• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

Trail Conditions

Autumn color and fresh snow on Sahale Arm.  Sahale Glacier Camp is on the moraine just below the cloud around the peak, and is currently under snow (October 2, 2014).
Autumn color and fresh snow on Sahale Arm. Hikers reported drifts of 1-2 feet of snow on the trail below Sahale Glacier Camp, which is on the moraine just below the cloud that hangs on the peak and is currently under snow (October 2, 2014). Sunny, warmer weather in the forecast should melt some or all of the snow in the days ahead.
Russell Dalton
 
September 30

Fall color September 30, 2014

L. Skavdahl / NPS

General Conditions

Last Updated September 30, 2014

A series of storm fronts recently entering the North Cascades have made for wet and cold hikes with slightly dryer conditions on the east side of the range. Wetter weather conditions remind us that backcountry conditions can change rapidly as the winter season approaches. Visitors should be alert to wet trails and swollen creeks at all elevations and snow at higher elevations although, to date, snow is melting rather than sticking to surfaces. Fall colors and blue berries are in abundance on many trails. The trail crew continues to make camp and trail improvements throughout the park. Please remember free 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

Postponement of work on Cascade River Road. Cascade River Road will remain open to the road's end at the Cascade Pass Trailhead as normal, until winter conditions make the road impassable in fall/winter 2014. The planned closure of the road on September 8, 2014, in order to install a more permanent repair of the crossing of Boston Creek, has been postponed beyond 2014. See Road Conditions for full details.

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 can be found here. Full statement on policy change.

Boulder Creek Trail CLOSED due to the Lone Mountain Fire. The lightning-caused Lone Mountain Fire ignited on July 15 and is burning in steep terrain. The fire has burned across the trail and the trail is closed until further notice.

East end of Diablo Lake Trail CLOSED at the suspension bridge. A massive rockslide that came down in early 2010 still blocks any hiker passage from the Diablo Lake Trail to the haul road, ferry boat, or Ross Lake from this trail. Work on the slide will be ongoing in 2011 and may include blasting. The remainder of the trail is unaffected. See map of closure area.

 

Trail Name

Elevation &
Trail Type

Reported Conditions

Date

Agnes Gorge
(Stehekin)

Trailhead at 1700', trail's end 2000'

Hiker only

A few down trees, all passable on foot.

09/30

Baker River

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

Hiker only

A few small down trees are easily passable. Trail has been brushed and is in good condition. This trail crosses into the national park and backcountry permits are required to stay at Sulphide Creek Camp.

09/30

Big Beaver

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

Hiker, Stock

Snow-free to the Little Beaver. Freshly brushed from Big Beaver to one half mile west of Luna Camp.

09/30

Boulder Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

TRAIL CLOSED due to recent fire activity.

Rennie Creek footlog has been replaced. Located upstream of the ford. Marked with signs and a new trail from both sides of the creek. Water level at Rennie Creek ford is still high Hikers must use foot-log. It is narrow. Use caution when crossing. Trail is snow free and clear of down trees.

Lower sections burned in 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire. Blowdowns are common on this trail due to past forest fires.

09/30

Brush Creek to Whatcom Pass

Whatcom Pass: 5055'

Hiker, Stock

Clear of down trees. Worst brushy sections have been cut back by trail crew and crew continues to clear the trail. 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.
09/30
Bullion Loop (Stehekin) Trailhead 1500'
Hiker, Stock
Clear and open.

09/30

Cascade Pass / Sahale Arm/ Horseshoe Basin

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

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Cascade Pass Trail: In good condition. Fall colors are stunning. One water source before the pass at about mile three. Doubtful Creek is a wet crossing, about mid-calf deep. Should be forded with care. The trail between Pelton Basin and Cottonwood has been brushed. The Basin Creek footlog is installed for the season.

Sahale Arm: Snow-free. Trail crew is working on trail improvements on weekdays. Best water source is a stream beside the trail about 300 meters below the camp.

Horseshoe Basin: Trail has been brushed and has water flowing down it in some sections. Be prepared for wet feet.

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

09/30

Company Creek (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees to boundary with National Forest (1.8 miles). On Forest Service land: Hilgard Pass is snow-free. Many down trees and very brushy in sections. Ford of Company Creek is ~1.5' deep.

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.

09/30

Copper Ridge

Copper Lookout: 6260'

Hiker only

Snow-free. Egg and Copper Lakes are the only reliable water sources along the length of the trail. No water available at Silesia Camp--water available via one mile round trip to Egg Lake. Abundant berry season. Fall colors beginning.

