Trail Conditions

Cascade Pass Area new snow

Although low elevation trails have melted out early this year, there is still plenty of snow above 4,500 feet, and new snow may still fall. Cascade Pass area, April 26, 2015.

NPS / Erin McKay

General Spring Conditions

Last updated May 20, 2015

Late spring weather remains variable, with days of sun followed by rain that may fall as snow at higher elevations. Fresh snow often melts quickly, but be prepared if you are hiking soon after a fresh snowfall. Despite the lower than average total winter snowpack, above ~5,500' the snowpack is closer to seasonal norms. As a result, low and mid-elevations are nearly snow-free with an abrupt transition to deep winter snowpack occurring between 4,500' and 5,500' depending on the slope aspect and distance east of the crest of the mountain range. Hikers headed to most mountain passes should still be prepared for route-finding and snow travel -- crampons or an ice axe are among the potential recommended gear for the steeper, snowier hikes. Always check the latest forecast before heading out, and leave an itinerary and trip plans with someone at home.

Trail crews have begun work on low elevation trails throughout the park. Until they have worked on a trail, expect to encounter downed trees and/or trail tread damage.

Backcountry permits are required year round and are available via self issue 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

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.

Boulder Creek Trail CLOSED due to the 2014 Lone Mountain Fire. The lightning-caused Lone Mountain Fire ignited on July 15, 2014, and burned across portions of this trail. The trail will be closed until damage can be assessed and repaired.

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
(Stehekin)

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 large tree has fallen and taken out a footbridge at a creek crossing on National Forest land. Minor navigation required, including small scramble up the creek embankment. Otherwise trail is in good condition, one small downed tree easy to pass. (05/09)

This trail begins on Forest Service land and crosses into the National Park: dogs are not allowed 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

Clear of down trees from Ross Dam trailhead to 1 mile west of 39 Mile Camp (13 miles) (05/14). Expect trail to be snow-free over Beaver Pass (no recent report). Many downed trees, especially above Luna Camp. Fords were all low, but can rise higher with snowmelt off or heavy rain events.

Boulder Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

TRAIL CLOSED until further notice--burned over during Lone Mountain Fire in 2014.

Rennie Creek footlog has been replaced. 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. Blowdowns are common on this trail due to past forest fires.
Brush Creek to Whatcom Pass

Whatcom Pass: 5055'

Hiker, Stock

Solid snow above 4,800' on April 20. Expect Whatcom Camp and Whatcom Pass to still be completely snow-covered. (05/20) Cleared of down trees in 2014. West side of pass not passable to stock due to eroded tread.

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-free.
Cascade Pass / Sahale Arm/ Horseshoe Basin

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

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Cascade Pass Trail: Snow-free and clear of down trees from Cascade River Rd to the last switchback before long traverse to the pass (~3 miles). Snow level ~4500'. Ice axe and self-arrest skills highly recommended to reach the Pass (05/19). Doubtful Creek is a ford--watch for snow bridges and high water as it melts out. The Basin Creek footlog has been installed for 2015.

Sahale Arm: Fully snow covered. Route-finding and ice axe skills required. (05/20)

Horseshoe Basin: No recent report. Expect snow in the upper basin, covering the trail's end (05/20). Brushed in 2014. A very wet trail, especially early season.

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

Company Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees to boundary with National Forest (1.8 miles). (04/29). On National Forest lands: Expect snow above 5500'. Many down trees and very brushy in sections. Company Creek is a ford. Trail is obscure around Hilgard Pass. Not regularly maintained in National Forest--be prepared to travel over downed trees and through brush. Trail not passable to stock since 2010.
Copper Ridge

Copper Lookout: 6260'

Hiker only

Solid snow above ~4,500', including the entire ridge. Route-finding and ice axe skills required to reach and travel along the ridge (05/20). No bridge over the northern crossing of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek, 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

Expect snow above 5000' (at Twisp Pass and around Dagger Lake). Not passable to stock until snow-melt is complete.

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Snow begins at Desolation Camp (~5,000'). Tent pads at Desolation Camp are melted out, but cook area is under snow. Large snow patches between the camp and the lookout--some route-finding required--and snow can be 4' deep and soft in places.(05/14)

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

Cleared of downed trees to the NPS/USFS boundary. Expect snow above 5500'. (05/20)
Diablo Lake

Trailhead 1200' - max. 2000'

Hiker only

Snow-free and clear of down trees.

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.

East Bank / Hozomeen Lake

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

Hiker, stock

Snow-free. Clear of down trees from East Bank trailhead to 1 mile south of Roland Creek. Trail crews are working and expect to have most, if not all, of the trail cleared by May 27. (05/20). Roland Creek is a ford. Not passable to stock during early season snow melt.

