Trail Conditions

Fireweed in bloom. Fireweed is one of the first plants to recolonize recently burned areas.

Fireweed in bloom.  Fireweed is one of the first plants to recolonize recently burned landscapes.

NPS Photo/S. Boerke

General Conditions

October 03, 2015

Autumn has come to the North Cascades. Longer nights, cooler day- and night-time temperatures, and moister air are the norm. The many wildfires of 2015--as many as fifteen burning simultaneously at one point--have all become inactive. With the smoke gone, the crisp autumn air provides ample opportunity to enjoy the alpine fall colors, twinkling starlight, and moonlight whenever clouds and morning fog don't add their brushstrokes to the scene.

Backcountry travelers should be prepared for a variety of conditions this time of year, including high winds, snow, and cold rain, but also lots of sun on trails above tree line. Stream crossings can become dangerous due to flash flood events caused by thunderstorms and heavy rains, especially in drainages that have experienced wildfires in recent years. Do not attempt to cross a stream with strong current if you cannot see the stream bed. Check specific trail conditions below and get the most current information at a ranger station before starting out on your trip.

Trail crews are wrapping up their work. Trails that were cleared during the summer may see new down trees due to the summer's dry conditions, so expect to encounter downed trees. Always check the latest forecast before your trip and leave an itinerary and trip plans with someone at home.

Backcountry permits are required year round and are available at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount and at some other stations. Whenever and wherever you travel in the wilderness, please be safe and touch the wilderness gently. Know and practice Leave No Trace camping and hiking. Please e-mail us if you have trail conditions to report.


Closures and Notices

Partial closure of the Cascade River Road. Beginning September 8, 2015, the road is closed to all vehicle and foot traffic at MP 20, Eldorado Creek, three miles before the Cascade Pass Trailhead. This impacts climbers and hikers seeking access to Cascade Pass, Horseshoe Basin, Sahale Arm trails and Forbidden, Sharkfin and Sahale peaks among others. The closure is necessary to repair damage at Boston Creek which washed out in 2009 and again in 2013 stranding over 70 visitors at the trailhead.

Hard-sided food canisters are required at select backcountry camps and cross-country areas. In order to protect visitors and wildlife and to maintain the wilderness character of North Cascades National Park Complex, hard-sided food canisters are required from June 1 to November 15 for camping at ten backcountry camps and all or parts of five cross-country zones. More information on food storage requirements, including maps of cross-country zones where canisters are required. Full statement on canister policy.

Diablo Lake Trail -- east end (near dam) remains closed at the suspension bridge. Work will be continuing in 2015 for repairs to Seattle City Light dock facilities, so the trail remains closed at one end until repairs are complete. Note that the trail is still accessible from the west end, beginning at the Environmental Learning Center. See map of closure area.


Trail Name

Elevation &
Trail Type

Reported Conditions

Agnes Gorge

Trailhead at 1700', trail's end 2000'

Hiker only

Cleared of down trees.

Baker River

Trailhead at 800', trail's end at 900'

Hiker only

A beautiful forest hike for the whole family. Trail is in good condition.

This trail begins on Forest Service land and crosses into the National Park: dogs are not allowed in the National Park and backcountry permits are required to stay at Sulphide Creek Camp.

Big Beaver

Ross Dam Trailhead at 2100'. Big Beaver 1600'. Beaver Pass 3654'

Hiker, Stock

Two down trees, easily passable. There is no water on the trail between Big Beaver Camp and 39 Mile Creek. Plenty of water between 39 Mile Camp and Luna Camp. Two water sources between Luna and Beaver Pass about 2 miles southeast of Beaver Pass. There was no water at Beaver Pass in September.

Boulder Creek

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

Dry and dusty with several brushy areas. Four water sources between Hooter and Rennie camps, 2 water sources between Rennie and Reynolds and 2 between Reynolds Camp and Juanita Lake. Some down trees within the section of trail that passes through recent fires.

