Trail Conditions

Fresh snow on peaks

Fresh snow and changing weather are typical this time of year.

NPS Photo/R. Seifried

General Conditions

January 4, 2016

After a series of heavy wind and rain/snow storms in November, December has been cold, and the snow has piled up in the high country and fallen in the low country as well. Expect all trails to be have snow, and be prepared for routefinding if necessary. Trails are not marked or blazed. The November storms also mean there is potential for significant blowdown across trails. Winter in the Cascades is typified by rapid changes in conditions, with snow levels fluctuating regularly, new snow piling up quickly, and wind storms bringing new trees down. There are no maintenance crews and very few backcountry reports this time of year. If you are planning a wilderness trip to the park, pay close attention to the weather forecast and snow level. Leave a detailed trip plan with friends or family, and be prepared for cold and/or wet conditions.

The trail conditions listed below represent the last known status or typical conditions, but please note that conditions are always changing.

Winter permits: Backcountry permits are required year round and are available 24 hours per day via self-issue at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount or at headquarters in Sedro Woolley (Monday - Friday, closed federal holidays). 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

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 -- RE-OPENED! Seattle City Light is wrapping up the construction work on their dock facilities, which were destroyed by a rock slide in 2010. You can now hike beyond the bridge, and connect to the Ross Dam Trailhead or (in summer) connect to the ferry boat for a return trip.

 

Trail Name

Elevation &
Trail Type

Reported Conditions

Agnes Gorge
(Stehekin)

Trailhead at 1700', trail's end 2000'

Hiker only

Snow.

Baker River

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

Hiker only

Expect snow and the potential for downed trees after November storms.

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

Snow.

Boulder Creek
(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

Snow.

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

Snow.

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

Sahale Arm/

Horseshoe Basin

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

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Snow.

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)

Doubtful Creek is a ford--during early season snow-melt it can be dangerous to cross. The Basin Creek footlog is removed seasonally--difficult or impossible at high water.

Sahale Arm: Snow. FOOD CANISTERS REQUIRED at Sahale Glacier camp June 1 - Nov 15.

Horseshoe Basin: Snow. Very wet trail in early season during spring melt-off..

Company Creek
(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Snow.

South of Hilgard Pass, this trail passes through the 2015 Wolverine Fire. The fire burned most of the Ten Mile Creek drainage, including up to Ten Mile Pass. Expect down trees and do not linger or camp in the burned area. Cleared of downed trees to Hilgard Pass in early 2015. Trail is very brushy in some areas. Must ford Company Creek at 5 miles. Trail is obscure around Hilgard Pass.
Copper Ridge

Copper Lookout: 6260'

Hiker only

Snow.

In summer: No water between Boundary Camp and the ridge. Water on the ridge is available at Copper and Egg Lakes. No water at Silesia Camp once snows melt--must get water at Egg Lake (1 mile round-trip).

2015: 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.

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

Snow.

Backcountry permits required for overnight stays at Stiletto Lake; dogs not permitted.

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Snow.

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

Devore Creek
(Stehekin)

NPS boundary at 2000'

Hiker only

Snow.

South of Ten Mile Pass and for a short distance north of the pass, this trail passes through the 2015 Wolverine Fire. Most of the Ten Mile Creek drainage was affected burned by the fire, including Hilgard Pass. Expect down trees and do not linger or camp in the burned area. Cleared of downed trees to the NPS/USFS boundary.
Diablo Lake

Trailhead 1200' - max. 2000'

Hiker only

As of Nov 27, some icy spots, 2 downed trees that are easy to pass, and no snow. A small creek has spewed a lot of cobbles over the trail at ~ one mile. Follow the creek bed until you see the trail again. New snow possible at any time.

Suspension bridge is RE-OPENED as of Dec 1, 2015! It is now possible to connect to the Sourdough Trail, Ross Dam Trail, and the ferry boat (in summer).

East Bank / Hozomeen Lake

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

Hiker, stock

Snow.

Summer: Roland Creek is a ford, normally passable unless very high runoff or storm.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

Snow.

2015: 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.

Flat Creek
(Stehekin)

1700' - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Snow.

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

Snow.

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

Goode Ridge
(Stehekin)

Trailhead 2200', ridge 6600'

Hiker, stock

Snow.

2015: 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

Snow.

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

No recent report, expect new snow. Difficult for stock in places due to eroding trail and rough footing at creek crossings.

Hidden Lake

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

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Snow.

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

Snow.

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
(Stehekin)

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

Expect snow.

This trail was burned over in 2010, so new blowdowns are still common.

Little Beaver (Ross Lake to Whatcom Pass)

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

Hiker only from Little Beaver to Stillwell.

Snow.

Upper Little Beaver trail can be brushy and rough, with at least one wet ford section where the trail and creek merge.

Canisters are strongly recommended for camping at Whatcom Camp. Hanging food requires a highline due to the limited trees.

McAlester Lake / South Pass

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

Hiker, stock

Snow.

McGregor Mountain
(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Snow. 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.

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

Snow.

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. Look for new tent pads and separate cooking areas. Do not camp on the lake shore.

North Fork Bridge Creek

2800' to 4200'

Hiker, stock

Snow.

General: 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. 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

Snow.

General: Seasonal footbridge over Maple Creek is removed every fall. Ford can be 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: Snow. Bears frequently seen around Bridge Creek Camp area. Proper food storage is absolutely essential at all times around Bridge Creek Camp.

Agnes Creek Trail: Snow.

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

Snow.

General: 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.

General: 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, and rough trail.

Purple Creek / War Creek

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

Hiker, stock

Snow.

Summer/general: 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

Snow.

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

McAlester Pass 6000'

Hiker, stock

Snow.

General: seasonal bridge at Rainbow Ford is removed every fall. Ford may be high or impassable at other times of year.

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

Snow. Trail not recommended for stock north of Rainbow Lake due to narrow, rough tread.

General: 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.

Rainbow Loop
(Stehekin)

Elevation 1200' to 2200'

Hiker, stock

Snow. 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: Snow.

Pierce Mountain Trail: Snow.

General: 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

No recent report, expect new snow. 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: Snow.

General: Route-finding required to reach the location of the old fire lookout on a sub-peak of Stiletto Ridge. Trail receives only light maintenance. Expect brush and downed trees. 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: Snow. 2015: 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. Use PCT trail instead.

Stehekin River
(Stehekin)

1200'

Hiker only

In 2015, this trail was used as a fire break for the Wolverine Fire--expect to see 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
(Stehekin)

Juanita Lake 6800', high point 7440'

Hiker, stock

Snow. 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

Snow.

General: 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 requires 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. Not recommended for families with small children.

Food canisters required at Thornton Lakes Camp June 1 - Nov.

Thunder Creek Colonial Creek Campground at 1200', Park Creek Pass at 6100'

Hiker, stock


Numerous downed trees reported after Nov. wind storms--especially south of McAllister Camp. Snow.

General: Ford of Thunder Creek north of Thunder Basin Stock can be high or impassable during spring run-off or after heavy rains. always evaluate stream fords and turn back if necessary.

NOTE: Park Creek Trail is closed between Park Creek Pass and Two Mile Camp through the winter of 2015/2016 due to the Goode Fire.

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

Expect new snow. Footlogs over Colonial Creek are removed for the winter. Must ford creek to access trail. Creek level varies--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

Snow.

 
 

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