Hozomeen Lake and the area within 1/2 mile of the Lake are CLOSED to all use until June 1 to protect nesting loons.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

From Highway 20: Solid snow begins near first crossing of Easy Pass Creek (~1 mile from trailhead). Route-finding and ice axe skills required to reach Easy Pass. (05/16)

Fisher Creek Valley: Expect snow above 4500' and many down trees. Brushy in spots. (05/20) Logan Creek and another creek close by do not have bridges. These creeks often run too high and fast for safe fording even in late summer. Log crossings are possible, but can be challenging. Always assess current conditions. Use caution and turn back if conditions warrant.

Flat Creek (Stehekin)

1700' - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Snow-free. Very brushy, especially beyond the park boundary.
No bridge at the West Fork of Flat Creek at mile 3. Log crossing possible, assess current conditions.
Fourth of July Pass

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

Hiker only

Snow-free. Several small down trees across the trail (05/16).

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

Expect snow above 5000'. (05/09) Trail is brushy in several sections. 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

Snowfree for first 3 miles. Expect down trees. Use caution as snowbridges melt out--can be hazardous. (05/09)

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.
Trail not maintained north of Bear Creek Camp. No access to Canada (consider it a cross-country route).

Happy Panther

1700 - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Snow-free and clear of down trees. A couple of creek crossings are rough footing, but passable to hikers. Difficult for stock.

Hidden Lake

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

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Solid snow above ~5,000'. Route-finding and ice axe skills required to reach the lookout. (05/20)

Backcountry CAMPING PERMITS are REQUIRED past the col 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

Expect snow above 5,000' (05/12). Trail is not maintained on a regular basis, some sections can be overgrown, eroded and rough in some places. Limited water on trail, carry adequate amounts to stay hydrated.

Lakeshore Trail (Stehekin)

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

Snow-free and cleared of downed trees. This trail burned a few years ago, 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.

Stillwell to Whatcom Pass --Trail has many downed trees, most are not too dificult to pass. Trail has small washouts and lots of brush--a very wild trail! Switchbacks snow-free to ~5000 feet, then snowy. (05/20) Food canisters are strongly recommended for camping at Whatcom Camp, as there are very few trees from which to hang food.

Stillwell to Little Beaver Camp: Snow-free. Perry Creek and Redoubt Creek are both quite braided and require wet fords. Route across Perry Creek delta is flagged. Very brushy in the open areas between Redoubt and Perry Creeks.

McAlester Lake / South Pass

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

Hiker, stock

Expect snow above 5,000', including at McAlester Lake and McAlester Pass. Route-finding and hiking poles required to cross the pass. Ice axe recommended. (05/20).

McGregor Mountain (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Expect solid snow above 5,500'. (05/20) In 2014, mudslide damage one half mile below Heaton Camp with some tread repair completed. Several down trees, including one that is impassable to stock. 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-free until open meadow at 4,800', prior to reaching the ridgeline above the lake. Route-finding skills required and hiking poles a minimum (ice axe recommended) to reach Monogram Lake via steep angle snow traverse. The lake and Monogram Camp are completely snow-covered. Several trees down across the trail. (05/20)

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

North Fork Bridge Creek

2800' to 4200'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees to Walker Park. Snow beyond Walker Park--route-finding skills required. (05/13) 2014 reports: Several down trees, especially between Walker Park and Grizzly Creek. Trail is very brushy in sections, particularly above Grizzly Creek and in North Fork Meadows. Grizzly Creek is a ford (3 channels) -- can run high and fast and be unsafe to ford during early summer 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. 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 use Walker Park.

Pacific Crest Trail North (Bridge Creek Trail)

Bridge Creek Trailhead: 4640'

Hiker, stock

One foot of snow at Bridge Creek trailhead. Expect trail to be snow-covered for 1 to 1.5 miles south of Bridge Creek trailhead (05/19). Clear of down trees from Bridge Creek Camp to Maple Creek. The footbridge over Maple Creek has been installed for the season (05/12). The 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 bridge 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)

1700' - 2300'

Hiker

Old Wagon Trail: Clear of down trees and snow-free. (05/13) 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 of down trees to boundary with National Forest (2 miles). (04/29)

South of the Park, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness: No recent report. Since 2014: Due to hazard trees, it is not safe to camp at Hemlock Camp. Alternative camps include 2.4 miles south just before entering Sitting Bull Basin, 2.8 miles north to Cedar camp, and 1.9 miles up the South Fork Agnes Trail. The bridge over Agnes Creek at Hemlock Camp is out of service. There is a re-route for PCT hikers (no stock) 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-free. Expect down trees--winter debris has not been cleared. (05/20)

Panther Camp was rebuilt in 2012 and is 3.7 miles from the trail head. New bridge built in 2013 over Panther Creek.