Rennie Creek footlog is located upstream of the ford, marked with signs and a new trail from both sides of the creek. Lower sections burned in 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire and the 2014 Lone Mountain Fire. Blowdowns are common on this trail due to past forest fires.
Brush Creek to Whatcom Pass

Whatcom Pass: 5055'

Hiker, Stock

Clear of down trees.There is no water between Graybeal and Whatcom Pass. (09/03)

Hard sided food storage canisters strongly recommended at Whatcom Camp due to limited tree limbs and high animal activity.
Bullion Loop
Trailhead 1500'
Hiker, Stock
Cascade Pass /

Sahale Arm/

Horseshoe Basin

Trailhead 3660', Cascade Pass 5400', Sahale Glacier camp 7600'

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Cascade Pass Trail: The Cascade Pass area is only accessible from the east. THE CASCADE PASS AREA IS NOT ACCESSIBLE FROM THE CASCADE RIVER ROAD. The road is CLOSED to all visitor use, including via foot, through late October due to on-going construction and heavy vehicle use. (09/08)

Cleared of downed trees. Trail crew working in the area. Expect to see tools and workers at the pass and along the trail. Water source at Johannesburg Camp is dry--bring your own water. One small stream mid-way between the pass and Pelton Basin Camp. Doubtful Creek and Basin Creek are reliable water sources. (09/15)

The Trapper Lake Outlet area is closed to both travel and camping until 2016 after being burned over by the Glory Fire. This includes the Trapper Outlet Camp and the outlet approach. (08/30)

Pelton Basin: Some minor rock fall on the trail between the pass and Pelton Basin Camp. Cleared of downed trees and mostly brushed between Pelton Basin and Cottonwood (09/15). Doubtful Creek is a ford--during early season snow-melt it can be dangerous to cross. The Basin Creek footlog has been installed for 2015.

Sahale Arm: Trail crew will be working on the Sahale Arm Trail. Expect to see tools and workers. No water on the trail until ~0.25 mile below the Glacier Camp. Water available at the Camp (09/15). FOOD CANISTERS REQUIRED at Sahale Glacier camp June 1 - Nov 15.

Horseshoe Basin: Clear of downed trees and brushed. Waterfalls are still flowing strong (09/15). Very wet trail in early season.

Company Creek

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

This trail is closed at the NPS/USFS boundary due to the Wolverine Fire. (08/18). Clear of downed trees to Hilgard Pass and down to Holden. Trail is still brushy. Must ford Company Creek at 5 miles. Trail is obscure around Hilgard Pass.
Copper Ridge

Copper Lookout: 6260'

Hiker only

No water between Boundary Camp and the ridge. Water on the ridge is available at Copper and Egg Lakes. No water at Hannegan Pass or Silesia Camp--must get water at Egg Lake (1 mile round-trip). (09/03)

Many downed trees between north end of Copper Ridge and the Chilliwack River. Very brushy at low elevations on the north end of the ridge, near the ford of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek. No reliable water between the outlet of Copper Lake and the Chilliwack River. Water levels at the fords are low, but snow and recent rain events can cause levels to rise quickly. Be prepared for fluctuating river crossings.(09/03).

No bridge over the northern crossing of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek. The ford varies greatly depending on rain or meltoff events and may be impassable or very deep in early season or after significant rain events.

Dagger Lake / Twisp Pass

Fireweed 3900', Dagger Lake 5508', Twisp Pass 6100'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees in 2015.

Backcountry permits required for overnight stays at Stiletto Lake.

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Cleared of downed trees from Lightning Creek to 2 miles up the climb of Desolation. No water on the route or at the camp. Be sure to get water before starting the climb and carry plenty with you.

Summer: No water source at Desolation Camp once snow is gone. Food storage canisters required at Desolation Camp June 1 - Nov. 15.

Devore Creek

NPS boundary at 2000'

Hiker only

Trail is closed at the NPS/USFS boundary due to the Wolverine Fire. Expect fire crew activity. Cleared of downed trees to the NPS/USFS boundary.
Diablo Lake

Trailhead 1200' - max. 2000'

Hiker only

Cleared of down trees in 2015.

Suspension bridge is CLOSED at east end (far end from Environmental Learning Center). Cannot access Ross Haul Road or points east due to a 2010 rock slide that closed the haul road. It is not possible to connect to the Sourdough Trail.

East Bank / Hozomeen Lake

Trailhead 1800', Hozomeen Lake (highest pt.) ~2900'

Hiker, stock

Several trees down between Hozomeen Lake and Lightning Creek Camp. Roland Creek ford is low. No water source between East Bank/Hidden Hand Junction and Roland Creek.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

From Highway 20: Water is available at small creeks within the first mile and again at the crossings of Easy Pass Creek. Some trees down but easily passable.

Fisher Creek Valley: Several large downed trees between Fisher Camp and Cosho Camp. All are negotiable. A few patches of brush on the route. Most downed trees and brushy areas have been cleared. Three new footbridges on the trail including one crossing Logan Creek (09/03).

