• 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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  • Lone Mountain Fire - Trail Closures

    The Lone Mountain Fire in North Cascades National Park is approximately 5 mi NW of Stehekin in the Boulder Creek drainage. Boulder Creek and War Creek Trails are closed. More »

  • USFS closes Easy Pass Trail from State Route 20

    Due to fire activity near the trail, the US Forest Service has closed the Easy Pass trail and trailhead on State Route 20. This area has been receiving precipitation. The highway remains open.

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?

North Cascades is now on Flickr!

North Cascades National Park is uploading its digital image library to Flickr! Be inspired, download your favorite images, or even add your own vacation photographs to the group pool: Friends of the North Cascades. More...