Explore North Cascades - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

North Cascades Map
VIEW FULL MAP

A great trail but there is a lot of smoke from the BC fires currently obscuring the views. I'd recommend starting early if you decide to take on this hike with the smoke. The air is quite heavy / thick esp for the first mile plus. It seemed to clear a bit as we climbed and there was a breeze that picked up after about a mile and a half.

I think they are under calling the length of this hike. We reached the split in the trail at just over 2.0 miles when the details here show it at about 1.6 miles. A few other people noted the trail clocks in around 7.9 miles or so roundtrip.

We bailed due to the weather / smoke and ended up with 6.3 miles roundtrip and we had another 0.7 or 0.8 miles to get to the Yellow Aster Butte summit.

I'd try this hike again when the weather is a bit better.

A great trail but there is a lot of smoke from the BC fires currently obscuring the views. I'd recommend starting early if you decide to take on this hike with the smoke. The air is quite heavy / thick esp for the first mile plus. It seemed to clear a bit as we climbed and there was a breeze that picked up after about a mile and a half.

I think they are under calling the length of this hike. We reached the split in the trail at just over 2.0 miles when the details here show it at about 1.6 miles. A few other people noted the trail clocks in around 7.9 miles or so roundtrip.

We bailed due to the weather / smoke and ended up with 6.3 miles roundtrip and we had another 0.7 or 0.8 miles to get to the Yellow Aster Butte summit.

I'd try this hike again when the weather is a bit better.

hiking
1 day ago

$5 permit needed for parking. No issues finding parking at 4pm. Such a fun hike given variety of nature such as little creeks or a fallen tree blocking the path. Best of all is the reward of a beautiful lake at the top!

beautiful and amazing trail, but there were so many bugs! seriously! everytime we stopped we would get swarmed. besides this it was a quick and hard hike. My group didn't start until about 5 and made it down by 9. The snow was unexpected but pleasant and refreshing to see.

This has to be one of the best trails in all of WA!! Great views and not too bad of workout.

I was worried about the drive up, the bugs and crazy amounts of people. The drive up is rough like all the reviews say but my ford focus made it no problem. Just take it slow and you'll be fine. I didn't wear bug spray and they were non existent. I left the trail head at 7:30am to beat the crowds. At the top there were just a couple people and a few volunteers. On my way down (after 9:30) there was 100+ people making their way up.

The views are incredible and the actual hike itself is not bad for a fit individual. Took 3 hours round trip with 30 minutes at the top. Well worth the drive from South of Seattle.

My tip would be just to arrive early and you'll enjoy it way more!! This is a great hike.

backpacking
2 days ago

Went up to Gothic Basin this past weekend and is sad to report back that almost every single campsite had a fire pit in a location where fires are prohibited. We disassembled some of them but was frustrated and angry to see that people have no respect for these fragile places that we are so lucky to go and for LNT principles. Please educate yourself before heading out there and leave places better then when you found it.

excellent trail with a great view.

Beautiful hike today. Trail is in great condition. No water sources along the trail so be sure to bring enough.

Es hermosa.

This is a yearly hike for me! Gorgeous views of Baker & Shuksan!!!

Nice trail with a great view from the top of Mt. Pilchuk!

Nice easy to get to hike. A good amount of people and dogs however on a Thursday morning. Still very enjoyable.

Started hike around 11am, still a bit hazy from the regional wildfires, but overall good visibility. If you havent hiked in a while be patient with yourself and the trail, there are some decent elevation gains. Once you reach the split, stay left to continue on the YAB.

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome trail, but try to avoid it on weekends. It is literally the interstate of hikes.

backpacking
5 days ago

This trail absolutely destroyed my legs, went camping for 2 nights, Gorgeous scenery, but do not let the "light scrambles" confuse you. There were some parts where I should have hiked in a ladder. All in all the hike is beautiful but a very very strenuous all uphill/rock climbing hike

Fabulous afternoon hike, swam in 2 lakes and enjoyed the spectacular views.

hiking
6 days ago

Rocky trail. At first I was looking at the data and wondering why this trail was rated as hard, but it all made sense because of the extremely rocky trail starting at 1 mile from the trailhead. However, the view at the top made it all worthy. We camped near the lookout (it was soooo crowded), and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower!

There was a little stream at 4347 ft, and also a lake on the north side with some distance which was not easily accessible. Otherwise there was no water after you get started on the rocks, so bring enough water on hot days.

This hike is awesomely hard and rocky. Even though the views today were obliterated by smoke from the wildfires (we accidentally missed the media's warning to avoid strenuous outdoor activity), the gorgeous and dynamic rock formations made the effort worth it. We did not see as many people or bugs as previously reported, probably a positive side effect of the smoke. For dog owners: I would recommend this hike to dogs that are used to hiking on rockfaces and unstable surfaces. Our jack russell terrier made it up the mountain like a champ, except we did not take him on the final rock scramble because the rocks were too big and slippery for him to gain the appropriate traction. On a clear day, I can imagine the view from the top is breathtaking.

