Trail Conditions

Snowy sign with lake beyond
Snow and frost adorn the peaks and valleys of the North Cascades in winter.

Michael Kirshenbaum

Winter is settling in to the North Cascades, with heavy snows blanketing the high country, and the potential for heavy rain or snow at lower elevations. Winter recreation in the park offers a unique opportunity for challenge and solitude, but be prepared before setting out. Winter storms may bring downed trees, flooding, trail washouts, and avalanche hazard. Routefinding skills are necessary once the trails are snow-covered. If you are planning a trip to the wilderness during the winter, be sure to check the weather forecast, snow level, and driving conditions beforehand, and leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member, including the date and time you plan to exit the backcountry.

All seasonal trail crews and wilderness rangers are furloughed during the winter season, so updates to trail conditions are rare. The trail conditions listed in the table below represent the last known status, but please note that conditions can change. Please e-mail us if you have trail conditions to report.

Backcountry permits: Backcountry permits are required year round for all overnight stays in the backcountry and can be self-issued during the winter. Check out the Wilderness Trip Planner page for permit details and trip planning resources. 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.

 

Closures and Notices

All sections of Thunder Creek Trail and Fisher Creek Trail have re-opened.

Buckner Hiker Camp (Park Creek Trail) -- RE-OPENED! Buckner Camp was washed out during flooding in 2001 and in subsequent years and has been re-opened in 2016. The camp is located 0.3 miles north of Five Mile Stock Camp on the Park Creek Trail.

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.

 

Trail Name

Elevation &
Trail Type

Reported Conditions

Agnes Gorge

(Stehekin)

Trailhead at 1700', trail's end 2000'

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

Baker River

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

Hiker only

No current report.

General: 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

Current: expect snow.

Boulder Creek

(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

Current: expect snow.

2017 conditions: Brushy in sections. Downed trees along the trail, easily passable for hikers but challenging for stock due to sloping terrain.

Lower sections burned in 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire and the 2014 Lone Mountain Fire; the trail can be dry and dusty. Blowdowns are common on this trail due to past forest fires.

Brush Creek

(to Whatcom Pass)

Whatcom Pass: 5055'

Hiker, Stock

Current: expect snow.

2017 conditions: Trail crews cleared the trail from Boundary camp to Whatcom Pass of brush and down trees.

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

No recent report.

Cascade Pass /
Sahale Arm/
Horseshoe Basin

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

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Current: expect snow.

Doubtful Creek (on the east side of the pass) is a ford--during early season snow-melt or heavy rain events it can be dangerous to cross. Seasonal bridge over Basin Creek removed.

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

Horseshoe Basin: Snowy. Trail brushed in 2017. Upper trail to mine site is not maintained and crosses scee slopes, use caution when traversing loose rock. No camping in Horseshoe Basin.

Company Creek

(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

General: Must ford Company Creek at 5 mile. Trail is obscure south of Hilgard Pass and difficult to follow due to damage from 2015 Wolverine Fire.

Copper Ridge

Copper Lookout: 6260'

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

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

General conditions: 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).

Can be 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.

Dagger Lake / Twisp Pass

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

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

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

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Current: expect 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

Current: expect snow.

General: Trail south of Ten Mile Pass (to Hilgard Pass) is obscure and difficult to follow due to 2015 Wolverine Fire.

Diablo Lake

Trailhead 1200' - max. 2000'

Hiker only

No recent report.

East Bank /
Hozomeen Lake

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

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

General: Roland Creek can be a wet ford during periods of high stream flows. Hozomeen Lake Camp is closed from April 1 to May 31 for nesting loons.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

Flat Creek

(Stehekin)
1700' - 2000'

Current: expect snow.
Trail becomes progressively brushier as it goes up the drainage.

Fourth of July Pass

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

Hiker only

Current: expect 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

Current: expect snow.

In 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

Current: expect snow.

