Trail Conditions

Forest light through old growth forest in the Thunder Creek drainage
Daylight filtering through the trees in the Thunder Creek drainage.

NPS / A. Gabrielson

General Conditions

October 1, 2016

Autumn has come to the North Cascades. Day-time temps are cooler, the air is crisp, nights are cold, and more moisture is in the atmosphere. Snow levels over much of the next week are forecast to range from 5,500 feet to 6,500 feet, which means that during precipitation events there could be fresh snow at most mountain passes. Folks traveling to high elevations, including Sahale Glacier Camp (7,600'), should be prepared for freezing temperatures overnight. Some of the seasonal bridges have been removed for the season. Following any heavy rain events, stream crossings can become deeper and more difficult or dangerous to cross. Special caution should be exercised if traveling through drainages that have experienced wildfires in the last decade, as they will rise faster and can experience sudden debris and/or mud flows--be aware of your surroundings! With the transition to more unstable autumn weather, always check current weather forecasts before heading into the backcountry for the day or for overnight. Although trail crews worked hard all summer clearing last winter's extensive windfall and addressing trail damage, new trees may have fallen in recent weeks. If you are planning a wilderness trip to the park, leave a detailed trip plan with friends or family.

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

Backcountry permits: Backcountry permits are required year round and are available from the main permit office, located at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. See the Wilderness Trip Planner page for 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. Please e-mail us if you have trail conditions to report.


Closures and Notices

Some areas and trails remain closed due to damage from 2015 wildfires. See the full list.

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.

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

Trailhead at 1700', trail's end 2000'

Hiker only

Clear and open.

Baker River

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

Hiker only

Clear and open.

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

Clear of down trees. Very brushy between Beaver Pass and Luna Camp. Wildlife, including bears, are foraging--please ensure your food and scented items are stored properly, in a food canister or hung appropriately high.

Boulder Creek

Trailhead 1200', Purple Pass 6800'

Hiker, Stock

A couple down trees ~1/2 mile from the junction with Rainbow Loop Trail are blocking for stock. Very brushy in sections.

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

Clear of down trees. The brushiest sections of trail were cleared in summer 2016.

Hard sided food storage canisters strongly recommended at Whatcom Camp due to limited tree limbs and high animal activity.
Bullion Loop
Trailhead 1500'
Hiker, Stock
Clear and open.
Cascade Pass /
Sahale Arm/
Horseshoe Basin

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

Hiker only

No Pets

No Hunting

Snow-free from the trailhead to the pass. (10/01)

East of the pass: Two small trees across the trail above Basin Creek. Trail is brushy in some sections on the switchbacks below Pelton Basin.

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. The Basin Creek footlog has been removed for the season.

Sahale Arm: Snow levels during recent precipitation events have often been below 7000' (camp is 7,600'), so check forecasts before planning a trip to the camp. Only water source between Cascade Pass and the camp is ~1/2 mile from the camp. (10/01) FOOD CANISTERS REQUIRED at Sahale Glacier camp June 1 - Nov 15.

Horseshoe Basin: Very brushy and wet in places. Trail becomes obscure in the last 1/4 mile. No camping in Horseshoe Basin.

Company Creek

Trailhead 1200', leaves park at 2500'

Hiker, stock

Clear from Stehekin Valley to the Park Service / Forest Service boundary.

CLOSED south of Hilgard Pass due to damage from the 2015 Wolverine Fire. The fire burned most of the Ten Mile Creek drainage, including up to Ten Mile Pass. 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

No water except at Egg Lake and Copper Lake. Many trees down across the switchbacks on the north end of the ridge.

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).

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

Clear of down trees. Mosquitoes are done for the season at Dagger Lake. Trail from Twisp Pass to Twisp River in the National Forest is clear of trees.

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

Desolation Peak

Trailhead 1605', Lookout 6108'

Hiker only

Only reliable water source is on the trail that traverses between Lightning Creek Trail and the start of the climb.

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

Devore Creek

NPS boundary at 2000'

Hiker only

Clear from Stehekin River to Forest Service boundary.

CLOSED west of Ten Mile Pass due to damage from the 2015 Wolverine Fire. Most of the Ten Mile Creek drainage was 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

Clear of down trees.

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

A few recently fallen trees across the trail from Highway 20 to Deer Lick Camp, including one that is blocking to stock just south of Roland Creek. Clear of down trees from Hozomeen to Nightmare Camp. Still several downed trees north of Deer Lick, but no major problems.

Hozomeen Lake and all areas within 1/2 mile of the Lake are closed to camping AND day use April 1 through May 31 to protect nesting loons.

Summer: Roland Creek can be a wet ford during periods of high stream flows.

Easy Pass / Fisher Creek

Trailhead 3700', pass 6400'

Hiker only

From Highway 20: Clear of down trees. In the Fisher Creek valley there are several down trees between Cosho and Fisher Camps. Brushy in sections east of Cosho.

