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

NorthCascadesNP Map
VIEW FULL MAP

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.

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.

on Sauk Mountain Trail

hiking
3 days ago

In fog all the way up today but I still rate this hike at a 5. Lots of elevation gain in a short distance but the switchbacks made it easier. So did the fog since it was a lot cooler. Still snow at the top and lots of wildflowers. Marmot, grouse and chipmunk. I'm going to come back on a clear day for the views this hike is known for!

Fabulous even with clouds!

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.

Awesome hike. Downloading the gps was helpful over some of the snow patches as none of us in the group had done this one before. Seemed like most of the snow would melt soon. Trekking poles would have been helpful but managed without.

on Cascade Pass Trail

backpacking
6 days ago

road closed 3 miles before trailhead, adds quite a bit of elevation gain to the hike. Other than that it was absolutely beautiful!

Incredible hike! Steady switchbacks all the way up but nothing too tough. The views are absolutely stunning the whole way. A little snow towards the top but definitely passable and the 360 views at the top are breathtaking.. Road up to the trail head is long and rough, but worth it.

on Sauk Mountain Trail

8 days ago

Great hike. Amazing views the entire way.

Rigorous.

hiking
11 days ago

For as little effort this trail requires, the views are amazing!! There’s still a bit of snow at the top, but nothing terrible! It’s passable with boots and poles if needed! Also a lot of friendly marmots about at the top

Rocky bumpy road to the trail head recommend a high clearance vehicle but not needed if you want to risk it. Starts with a nice wooded area and the switchbacks continue through the meadows with nice flowers until you hit snow. Even though it can be done without spikes it will be nice to have them and my trekking poles proved vital in the snow. Once near the lookout prepare to climb over big boulders leading to the lookout. Once at the lookout you will have some tiny visitors looking for a snack. Totally worth the trip for an amazing unforgettable view. As of yesterday July 4th the lake was quite frozen with some snow.

My wife and I took our twin daughters in Kelly Kids carriers as far as we could go without snow spikes and axes as well as factoring in overall safety. Had to turn around at about 5800' elevation when it got too step and slick for us. Until that point the views were incredible. Wish we could have had a bit less snow so we could have seen Hidden Lake.

I love this trail. It is a spectacular, invigorating hike. Went up today (7/4). Still a fair amount of snow up at the summit. We had a beautiful view of the North Cascades and Mt Rainier was looming like a spectral presence in the distance. Mt Baker was magnificent. Wildflowers were going crazy. Still a large piece of ice on Sauk Lake down below. If you haven’t been before know that the unpaved road up from Hwy 20 to the trailhead is rugged.

Gorgeous trail. Generally not that difficult, just uphill. There are a couple of log crossings on the trail that were slippery and precarious. Hiked on 7/3/18 and trail was snow free for the most part up till the traverse to the pass. We used spikes and didn't feel they were too precarious. Secondly doable without but I'd recommend them and poles. Road to trailhead is closed 3 miles from trail so it made for a little over 14 miles to the pass and back? Road crew indicated that they hoped to have a lane open for the holiday but based on what it looked like on our way down I'd say I'd it is open it's definitely going to be high clearance only at points.

hiking
20 days ago

Started around 8:45 this morning. Took us about an hour and a half. Very cloudy/foggy. A little rain too. Only ones on trail and couldn’t see more than 30 yards in any direction. Couldn’t make it to the top due to the snow, but will definitely be back in the future! Great hike.

hiking
20 days ago

The switchbacks feel like they go on forever, but once you come out of the trees the views are stunning. I'd recommend at least continuing up to Doubtful Lake from Cascade Pass.

*** Hey Tray Edwards- the author of the WTA report from 6/24/18 might have your micros...

I drove up late Saturday night to catch the sunrise at the peak. The unimproved road leading to the trailhead is a little washed out and may be an issue for low clearance cars. Although I did see a Prius parked up there. I started the hike around 230am and didn’t have any issues with staying on the trail under darkness, it’s pretty established and no snow until about 2 miles up. You’ll cross a few creeks along the way but nothing too drastic. Once I hit the snow I put on my micro spikes ad had my ice axe available due to the incline of the trail & hard snow. I found it difficult to follow the trail (others tracks) and veered off course a few times and ended up cutting up to the peak earlier than I should have but it was a great view when the sun started coming up. I made it to the center lookout point by 0500ish and watched the sunrise. There were a few campers still in their tents there. The lake is still iced over but it was still a perfect view. After hiking around to the lookouts I began my decent around 0600. The snow was already starting to loosen up and I ended up losing a micro spike along the way. On the way down I was able to enjoy the views I missed coming up in the dark, with beautiful wildflowers and waterfalls. It was a great hike & id love to stay at the lookout overnight next time. Definitely don’t underestimate this hikes difficulty, especially in the dark.

Amazing views all the way up! Easy ascent - well designed switch backs. Snow covering trail at the top. Ok with good shoes and pokes.

hiking
1 month ago

Parking lot not be able to access, about 1/2 mile walk from nearest roadside parking to the trailhead.
The views are there all the way up, and gets even better we you reach the top and see the other side of the mountain.
The best return for the distance in WA state, highly recommended.

Hiked on 6/9/18 - snow at about 3 miles kept me from making it to the lookout. The trail was tough to follow and eventually I lost it.

In any conditions it is definitely a challenging push - especially the first 1.5 miles. I’ll be back in the summer to make sure to top out!

This is my favorite hike within driving distance to Seattle. I haven’t been since last year but am planning a return this summer. Stunning views. Definitely a climb but not difficult like Lake Serene. ❤️ this hike!

My very favorite hike to do in Washington with absolutely amazing views. I highly recommend this hike!

Trail is still not accessible due to snow covering the access road starting at about mile 5 of 6. Hike up the road and the top half mile is deep with snow completely covered. Maybe in a month or 2?

Great hike! Still a lot of snow. Can almost park at the trail head as of 5/12/18

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Hell of a route! Potentially the best views in Washington for a ROUGH one day hump; 2 days strongly recommended.

Be aware of the talus field right out the forest. The toughest section in my opinion. Also, there are crevasses on the glaciers (to apt to hit them on Inspiration Glacier).

Took just under 11 hours up (hit crevasse at 8,400 and turned back...). 3.5 hours down. You're a bit over halfway, effort-wise, when you hit the "notch" in the ridge at 6,150".

Solo (like me) or with others, this is a spectacular event. Enjoy!

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!

Forest road snow covered at 4 miles prevented us from making it to the TH. Some large potholes up to that point but not terrible.

hiking
6 months ago

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

Load More