Trail Conditions

Thornton Lake

The view of Lower Thornton Lake from the Thornton Lake Trail.

NPS / H.Rich

General Conditions

July 05, 2015

This summer continues its trend of unseasonably warm and dry weather, and snow conditions have been changing rapidly. Temperatures continue to reach 100F on the eastern slopes and the 90s on the western slopes. The heat may generate thunderstorms, so backcountry travelers should be alert before heading above treeline, and head to lower elevations if thunderstorms are in the area. Most trails are now snow-free. Check below for the most recent conditions for each trail.

Due to the the very dry conditions, a campfire ban has been instituted for all of Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the portion of North Cascades National Park that is within Chelan County. See the notice below for details.

This time of year, stream crossings can be very dangerous due to the rapid melting of the remaining snow and flash flood events caused by thunderstorms. 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 hitting the trail. Ticks have been reported on most low elevation trails, sometimes in large numbers. Be tick aware and consider long pants for travel on brushy trails.

Trail crews are working on trails throughout the park. Until they have worked on a trail, expect to encounter downed trees and/or trail tread damage, and possibly winter avalanche debris. Always check the latest forecast before heading out, and leave an itinerary and trip plans with someone at home.

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

Campfires Banned in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and portions of North Cascades National Park. More information. Fires are banned in North Cascades National Park Service Complex within Chelan County. This includes all of the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, all trails in the Stehekin River drainage up to Cascade Pass, all of Park Creek to Park Creek Pass, and Bridge Creek and all connecting trails. Map of fire ban area.

Partial CLOSURE of Thunder Creek and Fisher Creek Trails due to Thunder Creek Fire. As of June 29, the Thunder Creek trail is closed between McAllister Camp and Skagit Queen Camp (both camps remain open) and the Fisher Creek Trail is closed from the junction with the Thunder Creek Trail to Cosho Camp. Cosho Camp remains open. The Fourth Of July Trail and Fourth of July Camp remain open. Closures are in response to the proximity of the Thunder Creek Fire.

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
(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.

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

Snow-free. Clear of down trees from Ross Dam trailhead to ~2 miles west of Luna Camp (06/07). Many down trees on switchbacks between Beaver Pass and Stillwell Camp. Stream crossings are running high with snow-melt and many are wet fords.

Boulder Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

Clear of down trees and trail tread repaired (07/02). Rennie Camp recently repaired after damage from 2014 Lone Mountain Fire. Rennie Creek footlog has been replaced and 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

Multiple avalanches across trail in the 1.5 miles east of Graybeal Camp require navigating large jumbles of down trees and debris. Expect very slow progress through this section. Impassable to stock. Whatcom Camp and Whatcom Pass are snow-free. (06/22).

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. Clear of down trees on the west side of the pass. Composting toilet at the pass is still under snow. The water source at Johannesberg Camp has run dry--bring your own water. (07/05). Pelton Basin: Trail is snow-free. Pelton Basin Camp facilities are snow-free (06/22). Clear of down trees and brushy from Cottonwood Camp to Basin Creek Camp on the east side of the Pass (07/02). 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: Small snow patches on the switchbacks between the pass and attaining the arm. Some snow patches along the Arm. Sahale Glacier Camp is melted out with flowing water available. Hiking poles recommended (06/13). FOOD CANISTERS REQUIRED at Sahale Glacier camp June 1 - Nov 15.

Horseshoe Basin: No recent report. Expect snow in the upper basin, covering the trail's end (06/10). Brushed in 2014. A very wet trail, especially early season.

Company Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees to boundary with National Forest (1.8 miles). On National Forest lands: Expect patchy snow around Hilgard Pass. Many down trees and very brushy in sections. Must ford Company Creek at 5 miles. 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

98% snow-free from Boundary Camp to Copper Lookout. A few small streams still have water in the 1.5 miles east of Boundary Camp, but these will likely go dry soon. No water available on the ridge except at Copper and Egg Lakes. No water at Silesia Camp--must get water at Egg Lake (1 mile round-trip). Hiking poles recommended for snow patches north of Copper Lookout, including between the Lookout and Copper Lake (no steep snow). Switchbacks on the north end of the ridge, between the ridge and Chilliwack River are snow-free but many down trees and very brushy at low elevations, near the ford of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek. Water levels at the fords are low. (06/21). 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 small snow patches around Twisp Pass (06/15). Not passable to stock until snow-melt is complete.

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Snow-free. Clear of down trees from Lightning Creek to 2 miles up the climb of Desolation. One faint trickle of water ~1.5 miles below Desolation Camp, may not be flowing much longer--otherwise, no water on the trail or at the camp. Be sure to get water before starting the climb and carry plenty with you. (06/19)

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 around Ten Mile Pass. (06/05)
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. It is not possible to connect to the Sourdough Trail.

East Bank / Hozomeen Lake

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

Hiker, stock

Snow-free and clear of down trees. Roland Creek is a ford that is challenging for hikers and stock during early season snow-melt.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

Until further notice, the Fisher Creek Trail is CLOSED to all visitor use west of Cosho Camp due to the proximity of the Thunder Creek Fire. Cosho Camp and the trail east of Cosho Camp, including Easy Pass, remain open.