Three new footbridges on the trail including one crossing Logan Creek.

Flat Creek

1700' - 2000'

Clear and recently brushed.

Very brushy beyond the park boundary. Log crossing of West Fork Flat Creek at mile 3.
Fourth of July Pass

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

Hiker only

Clear of down trees.

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

Goode Ridge

Trailhead 2200', ridge 6600'

Hiker, stock

Several large down trees 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

Clear and brushed from Hannegan trailhead to Hannegan Pass. Clear of down trees south of Indian Creek.

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

Clear and open.

Hidden Lake

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

Hiker only

Pets not allowed in the National Park

Clear of down trees.

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

Expect some down trees.

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

Elevation 1200'

Hiker, stock

Several downed trees within Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. 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.

Clear of down trees. Brushed from Ross Lake to the junction with the Big Beaver Trail. Trail crew has been working on repairing trail tread above Twin Rocks Camp. Creeks can still run high after large rain events. Perry Creek and Redoubt Creek are frequently wet crossings despite footlogs.

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

Clear of down trees. Biting insects are done for the season. South Pass trail clear and open.

McGregor Mountain

Trailhead 1700', Heaton Camp 7000'

Hiker, stock

Cleared of downed trees. Snow-free. Water available one mile below Heaton Camp. Food storage canisters are recommended for camping at Heaton Camp -- doing a proper food hang is difficult and proper food storage is critical to keep wildlife wild. No fires allowed at Heaton Camp.

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

A few trees across the trail before reaching the trail split. Brushy in spots.

Lookout Mountain: A few down trees, all easily passable. 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.

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

Clear of down trees to Grizzly Camp. Grizzly Creek can be a challenging ford.

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 Trailhead: 4640'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees. Brushed from Highway 20 to 0.25 miles west of South Fork Camp. Lots of bear activity all along Bridge Creek. The ford of Bridge Creek to connect to the Rainbow Lake Trail is low right now but can still be challenging or impassable for children or inexperienced hikers. The crossing can become impassable following large rain events.

Maple Creek footbridge has been removed for the 2016 season. (09/23) 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
(Old Wagon Trail and Agnes Creek Trail)
(Bridge Creek Camp to Glacier Peak Wilderness)

NPS Boundary 1700' - Bridge Creek 2300'

Hiker, stock

Old Wagon Trail: Clear and open. The spur trail to Shady Camp is brushy. 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 within the National Park boundary.

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.
Panther Creek

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

Hiker only

Clear of down trees. Very brushy in 3 or 4 avalanche chutes above Panther Camp. No water between Fourth of July Camp and Panther Camp.

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

Cleared of down trees, but 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.

Buckner Hiker Camp (washed out in 2001) has re-opened, 0.3 mile north of Five Mile Camp.

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 to rough trail tread.

Purple Creek / War Creek

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

Hiker, stock

A down tree one mile below Purple Pass is impassable to stock. Several other down trees, all passable. No water on Purple Creek Trail except where the trail crosses Purple Creek and at Juanita Lake. (09/02) War Creek Trail: Several trees down, only a couple pose any challenge for navigation on foot.

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

Clear and open. A little brushy in the last mile of the trail.

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

McAlester Pass 6000'

Hiker, stock

A few small trees down and a pile of debris on the trail at the bottom of the switchbacks to McAlester Pass. The Rainbow Ford bridge has been installed for the 2016 season.

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

Ford of Bridge Creek on the north end of this trail is running low but can become deeper and challenging after large rain events--not recommended for small children or inexperienced hikers. Clear of down trees between Rainbow Lake and Rainbow Creek. (09/11) North of Bowan Pass: Clear of down trees between Dan's Camp and Bridge Creek. Trail is brushy in several sections, especially around Dans Camp. (09/11) 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

Elevation 1200' to 2200'

Hiker, stock

Eight down 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: A few small down trees above Sourdough Camp. Somewhat brushy around Sourdough Creek. Sourdough Creek is still flowing at the camp, but no water between the creek and Pierce Mountain Camp.

Pierce Mountain Trail: Several down trees in lowest ~0.25 miles. Very overgrown in the portion within the National Park with some down trees that are challenging to navigate. Minor route-finding skills required to travel between the Pierce Mtn Camp and the lookout.

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

Clear. 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: Very brushy. A few small down trees, easily passable. In 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
: Very brushy. Clear of down trees. 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. Stock parties should use Pacific Crest Trail instead.
Stehekin River


Hiker only


General: 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

Juanita Lake 6800', high point 7440'

Hiker, stock

Clear of down trees within the National Recreation Area boundary.
Thornton Lake

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

Hiker only

One down tree, easily passable. Brushy in sections. The last mile of trail can be very slippery with mud during and after rain events.

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. 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

Clear of down trees. Several brushy areas in Thunder Basin, but the worst sections of brush were cleared in early summer 2016.

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

Clear and open. Footlogs over Colonial Creek have been installed for the season.

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.


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


(360) 854-7200

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