Flat Creek

1700' - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees. Very brushy, especially beyond the park boundary. Log crossing of West Fork of Flat Creek at mile 3.
Fourth of July Pass

Thunder Creek 1200', 4th of July Pass 3500'

Hiker only

Cleared of trees in 2015. No campfires allowed--please bring a campstove if planning to backpack to Fourth of July Camp.

Goode Ridge

Trailhead 2200', ridge 6600'

Hiker, stock

Can be a very hot, dry climb on sunny days. Carry plenty of water. Several large down trees (15+) require some navigation.

Summer: Water only available for the first 1.5 miles. Carry adequate water past this point to stay hydrated.

Hannegan Pass / Chilliwack River

Trailhead 3000', Hannegan Pass 5060', Canadian border 2000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of down trees from Boundary Camp to Bear Creek. The trail is closed to stock north / east of U.S. Cabin due to bridge maintenance. Hikers are fine to pass. (09/03).

Recent rain and snow events can cause water levels to change rapidly. Be prepared for fluctuating river crossings.

There is a cable car over the Chilliwack River north of US Cabin Camp--gloves recommended, car can be heavy to pull oneself along.

Pets and hunting are not allowed in the National Park. Trail not maintained north of Bear Creek Camp. No access to Canada (consider it a cross-country route).

Happy Panther

1700 - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees. Difficult for stock.

Hidden Lake

Trailhead 3700', Hidden Lake: 5700', Hidden Lake Lookout: 6,700'

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Trail is in good condition. Second crossing of Sibley Creek, 2.5 miles before reaching the lookout, is last reliable water source. Hidden Lake is NOT easily accessible--do not rely on it as a water source. Be prepared for extended sun exposure.

Backcountry CAMPING PERMITS are REQUIRED past the saddle and down to Hidden Lake.

Food canisters required in Hidden Lake Cross Country Zone June 1 - Nov. 15. Reaching the lake requires descending a steep boulder field--no trail to lake shore. Pets and hunting are not allowed beyond the ridge or down to the lake.

Jack Mountain Trail

East Bank Trail (2000') to NPS boundary (5900'). Little Jack summit at 6750'.

Hiker only

Trail is not maintained on a regular basis, some sections can be overgrown, eroded and rough in some places. Very limited water on trail, carry plenty in order to stay hydrated on sunny days.

Lakeshore Trail

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees. This trail was burned over in 2010, so new blowdowns are common.

Little Beaver to Whatcom Pass

Ross Lake 1600', Stillwell ~ 2500', Whatcom Pass 5200'

Hiker only from Little Beaver to Stillwell.

West of junction with Big Beaver Trail: Snow-free and cleared of downed trees. Trail from Twin Rocks to Whatcom Pass is completely clear of brush. There are a couple of narrow, steep washouts, one requiring a wet ford. Water at Twin Rocks and at a couple of creeks west of camp while you are still in the valley. No water after this until Whatcom Pass.

Canisters are strongly recommended for camping at Whatcom Camp. There are very few trees from which to hang food.

East of junction with Big Beaver Trail: Cleared of down trees in 2015.

McAlester Lake / South Pass

Fireweed 3900', McAlester Pass 6000', South Pass 6300'

Hiker, stock

Two down trees that will be challenging for stock. No water at High Camp. Closest water is mid-way between McAlester Lake and McAlester Pass (0.5 miles from High Camp).

McGregor Mountain

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees in 2015. Food storage canisters are recommended for camping at Heaton Camp. Hanging is difficult and proper food storage is critical to keep wildlife wild.

In 2014, mudslide damage occurred one half mile below Heaton Camp--some tread repair completed.

Summer: Water is sparse, but usually available about 3/4 of a mile below Heaton Camp. Reaching the summit requires steep rocky scrambling on scree. Difficult in any season.

Monogram Lake / Lookout Mountain

Trailhead 1300', Monogram Lake 4872'

Hiker only

Clear of down trees. Fall colors and conditions are reaching their end. Water at a stream crossing just before the turnoff, then again at Monogram Lake. Look for new tent pads and separate cooking areas. Do not camp on the lake shore.

Pets and hunting are not allowed in National Park. FOOD CANISTERS are required for camping at Monogram Lake June 1 - Nov. 15. Backcountry Permits required for camping at Monogram Lake year-round.

North Fork Bridge Creek

2800' to 4200'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of down trees in 2015. Brushed. Crossing Grizzly Creek requires a ford of 3 channels -- all can run high and fast and can be unsafe to ford during early season snow-melt and after large rain events.