Doesn’t get much better.

hiking
8 days ago

We loved the hike and would recommend it to others. But we have a few words of caution. Though very beautiful, the bluffs and scenery were somewhat difficult to see due to so much smoke in the air from fires. Afterwards, I asked about the smoke at the nearby ranger station and the ranger did not know the origin of the fires causing the smoke. On our descent we ran into two families with kids aged about 4 to 10. The kids were struggling, especially through the rocky sections. I would hesitate to take young kids on this trail unless they're used to hiking a lot.

With each up and down, each bend traversed, all were meet with soaring mountain peeks, beautiful rock formations and gorgeous lakes scattered through out.
Between the spectrum of beautiful colors, the diverse changes of landscape ....I don't have the right words.to describe.This hike needs to be only experienced.
Good day, great hike!

hiking
9 days ago

This hike was exhilarating! I highly recommend everyone try it at least once. We went on August 12, which was a little overcast. Check the weather before you go so that you hike on a day to meet your expectations. An overcast day keeps you cooler, but you will miss some of the views. Overcast worked for me, as I skipped some of the trails the closer we got to the top. For an extra challenge try some boulder jumping. This was an amazing experience!

hiking
9 days ago

A fantastic hike with amazing views of Mt Baker and 3 pretty lakes. Many patches of snow remains at higher elevations, but totally doable in hiking boots. Pack plenty of water and snacks & enjoy!!

hiking
9 days ago

TLDR... Very worthwhile hike, if early. Bummer crowds. Keep your dog on it's leash for the love of all things decent. Nike running shoes will get you there, but for sure would recommend boots.

We got to the trailhead around 7:15 am and the lot was only about half-full. We were pretty fortunate to not encounter anyone for over a mile and a half - just the sweeping fog and light rain. The hike itself is a relatively gentle climb through some old growth and a couple slightly more tedious sections (think Pennsylvania on the AT) added in for a nice kick. The trail is well maintained. The alpine lake at the top is gorgeous and was well-worth the trip up. We strolled around the lake for awhile before the crowds arrived and decided to head back down around 9:45 am.

Unfortunately once we started heading back down we were smacked with a never-ending (as in, from the lake down until the parking lot) line of people heading up. The crazy foot traffic was harsh, but not nearly as lame as how people treat that place. We encountered about 10-15 deposits of trash that were not on the trail when we ascended a couple hours earlier and lwayyyyy too many groups of tech-bros and bro-ettes that were letting their dogs run off the leash - WE GET IT, you're dog is "chill" but with the amount of traffic (and kids), coupled with how narrow and rocky it can be at times, the entitlement isn't warranted or beneficial.

All-in-all, the hike is incredibly enjoyable and not very taxing and could be rated +4/5 on quality of trail, scenery, and workout alone. However, considering you're bound to come across a bunch of people here, it's worth knowing that... yup, a bunch of them suck.

hiking
9 days ago

The view at the top is totally worth it!

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike, good views, and fun rugged terrain that will challenge you. Trekking poles recommended for anyone doing this trail, especially for inexperienced hikers. This trail is a bit longer than the posted 9 miles due to the 3/4 mile walk from the mountain loop road to the trailhead.

on Lake 22 Trail

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked this last week with a girlfriend and kids (ages 9-15). Definitely bring water. Gets rocky but still doable in regular running/athletic shoes. I’m not in great shape (lol) but we all made it up and back okay.

Lake is gorgeous and worth the work to get up there. We did it on a weekday, started about 10:15am - got back to car about 3:15pm. Slow and steady and hung out at lake for a bit and ate our lunches. Several waterfalls along the way. Well maintained trail. Mostly in forest.

Oh sweet Jesus this was challenging! Mostly because it was so hot! Went on Wed Aug 8 and it HOT! But what a beautiful hike and views at the top we’re worth it... I went alone but in hindsight might have been good to have company... I appreciated the meditative time with nature.. Enjoy!

hiking
11 days ago

Started the trail at Smithbrook Trailhead. Parking lot nearly full on a July afternoon, but the lake was uncrowded. Trail is nicely switchbacked and the elevation that you gain on the way up to the junction with the PCT goes quickly and easily. The lake is spectacular. We had lunch on a large rock situated above the water and could easily see the fish swimming around the logs below. Crystal clear water. Just about a perfect dayhike.

The intensity level reflects what is stated on the site, HARD. I’m new to hiking and this hike was very rigorous and exhausting. I’m not in the best shape and I have asthma so I took many breaks on my way up. My legs started giving up once I was almost at the lookout but a group of hikers let me borrow their trekking pole. You definitely meet nice people when hiking :)

Tips:
- Bring bug spray, you don’t really feel the mosquitos and flies unless you stop.
- Drive VERY carefully on the last 6 miles before arriving at the parking lot as the dirt/gravel road is filled with a lot of potholes.
- Wear hiking shoes as you are walking over LOTS of rocks.
- You need a parking permit (Northwest Forest Pass), which you can purchase at Verlot Public Service Center for $5.
- Bring plenty of water and a snack.
- Take breaks as needed.

Load More