• 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 - National Park Service 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 Trail is closed. More »

  • USFS Access Road and Trail Closures

    The following USFS trails providing backcountry access to the park service complex are closed due to Lone Mountain and Carlton Complex Fires: Twisp Pass, South Creek, Reynolds Creek, War Creek, Summit. The Twisp River Road is closed west of Eagle Creek. More »

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek Trails

The earth laughs in flowers.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
Distance - one way Elevation gain Use Difficulty

To Easy Pass: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)

2,800 ft (853 m) gain to Easy Pass

Hiker only

Strenuous

To junction with Thunder Creek Trail: 14.8 miles (24 km) 3,400 ft (1036 m) loss to junction Hiker only
Moderate
 
A family of mountain goats at Easy Pass  NPS/Pat Milliren

A family of mountain goats at Easy Pass.

NPS/Pat Milliren

Many believe the Easy Pass and Fisher Basin area to be one of the most superb places in the North Cascades. Extensive meadows are crowned by glacial peaks. The short, steep trail to the pass is anything but "easy." The views, however, are your reward: panoramic vistas of Fisher Basin and Mounts Logan, Fisher, and Arriva. In the spring and early summer, wildflowers abound, and in the autumn, golden larches make this area even more special. Backpackers will enjoy camping in Fisher Basin and along the wild and shady Fisher Creek. See the detailed trail description for more information on this area.

Special Concerns:

  • Pets are not allowed at Easy Pass or anywhere else in the national park.
  • This area has very fragile vegetation. Please take care to avoid trampling the vegetation by hiking and resting only on durable surfaces such as the trail, snow or rocks.
  • Camping is not allowed at Easy Pass.
  • The north side of this trail usually has steep snow well into July. An ice axe is necessary to safely traverse the steep snow.

Backcountry Camping: A backcountry permit is required for all overnight stays. Permits are limited. There is no camping allowed at Easy Pass or in the meadows. Fisher Camp is located in the basin below the pass. Midway along the Fisher Creek Trail, find Cosho Camp in the forest, and Junction Camp is located at the intersection with the Thunder Creek Trail.

Access: Follow State Route 20 to mile 151. The trailhead is located on the south side of the highway. A US Forest Service Northwest Forest Pass is required to park here.

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

 
Hiking through wildflower meadows with Fisher Peak beyond. NPS/Autumn Carlsen
Hiking through wildflower meadows with Fisher Peak beyond.
NPS/Autumn Carlsen
 

Detailed Trail Description

Three hundred yards (270 m) from the trailhead, cross Granite Creek on a footlog and head up into the forest. After two miles (3 km) of western hemlock and Pacific silver fir forests, the trail emerges into avalanche paths on the flanks of Ragged Ridge. Look for spring-time glacier lilies emerging from the snow. The pass can be seen high above. The trail now climbs steeply, crossing Easy Pass Creek three times, traversing steep rock slopes and avalanche meadows. Look and listen for pika and hoary marmots. The trail can be lost in lingering snow fields. An ice axe is advised through early summer.

Easy Pass is spectacular, separating Granite Creek Valley and the drier mountains to the east from the glacier-mantled peaks ringing the Fisher Creek drainage to the west. Scattered clumps of trees include subalpine larch, subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, and farther up the ridge, whitebark pine. The larch, a deciduous conifer which turns gold before losing its needles in the fall, is found only in the northern fringes of the United States and the eastern ridges of the North Cascades.

The trail into Fisher Basin is steep and scenic. Massive Mt. Logan looms ahead. Lush meadows bloom in pinks, reds, purples, whites, and yellows. Deer and smaller mammals abound. Black bear are often seen grazing in the meadows, eating huckleberries. Just prior to protection under the National Park Act in 1968, one of the last grizzly bears in the North Cascades was shot here. The Fisher name comes from the Fisher brothers who ran a trap line here in the early 1900s.

Fisher Camp is at the edge of the meadows, two miles (3 km) beyond the pass. Leaving the meadows, the trail descends gently, entering the mature silver fir forest of the Fisher Creek Valley. Creekside Cosho Camp is in the deep forest, 6 miles (9.6 km) beyond the pass. This is an entirely different life zone, home to martin, owls and their prey, including flying squirrels, voles, and deer mice. Continuing down valley, the forest gradually changes to mid-elevation species of western redcedar, western hemlock and cottonwood in stream flats. A mile from Junction Camp, an old trapper's cabin is semi-hidden just off the trail. Rock Cabin was built against a great rock, using the rock as one wall. This unique cabin has been stabilized by the National Park Service, and today serves as a reminder of the human history in this remote valley.

Junction Camp is situated near Fisher Creek on the ridge overlooking Thunder Creek Valley. Views are good from this area, including a glimpse of Boston Glacier in the distance. From Junction, you have several options: retrace your steps to the Easy Pass trailhead; hike down the Thunder Creek Trail 10 miles (16 km) to Colonial Creek and State Route 20; or head 17 miles (27 km) up and over Park Creek Pass and into the Stehekin Valley.

 
 
Forest Trail Panorama
The lower Fisher Creek Trail enters another, wetter and warmer, world.
NPS/Rob Burrows
 
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?

Junior Ranger Totem: Raven

Anyone can become a North Cascades Junior Ranger! Pick up one of the four FREE activity booklets at any of the visitor or information centers. Complete the activities and earn your official junior ranger badge! Download the booklet here. More...