The northern fords of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek vary greatly and may be deep or impassable after significant rain events. Trail route at the two fords on the northern end of the trail recently brushed.

09/30

Dagger Lake / Twisp Pass

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

Hiker, stock

One large down tree between Fireweed and Dagger Lake is impassable to stock.

09/30

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Some small trees across trail above 3,500', all easily passable. Only water source after starting the ascent is one small, slow-flowing water source still running at ~1.5 miles into the ascent. No water at Desolation Camp. Lookout is closed for the season.

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

09/30

Devore Creek (Stehekin)

NPS boundary at 2000'

Hiker only

Clear of down trees to Glacier Peak Wilderness boundary. Ten Mile Pass is snow-free. Trail well maintained from the pass to Bird Creek Camp. Brushy beyond.

09/30

Diablo Lake

Trailhead 1200' - max. 2000'

Hiker only

Clear.

Suspension bridge is CLOSED at east end, cannot access Ross Haul Road or points east due to a 2010 rock slide that closed the haul road.

09/30

East Bank / Hozomeen Lake

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

Hiker, stock

Snow-free. Roland Creek is a wet ford. A down tree south of Devil's Creek impassable for stock.

09/30

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

From Highway 20: Snow-free. 2013 trail damage on east side of Easy Pass has been re-built by Washington Trails Association crew and in good condition.

Fisher Creek Valley: Brushy in spots. Many large trees cleared by Washington Trails Association crew between Fisher Camp and Cosho Camp. Several small down trees between Cosho Camp and Junction Camp. 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. Do not cross if you feel it is not safe.

09/30

Flat Creek (Stehekin)

1700' - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Expect some down trees. Very brushy, especially beyond the park boundary.
Cross West Fork Flat Creek at mile 3 on down log.

09/30

Fourth of July Pass

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

Hiker only

Clear.

09/30

Goode Ridge (Stehekin)

Trailhead 2200', ridge 6600'

Hiker, stock

Snow-free. 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.

09/30

Hannegan Pass / Chilliwack River

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

Hiker, stock

Snow-free. A three feet in diameter log across trail about two miles from trailhead is impassable for stock. Except for this tree the trail is clear of down trees to junction with Brush Creek Trail. Several down trees north of the Brush Creek Trail junction. Recently brushed between US Cabin Camp and Brush Creek Trail. Crews are brushing the Cilliwack Trail to Indian Creek.

The cable car over the Chilliwack River north of US Cabin Camp is operational--gloves recommended. Pets and hunting are not allowed.


Bear Creek Camp recently brushed. Trail not maintained north of Bear Creek Camp. Access via Canada very difficult (consider it a cross-country route).

09/30

Happy Panther

1700 - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Clear of downed debris. Several creek crossings are washed out, but are usually passable with care. Use caution during and after significant rain events.

09/30

Hidden Lake

Trailhead 3700', Hidden Lake: 5700'

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Snow-free. Many ripe berries and fall colors.

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.

09/30

Jack Mountain Trail

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

Hiker only

Snow-free.

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.

09/30

Lakeshore Trail (Stehekin)

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

Clear and open.

Since recent fires have reduced vegetation, soils are subject to erosion and water runs off the landscape rapidly--hikers should be cautious at stream crossings during rain events as waters may rise rapidly. Down trees can also be common.

09/30

Little Beaver to Whatcom Pass

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

Hiker only from Little Beaver to Stillwell.

Cleared of down trees to junction with Big Beaver Trail. 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. Several down trees between Twin Rocks and Whatcom Pass, including one jumble of 8 trees that is impassable to stock. Very brushy in the upper Little Beaver beyond the junction with Big Beaver trail. Food canisters are strongly recommended for camping at Whatcom Camp, as there are very few trees from which to hang food.

09/30

McAlester Lake / South Pass

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

Hiker, stock

Clear and open. Fall colors beginning

Foot log installed at the East Fork McAlester Creek in 2012.

09/30

McGregor Mountain (Stehekin)

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Mudslide damage one half mile below Heaton Camp. Switchback below are easy to see. Several down trees, including one that is impassable to stock. Heaton Camp dry-must carry water for camping. 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.

09/30

Monogram Lake / Lookout Mountain

Trailhead 1300', Monogram Lake 4872'

Hiker only

Snow-free. Trees down on both USFS and NPS portions of the trail. Two require some maneuvering. Fall colors and huckleberries are abundant in the lake area.

No recent report for Lookout Mountian.

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

09/30

North Fork Bridge Creek

2800' to 4200'

Hiker, stock

No recent report. 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. Two braids of Grizzly Creek are running ~1.5' deep and cold.