General conditions: 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 north of Bear Creek Camp is abandoned and is a difficult bush-whack cross-country route. Little Chilliwack Camp no longer exists due to the changing course of the Chilliwack River.

Happy Panther

1700 - 2000'

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

Hidden Lake

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

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Current: expect snow.

Backcountry CAMPING PERMITS are REQUIRED past the saddle and down to Hidden Lake. Reaching Hidden Lake requires traveling over a very challenging and steep boulder field--not easy!

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

Current: expect snow.

General: Trail is not maintained on a regular basis, some sections can be overgrown, eroded and rough in some places. No water along trail.

Lakeshore Trail

(Stehekin)

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

No recent report.
General: High rattlesnake activity, particularly on sunny days.
This trail was burned over in 2010, so new blowdowns are common.

Little Beaver

(Ross Lake to Whatcom Pass)

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

Hiker only from Little Beaver to Stillwell.

Current: expect snow.

General: Perry Creek and Redoubt Creek are early season wet crossings despite footlogs; these can be difficult to cross with this season's high snow melt.

Food 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

Current: expect snow.

McGregor Mountain

(Stehekin)

Trailhead 1700',Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

General: Food storage canisters are recommended for camping at Heaton Camp -- hanging food can be diffcult here. No fires allowed at Heaton Camp.

Monogram Lake / Lookout Mountain

Trailhead 1300', Monogram Lake 4872'

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

Lookout Mountain (USFS): General: Last flowing water source is ~1/2 mile past the trail split to Monogram Lake. A small pool of water is just below the lookout.

General: 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

Current: expect 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
(Bridge Creek Trail)

(Bridge Creek Camp to State Route 20/Bridge Creek trailhead)
Bridge Creek

Current: expect snow.

Maple Creek footbridge removed for the season. The ford of Maple Creek is not advisable at high water levels.

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

(Bridge Creek Camp to Glacier Peak Wilderness)

NPS Boundary 1700' - Bridge Creek 2300'

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

Old Wagon Trail: expect snow.

Agnes Creek Trail: expect snow.

South of the Park, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness (USFS): Snow. 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.

Panther Creek

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

Hiker only

Current: expect 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

Current: expect snow.
General Conditions: Buckner Hiker Camp (washed out in 2001) has re-opened, 0.3 mile north of Five Mile Camp.

New down trees are common in the area affected by the 2015 Goode Fire. Do not linger in the burn area due to tree hazards. The brushiest sections of trail were cleared in late summer 2016.

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 tread.

Purple Creek / War Creek

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

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

Summer: 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

Current: expect 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

Current: expect 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 may be new downed trees between Rainbow Ford and Rainbow Bridge camps.

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake 5630', Bowan Pass 6200'

Hiker, stock

Current: expect snow.

General conditions: 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

Current: expect snow.

General Conditions: Southern end of this trail passes through the 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire zone. There may be new down trees between Lower Rainbow Loop TH and Rainbow Bridge camp. Trail from Bench Creek to Stehekin can be dry and dusty.

Sourdough / Pierce Mountain

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

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

General Conditions: The ridgeline trail can be difficult. 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

Current: expect snow.

General: 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

Current: expect 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. 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: General - 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 rain/snow events. Stock parties should use Pacific Crest Trail instead.

Stehekin River

(Stehekin)

1200'

Hiker only

No recent report.

General Conditions: 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

Current: expect snow.

Thornton Lake

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

Hiker only

Current: expect snow.

General Conditions: The trail from the ridge to the lakeshore is steeper than most trails and can be very slippery when wet or icy. 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


Current: expect 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.

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

Current: expect snow. Footlogs over Colonial Creek are removed for the season. Plan to ford the creek if conditions allow.

Upper Stehekin Valley Trail

(old road from Bridge Creek Camp to Cottonwood Camp)

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

Hiker, Stock

Current: expect snow.

 
 

Last updated: November 16, 2017

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Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Phone:

(360) 854-7200

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