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.

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Hiked up to the lookout today 8/13/18. Started at 7:30am and was the first one at the empty lookout. Unfortunately it is entirely socked in with smoke at the moment, making the views extremely limited at the top. The hike itself was pretty strenuous but beautiful. Wildflowers galore! The road up to the trail is in pretty bad shape. Definitely recommend a high clearance vehicle and some good tires. (My outback did fairly well)

Great hike with wonderful views of the lake at the end! Scenery changes often with forest at the beginning, followed by meadows that transition into alpine vegetation and finally the overlook of the beautiful lake at the end. We found camping spots on the ridge just before getting to the National Park, but you could also camp about a 1/4 mile before the ridge and find many spots. Very difficult to actually get down to the lake. Road takes a while on the drive in/out so plan accordingly.

Good hike with the family when camping nearby.

A late start at 2:45 on a mostly sunny warm day. I only hiked until 5 and then turned around, only because of the late start. This is definitely a strenuous trail, more on the downhill trip. Fantastic views at a couple of places where the trees thin out. I am going to try this trail again and being trekking poles to help on the descent. The pics at the top seem to make the trip worthwhile.

Super easy, good for kids. Amazing views

hiking
5 days ago

Really nice hike and beautiful views.Easy.

hiking
6 days ago

Nice hike with a beautiful pay off.

Spectacular!!!! There was smoke from the fires but none the less excellent hiking... 8/9/18

Fantastic hike with challenging elevation, well worth with 360 view at the top

Beautiful, fun but HARD hike

Very good hike with enough elevation gain to be challenging but still manageable. The view from the lookout afforded pretty amazing views in all directions. The one drawback today was the available views were a bit diminished in clarity by haze from forest fires. Bugs were annoying but not dreadful on the lower reaches of the trail.

Best views ever. Worst descent ever.

Hiked yesterday, 8/2/18. Getting into the park around 9:45 AM, the ranger said I best hurry if I wanted to make it to the top before potential cloud coverage that would prevent any views. With this in mind, I hurried over to the trail and made my way up the never-ending wooded switchbacks, occasionally peering out through the trees to see already-impressive views.

Multiple times I figured I was close to getting out of the trees, but the wooded switchbacks were endless and steep. Getting to the creek by the Sourdough campsite, I stopped and filtered some water to keep fully stocked.

This is when the hike really starts getting worthwhile. The views open up to the right down onto the bright, turquoise lake as wildflowers start to populate the fields and the incline tapers off a bit.

A few more switchbacks until the top, and then you are greeted by the most amazing views on every side of the mountain. Glaciers, jagged peaks, rolling clouds, mountain lakes, and even more jagged peaks off on the horizon that made me yell to myself “WHAT ARE THOSE!!!” as I was only sharing the top with one other hiker. You could spend the whole day up there with a set of binoculars picking apart every bit of the scenery.

Now for the worst part. The hike was incredibly steep on the way down too (who would’ve thought), and the return of trees to prevent views really made me hate myself. I made it up in around 3 hours, and ended up only shaving off about 20-30 minutes due to just how painful it was on my knees. USE HIKING POLES TO SAVE YOURSELF.

The views were second-to-none, but the hike down was a special type of hell.

Edit: forgot to mention bugs. Weren’t an issue on the way up, and usually don’t bother me much in general so I never use bug spray. They were a bit annoying for the final stretch on the way down when I started taking breaks - so would probably be terrible for those that attract bugs. No mosquitos, just lots of little gnats and flies.

We did this as a day hike up to the Fourth of July pass campground and back. It's a steady and steep switchback climb once you separate from the Panther Creek trailhead. I would not recommend the trip as we did it. The views from the campground were not what we were expecting for the work we put in - beautiful, but mostly obscured by trees. I'd imagine if one was backpacking or doing the entire pass crossing all in one go, the views would be better.

If anyone sees an Orange REI rainfly laying around on the road somewhere please contact me at cranswic@hawaii.edu... lost on July 24th

The hike was GREAT! Totally gets your blood pumping and then the views take your breath away!

My favorite hike in WA! Bring bug spray and get there a little early to get a good parking spot.