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. Must ford three braids of Grizzly Creek--use caution. Grizzly Creek Camp rebuilt in 2012--hikers do not need to ford creek to reach camp. Due to repeated flooding of Grizzly Creek, Grizzly Creek Stock Camp is permanently closed--stock use Walker Park.

09/30

Pacific Crest Trail North (Bridge Creek Trail)

Bridge Creek Trailhead: 4640'

Hiker, stock

Recently brushed between the National Park-Forest Service boundary and Six Mile Camp. One large tree down between North Fork Camp and Bridge Creek can be challenging for stock.

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 must ford Bridge Creek twice between Hwy 20 and Fireweed Stock Camp.

The Maple Creek foot bridge is installed for 2014. Fording Maple Creek can be very challenging or impassable during large rain events.

09/30

Pacific Crest Trail South (Old Wagon Trail and Agnes Creek Trail)

1700' - 2300'

Hiker

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

Agnes Creek Trail is clear and open to the National Park boundary (2 miles south of High Bridge).

South of the Park, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Snow-free to Suiattle Pass. 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.

09/30

Panther Creek

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

Hiker only

Large avalanche debris field immediately northeast of Panther Creek Camp (3.7 miles). Trail has been brushed along Panther Creek. Beautiful fall foliage along the creek.

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

09/30

Park Creek Pass

Trailhead (Stehekin River)2300', Pass 6100'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees. Snow-free. New footlog installed over Park Creek at Two Mile.

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.

09/30

Purple Creek / War Creek

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

Hiker, stock

Note: Boulder Creek Trail is closed due to proximity of the Lone Mountain 1 Fire.

Many down trees from recent storms, only a few that are difficult for hikers, probably not passable for stock.

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.

09/30

Pyramid Lake

Trailhead 1100', Lake 2600'

Hiker only

Clear and open.

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

09/30

Rainbow Creek (Stehekin)

McAlester Pass 6000'

Hiker, stock

Clear and open. Rainbow Ford foot bridge is installed for 2014.
Southern end of this trail passes through the 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire zone. Down trees are common even after trail crew has cleared the trail.

09/30

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake 5630', Bowan Pass 6200'

Hiker, stock

Clear of snow and trees from Rainbow Creek to Rainbow Lake. Bowan Pass is snow-free. 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. 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. Groups have been fording the creek downstream of the signed ford, but water is ~2' deep. The ford runs very high in spring and early summer (impassable). 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.

09/30

Rainbow Loop (Stehekin)

Elevation 1200' to 2200'

Hiker, stock

Clear and open. Hikers use caution as blow downs are common due to 2010 wild fire.



09/30

Sourdough / Pierce Mountain

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

Hiker only

Snow-free. Many down trees in the first 2 miles, most are easily passable. Several dozen trees down on the Pierce Mountain Trail below ~4000'. Pierce Mountain Trail somewhat difficult to follow due to brush and down trees. 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).

09/30

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.

09/30

Stiletto Spur / Stiletto Peak

4000' to ~6100'

Hiker, stock

Stiletto Peak Trail: Snow-free, with many down trees and brushy in sections. Watch footing closely! 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: Clear and open. Worst brushy sections in the National Park recently brushed. 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.

09/30

Stehekin River (Stehekin)

1200'

Hiker only

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

09/30

Summit Trail (Stehekin)

Juanita Lake 6800', high point 7440'

Hiker, stock

Clear and open.

NOTE: The Boulder Creek Trail is closed.

09/30

Thornton Lake

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

Hiker only

Snow-free. A few down trees below 3000'. Brushy in sections. Many ripe blueberries and fall foliage.

Getting to the campsites from the ridge: the trail to lake 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.

09/30

Thunder Creek

Trailhead 1200', Junction camp 3100', Park Creek Pass 6100'

Hiker, stock

One large tree just north of McAllister Stock Camp is impassable to stock. Several downed trees between McAllister Camp and Skagit Queen. Trail is very brushy through Thunder Basin, but easy to follow. Thunder Creek ford just before Thunder Basin Stock Camp runs high and swift after weather events--cross with caution!

Skagit Queen Bridge repair is finished 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.

09/30

Thunder Knob

1200' to 1875'

Hiker only

Just a few down trees, all passable on foot. Colonial Creek is braided through the campground at the beginning of the trail. Expect to have to bushwhack during high water events.

09/30

Upper Stehekin Valley Trail

(old road from Bridge Creek Camp to Cottonwood Camp)

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

Hiker, Stock

Clear and open.

09/30


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...