Explore North Cascades National Park - 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 National Park Map

Beautiful hike over the damn and you can hike up along the falls coming down. Was beautiful back on 1/7/2018

Make no mistake, unlike many other hard-rated hikes on this website, this one is actually hard. An information board in one of the ranger centers rated it as extremely strenuous, and while I'm not sure about the "extreme" part, "strenuous" is definitely an apt description.
You start straight off with the hardest part - very steep switchbacks through a forest that feel almost endless and offer absolutely no views to take your mind off your misery. While you gain a lot of altitude in this section, on the map it looks like you are making no progress at all, which can feel somewhat discouraging. It was warm and really humid when we did the hike, which made the first part even worse.
Once you make it beyond the switchbacks, you finally get some views, which gradually open up until you have full 360 at the top. The final push again comes in the form of a few steep switchbacks but this time they are fairly short.
Mid-July, there was still a lot of snow at the top, so sturdy boots and hiking poles are a must.
During the whole hike, we only met 3 or 4 other people, so if you want some quiet time, this hike is definitely a good place. We saw some ground-squirrels and bear footprints but no other wildlife.
In sum, this is a great hike with stunning views at the top, definitely worth the effort.

Love the lake, the view it’s amazing

This must be one of my favorite, if not "the" favorite hike - it has really just about everything: an adventurous drive to the trail-head (more on that later), a forest to start your hike in, a lush mountain meadow, plenty of snow-fields (mid July) all the way to a rock-scrambling part to the lookout at the end. And the views, oh my, the views. Going up, they are beautiful already but once you make it to the ridge that will get you to the lookout, you're in for a real treat. I just wish we had known that it was possible to stay overnight in the lookout - sunset and sunrise must be absolutely stunning from there.
The hike itself is not easy and the last part would be tough for people with vertigo but otherwise we didn't think it was too difficult. It's easily manageable in an afternoon even if you take plenty of time to soak in the views at the top. We saw a bear and a pica rabbit too.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the drive. I saw cars parked at the trail-head that had pretty low clearance, so it must be possible to get there in just about anything but I was really happy that we took a rental 4WD SUV. The forest road is quite steep in places and littered with potholes large enough to break your axle in, so having a higher clearance vehicle comes in handy.
Overall, if there is just one hike you are going to do in this part of the park, make it this one!

Gorgeous but short

2 months ago

Incredible. Most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on in the US so far.

Made the mistake of starting this trail during the hottest part of the day in July. This hike is no joke! We had to turn around half a mile from the summit as we didn’t Bring enough water and one member of our group was getting very ill. One member of our group did make it to the top and said the views of the sun setting into the mountains that stretched far into Canada were absolutely stunning.

3 months ago

not the best hike but a decent little afternoon out and back and a great starter hike for those folks who enjoy nature walks and want to jump to the next step of an actual "hike." I say this because there is minimal elevation gain but has enough subtle gains, rocks and root systems to warrant it a hike (though, we were passed by a trail runner. how they can run these things and not break an ankle I'll never know). it's a fun way to get in a little exercise while playing tourist as you check out diablo dam and ross dam as well. the switchbacks close to the final descent to ross dam may be challenging for beginners but you can bypass them and head straight to the lookout point and settle in for a lunch there if you wish. the best part for us was being able to see the lake(s) from the other side instead of the highway AND seeing the inlets and islands we kayaked to the day before. be aware: if you do not like heights, you may not enjoy the break in the treeline close to the halfway point ; it's steep, narrow and really cool! I am a major klutz so I walked purposefully and used my poles. overall a very level and fun hike. I would say be mindful of the steep mountainside if you've got little ones or people afraid of heights but it's a nice little ditty for sure.

Hidden lake lookout. Attempt number 3. Success.
It was king of challenge for me, I tried to get to the lookout two times before (May and November), two times in snow, two fails.
The initial plan for today was relax and enjoy snowshoe around Artis Point, but yesterday evening when I was checking reports I found on alltrails.com that somebody put 5 stars for Hidden Lake trail 5 days ago, it was enough for me to change my plans and try Hidden Lake again. Despite great weather I was not sure if I can make it, I still remember how much snow and avalanches was in May, but I decided give it a shot.

Came to trail around 10:30, actually I didn't get to trailhead even on AWD and parked mile or so before TH, 6 or 7 cars already were there. I reached TH in 40 mins and tired, it was difficult to go by snow, decided put on snowshoe after forest part. Forest part was easier, since less snow there, you can do in hiking boots, but gaiters recommended. Met two people going back, they done forest part of the trail and turned back.

Once I reached basin area I starded to follow by ski track, it was not easy, but doable in snowshoe which is a must at this part. I folowed ski track by right side from the stream, when actuall trail goes by left side. There are few avalances already came down, snow looks stable and solid, but anyway pay attention. Clibmed up to second avalanch, which came from the top and turned left to actual trail. Then did couple switchbacks and crossed this avalanch again toward to travers part of the trail. Despite hard and stable snow it was little bit scary to walk by avalnches, but I decided to go, maybe not too smart.