July 28, 2018: The worst part of this trail on a sweltering July day is the exposed, steep mountainside of the last ~1,000 feet of elevation gain but it's inundated with wildfowers and butterflies so it's not all bad. The forest up til then is not crazy steep for the most part, and quite gorgeous to note. This is a rather uneventful hike, no obstacles or anything crazy to traverse.
Snow free. Bug spray is a must or they'll carry you off!

hiking
19 days ago

The hike starts out very steep, going through a forested with very few openings for views. Because it is so steep and difficult, it is hard to keep motivated with redundancy of forested switchbacks. Once you come out of the forest, the views are stunning, but the steepness of the hike is relentless. You will cross Sourdough Creek which is very refreshing and a good place to refill water. Then you continue to the top where you will cross some snow fields and hit the lookout. The view of Diablo Lake was perfection, capturing the turquoise color.

My biggest complaint, which is not the trails fault, but the bugs were the worst I have ever seen. We got over 100 mosquito bites each and they did not care what clothing or bug spray we were wearing.

Advice — take your hiking poles. They are super helpful on the way down and will give your knees some ease.

Went last night and had a blast great walk

Beautiful hike. We used our hiking poles to save our knees coming back down. Bugs at the top were awful and prevented us from sitting down to relax and enjoy the view. The 360 pano from up top is unreal though.

Awesome trail! It is rated correct as hard. It’s no so much the length of the trail as much as it’s the up and up and up some more. There plenty of water on the trail and snow. I found it was easier to cross the 4 snow packs with my crampons as my knee was not liking the unstable surface. Views were AMAZING! Lots of wild flowers and water falls. You will not be alone I. This trail for long. It is very busy but not over crowded. Parking is a problem if your not there by 8 a.m. at the latest. In the way down cars were parked for a half mile making the already super narrow road worse. Enjoy the hike, take pics

Nice hike with some climbing not too steep. Beautiful views of lake and surrounding mountains.

Awesome trail! The views from the lookout are breathtaking. Just make sure to get to the TH before 0800. Parking is very limited. We luckily squeezed into a spot, but by the time we left, cars were lined up along the side of the road (extremely close to a steep ledge as well) for at least half a mile. Besides the parking, it is a great, diverse hike! Would love to go back and be the lucky one to snag the lookout for the night.

Hiked this trail via Thunder Creek TH. Gorgeous and stately old growth forest welcomes you into the inclines about 2 miles in. Trail is steep but well kept, lightly traveled, and cool with shade from the forest. Peek a boo glimpses of the glacier and a small lake add to its appeal.

on Thunder Knob Trail

hiking
26 days ago

Nice hike and views but road noise from Hwy. 20 on much of the trail.

July 14, 2018: Amazing hike!
Road to trailhead is rough leave your Bentley at home.
Most of the trail is straight forward. Snowy parts higher up are easily navigable without fancy gear. The summit is kind of awkward since it's all boulders. The climb between the snow field and the summit is interesting, it's steep and the trail is faint in various parts and can be difficult to find, but it's doable for the average hiker. The scramble at the summit isn't that bad.

hiking
27 days ago

My 5 stars are for the trail and spectacular views, but I agree with a previous reviewer that this is not an easy trail for everyone. I am a very fit 70-year-old and found it quite a challenge. It took me 2 hours to reach the summit and 30 min to come down.

you dont need high clearance/4wd when the road is dry, but it definitely takes some slow speeds and maneuvering. it's also pretty steep and there's only room for one car most of the time.

as for the trail, it was gorgeous! lots of wild flowers waterfalls, 360 views once you get a couple miles on. there are a lot of water crossings and at some points the trail was more of a creek bed so I definitely recommend waterproof shoes.

Not too bad of trail but if you come through the Panther Creek trail head, expect some brutal switchbacks to start. I also wouldn't choose this route if you have small children as some of the downhill switchbacks are tight and have steep drop offs.

This hike is really hard. As someone that lives in Ohio where we don’t have much elevation gain. This hike kicked my butt but it was so beautiful. I had trekking poles to help through the snow but my bf didn’t. We both did fine.

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