From Highway 20: Snow-free. Water is available between the trail head and Fisher Camp. Some trees down but easily passable. Wildflowers and bugs are out in force at the pass. (07/01)

Fisher Creek Valley: Many down trees. Brushy in spots. Trail closed west of Cosho Camp (06/21). 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

Clear of down trees and snow-free. 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-free. Clear of down trees.

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 patches around trail's end (6600') (06/21). 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

Snow-free. Many down trees, all easily passable on foot but impassable to stock. Very brushy north of U.S. Cabin--can slow progress significantly (06/21).

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

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

Trail is in good condition and only has one patch of passable snow. Second crossing of Sibley Creek is last reliable water source (2.5 miles from the lookout). Come prepared for extended sun exposure.

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

Snow-free. (06/21). 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 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.

East of junction with Big Beaver Trail: Snow-free. Many downed trees, some are difficult to pass. Trail from Whatcom Pass to Twin Rocks very narrow and steep with small washouts and lots of high brush--a very wild trail! (06/23). Food canisters are strongly recommended for camping at Whatcom Camp, as there are very few trees from which to hang food.

West of junction with Big Beaver Trail: Snow-free. Clear of down trees east of Perry Creek. No on-trail water available east of Perry Creek (06/08). Very brushy in the open areas between Redoubt and Perry Creeks. Perry Creek and Redoubt Creek are both quite braided and require wet fords--both of these creeks can be very challenging fords and/or impassable during early season snow-melt. Route across Perry Creek delta is flagged.

McAlester Lake / South Pass

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

Hiker, stock

Several down trees below McAlester Lake. Snow-free and buggy around the lake. (06/17).

McGregor Mountain (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

One 100 yard section of snow just below Heaton Camp--ice axe recommended. Heaton Camp is snow-free and there was a water source at the camp, but it will dry up after nearby snow melts. Solid snow begins 100yds above Heaton Camp at ~7100'--ice axe recommended. Several down trees in lower section of trail, one is impassable to stock. (06/16). In 2014, mudslide damage occurred one half mile below Heaton Camp--some tread repair completed. 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 all the way to the lake. One patch of high brush two miles in. Flowers, butterflies, and water are plentiful. (07/01)

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 (05/27). Trail is very brushy in sections, particularly north of Grizzly Creek and in North Fork Meadows. Crossing Grizzly Creek requires a ford of 3 channels -- all can run high and fast and 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

Snow-free and clear of down trees. Sections with the thickest, tallest brush have been brushed back, but some brushy sections remain (06/25). The footbridge over Maple Creek has been installed for the season. The stock ford of Maple Creek can be very challenging or impassable during large rain or current 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)

1700' - 2300'

Hiker

Old Wagon Trail: Clear of down trees and snow-free. 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).

South of the Park, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Cleared of down trees to near Hemlock Camp (06/03). 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

Clear except one large down tree (easily passable) between the highway and Panther Camp. Snow-free and very brushy in sections (06/11). Panther Camp was rebuilt 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

NOTE: Until further notice, the Thunder Creek Trail (north of Park Creek Pass) is CLOSED to all visitor use from Skagit Queen Camp to McAllister Hiker Camp due to the proximity of the Thunder Creek Fire.

Clear of down trees to ~1.5 miles south of Park Creek Pass. Expect patchy snow around Park Creek Pass. (06/21). 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. Juanita Lake is snow-free (07/02).

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.

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

Several down trees between Bowan Camp and Bench Creek. Snow-free. (07/02). 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

The ford of Bridge Creek at South Fork Camp is not currently passable due to swift and deep flow. Visitors have been unable and unwilling to ford the creek for safety reasons and have turned back (06/25). Clear of down trees from Rainbow Creek to Bowan Pass. Expect patchy snow above 5,500' on the north side of Bowan Pass--hiking poles are bare minimum. Some minor route-finding required on north side of Bowan Pass. 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 snow-free and clear of down trees from trailhead to ~3,500' (roughly 1.5 miles below Sourdough Camp). Several dozen trees down on the Pierce Mountain Trail below ~4000'. A few snow patches between Pierce Mountain Camp and the Lookout (06/21). 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

Clear of down trees and snow-free (06/08). 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 snow patches above 6,500'. Route-finding required and hiking poles recommended to reach the location of the old fire lookout on a sub-peak of Stiletto Ridge (06/20). 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: Snow-free with some down trees (06/21). 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 patchy snow above 7,000' and around Juanita Lake. (06/17)
Thornton Lake

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

Hiker only

Clear of down trees to ~4,500'. Snow-free. Some sections in the first 2 miles of the trail have been brushed. (06/30)

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

Update as of June 29: the Thunder Creek Trail is CLOSED to all visitor use between McAllister Camp and Skagit Queen Camp due to the proximity of the Thunder Creek Fire. Both McAllister and Skagit Queen Camps are open. The Fourth of July Trail remains open as well.

Clear of down trees north of Junction Camp (06/07). Snow-free from trailhead to near Thunder Basin Hiker Camp. The ford of Thunder Creek at Thunder Basin Stock Camp is running high with snow-melt and is a wet, sometimes challenging ford. Expect snow patches above 5500'. Hiking poles required to reach or cross over Park Creek Pass. Much winter debris above ~5200' (06/06). If coming from the south, note that the trail is closed north of Skagit Queen Camp due to the Thunder Creek Fire.

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.

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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