Park Creek Pass

Trailhead (Stehekin River)2300', Pass 6100'

Hiker, stock

Expect snow above 5,000'. (05/20) New footlog installed over Park Creek at Two Mile in late 2014. Two Mile Camp re-located in late 2014 and now on east side 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 horses 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

Cleared of downed trees to ~4,000 feet. Expect solid snow above 5,500' (05/20)

Summer: Last water source ascending from Stehekin is at Purple Creek at 2 miles. Campfires are not allowed at Juanita Lake Camp--bring camp stove for cooking.

Note: Boulder Creek Trail is closed due the 2014 Lone Mountain Fire.

Pyramid Lake

Trailhead 1100', Lake 2600'

Hiker only

Clear of down trees and snow-free.

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

Rainbow Creek (Stehekin)

McAlester Pass 6000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of down trees from Stehekin Road to Bench Creek. Expect snow above 5500' (05/20). Rainbow Ford foot bridge has been installed for season.

Southern end of this trail passes through the 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire zone. Down trees are common.
Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake 5630', Bowan Pass 6200'

Hiker, stock

Expect snow above 5,000', including at Rainbow Lake. Route-finding and ice axe required to cross Bowan Pass (05/20) In 2014, trail tread is eroded in a few places between Rainbow Lake and Bowan Pass--footing is loose and requires care to cross. On north side of Bowan Pass, a drainage gully that crosses the trail in 3 places has removed trail tread in all three locations--passable, with care, to foot traffic, but could be very challenging during a large rain event and during melting of winter snow pack. Trail is obscure in basin north of the pass. Many down trees and very brushy in sections between Bridge Creek and Bowan Pass.

Trail not recommended for stock north of Rainbow Lake.

Must ford Bridge Creek at South Fork Camp. The ford runs very high and is impassable in spring and early summer. Do not expect to be able to safely connect to the Bridge Creek Trail/Pacific Crest Trail until mid-summer. Assess after heavy rain events, and turn back if unsafe.

Rainbow Loop (Stehekin)

Elevation 1200' to 2200'

Hiker, stock

Snow-free and clear 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 clear of down trees from trailhead to ~3,500' (roughly 1.5 miles below Sourdough Camp). Sourdough Camp still under snow. Lengthy snow patches between Sourdough Creek and the ridgeline. Route-finding skills and ice-axe recommended for steep-angle snow on the traverse to reach the ridge and Sourdough Lookout. Ridge completely snow covered (05/13). In 2014: Several dozen trees down on the Pierce Mountain Trail below ~4000'. Pierce Mountain Trail somewhat difficult to follow due to brush and down trees. After snow-melt, no water available on Pierce Mountain Trail except from pools at Pierce Mtn Camp. Carry plenty of water if ascending the trail from the junction with the Big Beaver Trail.

In late summer, water not available until reaching Sourdough Creek. In the first mile east of the Lookout, cairns mark the trail along the ridge and can be very difficult to follow if ridgeline is in the clouds.

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

Some small down trees, easily passable for hikers. 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: Expect solid snow above 4,500'. Route-finding required and ice axe recommended to reach trail's end (05/20). Some downed trees and brushy in sections. Trail fades out in meadows at ~6100'.

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

Stiletto Spur: Expect snow on northern-most 1/2 mile of trail. (05/20) Often a brushy trail. 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 (Stehekin)

1200'

Hiker only

Clear and snow-free. 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

Expect solid snow above 6,000'. No recent report. (05/20)

NOTE: The Boulder Creek Trail is closed.
Thornton Lake

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

Hiker only

Clear of down trees to ~4,500'. Solid snow above 4,500'. Thornton Lakes Camp completely snow covered. Some sections of the trail have been brushed. (05/12)

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

Several down trees across trail between trailhead and Junction Camp. Snow-free to ~4500' (top of switchbacks above Skagit Queen Camp), where solid snow begins. Route-finding and ice axe skills required to reach or cross over Park Creek Pass. Downed trees, with three clusters requiring some effort to navigate around or over. No report beyond ford of Thunder Creek at Thunder Basin Stock Camp. (05/16)

Thunder Creek ford just north of Thunder Basin Stock Camp can be high and swift during spring meltoff and weather events--always evaluate stream fords and turn around if necessary.

Skagit Queen Bridge repaired and open to stock.

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

Snow-free and clear of down trees. New footlogs over Colonial Creek have been installed for the season. 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

Clear of down trees and snow-free to Cottonwood.

 
 

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