Trail is often faint and hard to follow in northern-most 2 miles. Several washouts from summer 2013 are passable for hikers, but may require some route-finding. Washout areas may not be passable for stock. Grizzly Creek Camp rebuilt in 2012 south of Grizzly Creek ford. Due to repeated flooding of Grizzly Creek, Grizzly Creek Stock Camp is permanently closed--stock should use Walker Park.

Pacific Crest Trail North

(Bridge Creek Trail)
Bridge Creek Trailhead: 4640'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees in 2015. Dry and dusty with just a few brushy sections. Footbridge over Maple Creek has been removed for the season. Maple Creek is your best on-trail water source between North Fork Camp and the intersection with Twisp Pass Trail.

Stock ford of Maple Creek can be very challenging or impassable during large rain or snow-melt events.

Since 2012: Bridge over Bridge Creek one mile south of SR 20 collapsed and was replaced with a temporary foot log and stock ford. Stock headed to Fireweed Stock Camp must ford Bridge Creek twice between Hwy 20 the Camp.

Pacific Crest Trail South

(Old Wagon Trail and Agnes Creek Trail)

NPS Boundary 1700' - Bridge Creek 2300'

Hiker, stock

Old Wagon Trail: Clear and open. Bears frequently seen around Bridge Creek Camp area. Proper food storage is absolutely essential at all times around Bridge Creek Camp.

Agnes Creek Trail: Clear and open.

South of the Park, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Since 2014: Due to hazard trees, it is not safe to camp at Hemlock Camp. Alternative camps include 2.4 miles south of Suiattle Pass (just before entering Sitting Bull Basin), Cedar Camp 2.8 miles north of Hemlock Camp, and 1.9 miles up the South Fork Agnes Creek Trail.

The bridge over Agnes Creek at Hemlock Camp is out of service. There is a re-route for PCT hikers (no stock allowed) to South Fork Agnes Trail. Stock parties must ford Agnes Creek and continue on the PCT, NOT the South Fork Agnes Trail re-route.

Panther Creek

Trailhead 1800', Panther Camp ~2000', Fourth of July Pass 3500'

Hiker only

Cleared of downed trees between Hwy 20 and Panther Camp. Very brushy in sections. Panther Camp was rebuilt and relocated in 2012 and is 3.7 miles from the trailhead (~0.5 miles southwest of the old camp). New bridge built in 2013 over Panther Creek.

Park Creek Pass

Trailhead (Stehekin River)2300', Pass 6100'

Hiker, stock

Due to the Goode Fire, Park Creek Trail will be closed until further notice (including through the 2015-2016 winter) from Two Mile Camp to Park Creek Pass (09/11).

Two Mile Camp is re-opened but Five Mile Camp and the western approach to Mount Goode and Storm King remain closed.

Cleared of downed trees to Two Mile Camp. Footlog installed over Park Creek at Two Mile. Two Mile Camp re-located to the eastside of Park Creek.

Trail is not recommended for stock due to crossing of Park Creek at Two Mile, although the water level during late summer may be safe enough for stock to ford.

Note: Buckner Camp, as seen on some old maps, no longer exists due to flood damage.

Purple Creek / War Creek

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6900', War Creek Pass 6500'

Hiker, stock

Several downed trees between Purple Creek Trailhead and Juanita Lake. Only water source is at crossing of Purple Creek 2 miles from Stehekin. Very slow-flowing spring near Juanita Lake--the lake is stagnant and not an attractive water source in late season.

Campfires are not allowed at Juanita Lake Camp--bring camp stove for cooking.

Pyramid Lake

Trailhead 1100', Lake 2600'

Hiker only

Please help protect the Natural Research Area. CAMPING or FIRES not allowed at Pyramid Lake or along Pyramid Creek.
Rainbow Creek

McAlester Pass 6000'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees in 2015. Rainbow Ford foot bridge is installed for season.

Southern end of this trail passes through the 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire zone. There are many downed trees between Rainbow Ford and Rainbow Bridge camps.
Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake 5630', Bowan Pass 6200'

Hiker, stock

North of Bowan Pass: Cleared of downed trees. There are several large rocks in the scree field north of Bowan Pass that have partially blocked the trail. Trail not recommended for stock north of Rainbow Lake.

South of Bowan Pass: Trail from Bench Creek to Rainbow Meadows in good condition. Downed trees are passable for hikers but will be difficult for stock. Trail tread is eroded in a few places on the south side of Bowan Pass--footing is very loose and requires care to cross.

