
Distance - one way Elevation loss Use Difficulty
SR 20 to Bridge Creek Camp: 12.8 miles (20.5 km) 2500 ft loss (760 m)

Hiker and stock

Easy

 
Meadows just east of North Fork Camp. NPS/Rosemary Seifried
Meadows just east of North Fork Camp.
NPS/Rosemary Seifried
 

The Bridge Creek Trail is one segment of the 2,650 mile (4240 km) Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which enters North Cascades National Park at High Bridge (via the Agnes Creek Trail) then follows the Old Wagon Trail to the Bridge Creek Trail. All told, 18 miles (29 km) of the PCT pass through the park. In the fall, when the PCT hikers are passing through en masse, the trail is at its busiest, but it is a popular thoroughfare for much of the year regardless. This trail provides the shortest and least difficult hiker or stock approach to Stehekin, and it connects to many other backpacker trails. Although not as popular as some of its brethren as a day hike, it makes an excellent day ride for stock parties, and a mellow day hike.

Special Concerns:

  • The bridge at Maple Creek is removed seasonally. This creek is generally not passable during periods of high water, unless the bridge is in place. Stock use caution at high water.
  • Leashed pets are allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail only.
  • Hunting, wheeled or mechanized transport, and pets off the PCT are not allowed. Game hunted outside the park cannot be transported through the park.
  • Hikers encountering stock parties should speak to the lead rider in a calm voice and step off the trail to the downhill side where animals can see you.

Backcountry Camping: A backcountry permit is required for all overnight stays. Permits are limited. There are numerous hiker camps spaced every few miles along the entire trail. Stock camps are located at Fireweed, South Fork, and Bridge Creek.

Access via State Route 20: Drive State Route 20 to mile 159, just over one mile (1.9 km) east of Rainy Pass. The parking lot is located on the north side of the highway. To access the trail, cross the highway and look for a short connector trail that takes you to the main trail, the Pacific Crest Trail. This trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass or federal recreation access pass, which is available at any ranger station.

For more information on current trail conditions, permits, regulations and trip planning please see the Wilderness Trip Planner.

 
The chocolate lily is one of many delightful wildflowers that can be found along the trail in season. NPS/Rosemary Seifried

The chocolate lily is one of many delightful wildflowers that can be found along the trail in season.

NPS/Rosemary Seifried

Detailed Trail Description

The Bridge Creek Trail makes a gentle drop in elevation as it follows its namesake creek to its confluence with the Stehekin River. This trail melts out earlier than any other option for hiking into Stehekin--usually by mid June. In spring and early summer, the trail blooms in a profusion of wildflowers in numerous meadows and avalanche tracks. Late season it can be hot and dry, and the patches of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and other forest types provide welcome shade.

Along the way, the Bridge Creek Trail provides access to the McAlester Lake, Dagger Lake, Rainbow Lake, and North Fork trails. At Bridge Creek Camp, which makes an excellent base for exploration, trails radiate east and west and link up to many more options.

 
Wilderness logo of wolf howling at moon.
Ninety-three percent of North Cascades National Park Service Complex is designated as the Stephen Mather Wilderness, set aside by law for "the American people of present and future generations" for our protection and enjoyment. Please follow all Leave No Trace hiking and camping practices to reduce your impact on this special place and leave it unimpaired for future generations.

Did You Know?

Grizzly bear track in North Cascades National Park (1989). Photo Credit: NPS/NOCA/Roger Christophersen

Grizzly bear tracks can be a reliable indicator of species? Grizzly bear and black bear forepaw tracks are distinct from one another and often times better than a photo of the bear to confirm an observation. So don't just look up, look down.