Travers part was very nice and much easier! View was gorgeous, clear views of peaks around, mt Baker, sun, snowshoe. Btw there are some steep slopes on this part as well, I even used iceaxe to go throug it, but as I said I followed by ski track, maybe it possible to find less steep route.

Once I reached end of the travers part I saw many snowshoe footprints at this point I realized that it should be some winter route. Definitely! I've seen many cars but met only two people, and ski track I followed by was few days long.

From this point there are few snowshoe trackы - first is regular trail, second goes to hidden lake peaks. I climbed up by second one, but at this point I did't know that it goes to the peaks, i realized it lated once I got closer. I didn't get to the peak, because it was already 2:30 pm and I had not so much time. I turned right towards to the lookuout, getting closer I've seen some people doing travers by peak to the lookout. In some report guys called this part "do it or die", kind of true :)

So, I reached lake viewpoint, then I took one of the snowshoe track up, travers part to the lookout is very steep, if you will go there you need to be very careful. I put of basket from my right pole and used it as iceaxe, before doing next step I put it deep in snow.

Finally I reached lookout, there were five people and two dogs, they came for overnight. They told me about winter route, it is shorter and much steeper. But! it much safer from avalanch standpoint since it goes through forest and there less snow now. So, if you go tomorrow or before next snowfall you can go by regular route, after snowfal basin area will be risky, but you can try winter route. But as I said it is very very steep espesially at the beginning (from road to lookout)

I took some food and photos and went down by regular route. Yeah, views were just awesome!

On my way back I met three people going up, they came by regular route as me. So, I tool winter route back, first half was easy, since I went down, moderate level of snow, good snowshoe track. Second part was more tough, slopes were much steeper, lots of fallen trees, I lost track little bit, because snow disappeared and I just followed direction to the road. Finally I reache the road, walked down to my car and went home.

Finally I can cross Hidden Lake Lookout trail in my list as completed.

Lots of snow up there. I got to the lake viewpoint but not to the lookout, since I was first on the trail and spent lots of time for trail finding and overall visibility was awful. Poles, gaiters is a must. Snowshoe, spikes might be helpful. Find my report on wta

Northern Cascades at its finest.

Amazing hike! Absolutely beautiful views; definite bucket list worthy. Just be very careful on your way down as there’s no clear trail markings.

My favorite hike in the lower 48!

5 months ago

I absolutely loved this hike! We got up to the lookout early so we could secure our spot, but I would have loved to camp out by the lake as well. The lookout is the most maintained and well kept lookout I've been to! I will definitely be doing this hike again.

5 months ago

hiked on Friday for sunset, still no snow and very beautiful

5 months ago

This is a nice trail, though the distance is closer to 3.9 miles for the out and back trip. The trail is almost entirely incline on the way to the lake, but not too steep in most places. Moderate is an accurate rating.

Amazing views throughout. Upper half of the trail had plenty of snow but thankfully hikers before us blazed an easy trail. The snow made the rocks at the top pretty slippery but still manageable at a slow pace. Snow also made it difficult to get to the lookout cabin so we'll have to do that next time!

Good trail: a bit rooty for the first half hour in the trees.Upper elevations rocky with some side slabs.
Views are amazing. Cool fire Lookout perched at the Peak. Treatable water throughout, including tarns 600 feet lower than the Peak. Snow can be a problem as approach trail climbs a shaded steep valley.

nature trips
5 months ago

Like to stop here on my way to Chelan to visit my parents! It's beautiful, quick and easy for the dog and I to stretch our legs! The waterfall is breathtaking and the bridge and damn, great little spot! :)

Easy hike with a few great lookouts

super steep nice view at the top but it's a climb.

Amazing hike great views!

Amazing!! So worth the hike

6 months ago

Friday 9-15-2017: My friend, wife, and I hiked to Hidden Lake Lookout. The road to the trailhead is rough. The weather was sunny and the temperature was 42 to 75 degrees. The mountains, glaciers, and the lake were beautiful. There were abundant ripe blueberries around the rock garden. We enjoyed 360 degree view at the lookout cabin. It was a great hike.

Very relaxed hike with gorgeous lake views at the top.

6 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! The views at the top are absolutely breathtaking. I would recommend starting as early as possible so you have time to enjoy the views at the top before heading back down. Bring lots of water. It is a very difficult hike with endless switchbacks. I did it in early September, the weather was perfect and there were still wildflowers. The trail was not crowded at all. Highly recommend!

We hiked up on a cold rainy day, but it was nice watching the fog roll in. Scramble to the top is quite steep.

The most glorious view. Well worth the intense hike as long as you have good snacks for the top! Highly recommend pokes at least 2L of water per person.

6 months ago

beautiful Lake!

This is an out and back trail that takes you through interesting landscapes, including rainforest-like vegetation, rocky fields, and dry open areas. About halfway down, the trail leads along the top of a gorge, from which you can look down at the blue-green waters of Lake Diablo. At the end of the trail the Ross Dam is visible. The views aren't stellar, but the water is very pretty when you can see it and the mix of vegetation made it an enjoyable hike for me. If you're looking for big views, seek elsewhere.

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