Must ford Bridge Creek at South Fork Camp. The ford runs very high and is impassable before mid-summer and after significant rain events. Do not expect to be able to safely connect to the Bridge Creek Trail/Pacific Crest Trail until mid-summer. Turn back if unsafe. Note: Currently, the ford is ~1.5 feet deep and hikers have safely crossed at South Fork Camp.

Rainbow Loop

Elevation 1200' to 2200'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees. Hikers use caution as blow downs are common due to 2010 wild fire.
Sourdough / Pierce Mountain

Trailhead at 900', Sourdough Camp at 5055'. Lookout is at 5968'

Hiker only

Sourdough Trail: A handful of down trees, all easily passable. No water before reaching Sourdough Camp. Trail is cleared of downed trees from trailhead to ~3,500' (roughly 1.5 miles below Sourdough Camp) (09/28).

Pierce Mountain Trail: Carry plenty of water before heading up the trail--only water source is at small pools at Pierce Mountain Camp. The ridgeline can be difficult to follow in cloudy conditions. Cairns mark the trail just east of the lookout. East of Pierce Mountain Camp the trail is somewhat difficult to follow due to brush and downed trees.

After snow-melt, no water available on Pierce Mountain Trail except from pools at Pierce Mountain Camp which will dry up as the summer progresses. Carry plenty of water if ascending the trail from the junction with Big Beaver Trail.

Hard-sided food canister required at Sourdough and Pierce Mountain Camps June 1 - Nov. 15. Pets and hunting are not allowed past the National Park boundary (about 2 miles from trailhead).

Stetattle Creek

Trailhead at 900'

Hiker only

Cleared of downed debris in 2015. Several challenging trail sections in the first 1/4 mile where the creek has eroded the bank and trail (some scrambling and hand holds). Not recommended for beginners or families with small children.

Stiletto Spur / Stiletto Peak

4000' to ~6100'

Hiker, stock

Stiletto Peak Trail: Route-finding required to reach the location of the old fire lookout on a sub-peak of Stiletto Ridge. Some downed trees and trail is brushy in sections. Trail fades out in meadows at ~6100'.

In Stiletto Cross-Country Zone, which includes Siletto Lake, CAMPING PERMITS REQUIRED - STOVES ONLY, NO FIRES.

Stiletto Spur: Several downed trees and brushy in sections. Stock parties have a difficult approach to both sides of ford of State Creek. The foot log crossing over State Creek is not recommended for use. Ford can be impassable after large storm events.

Stehekin River


Hiker only

This trail is being used as a fire break as contingency for the spread of the 2015 Wolverine Fire. Hikers will notice many cut trees.

Trail often floods during spring snow-melt and high water events. Trail access is from south end of Stehekin airstrip.
Summit Trail

Juanita Lake 6800', high point 7440'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees within the Recreation Area in early 2015. Trail goes through areas of past fires and blow downs are common.
Thornton Lake

Trailhead 3000', ridge above lake is 5000', Thornton Lake 4500'

Hiker only

Cleared of downed trees to ~4,500'. Some sections in the first 2 miles of the trail have been brushed.

The trail from the ridge to the lakeshore is steeper than most trails and can be very slippery when wet or icy. Just before reaching the lake outlet the trail drops through a small boulder field with a section that can require some minor rock-climbing moves to navigate. The most cautious method is to drop your pack down first so that you can use your hands to downclimb. Crossing the lake outlet requires crossing a logjam. Use caution.

Food canisters required at Thornton Lakes Camp June 1 - Nov. 15. Camp stoves only, no fires.

Thunder Creek Trailhead 1200', Junction Camp 3100', Park Creek Pass 6100'
Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees from Thunder Creek Trailhead to Thunder Basin Hiker Camp in early 2015. Much debris on trail above ~5200'. Very brushy in lower part of Thunder Basin. Thunder Creek ford north of Thunder Basin Stock Camp is low, but can run high after heavy rain events. Always evaluate stream fords and turn back if necessary. There is no bridge.

NOTE: Park Creek Trail is closed until further notice due to the Goode Fire. From the north, hikers cannot go beyond Park Creek Pass (09/03).

Food canisters required for camping at Thunder Basin Camp June 1 - Nov. 15. Stoves only, no fires at Thunder Basin Camp.

Thunder Knob

1200' to 1875'

Hiker only

Cleared of downed trees. New footlogs over Colonial Creek installed. Creek may run high during storms or heavy meltoff.

Upper Stehekin Valley Trail

(old road from Bridge Creek Camp to Cottonwood Camp)

Bridge Creek Camp (2200') to Cottonwood Camp(2800')

Hiker, Stock

Cleared of downed trees.


Did You Know?