Explore the most popular backpacking trails in North Cascades National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
2 days ago

I backpacked to Junction it was great

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!

5/26/18 Road impassable by snow 1.9 miles from trailhead. I will be back later in the summee

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

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

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!

hiking
5 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

great easy hike and you can pick your distance. I was sick and recovering from an ear infection (drove into concrete for medical) and didn't have the energy to do much. just a few miles out n back in tennis shoes...very easy and pretty. apparently someone started a forest fire at one of the camps so it was closed earlier in the week. anyone can do this walk.

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!

backpacking
7 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.

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!

This hike is the same as Cascade Pass I believe since it includes Sahale Arm and Doubtful Lake. I'm repeating my review here: Beautiful hike! Not sure I would call it difficult but it was certainly steep with plenty of switchbacks. I think maybe the views helped distract me from the steep trail, but I don't recall being completely wiped out from it. Glaciers top all the mountains and you can see large chunks falling away, and hear the glacial runoff stream down the mountains. Very green the whole way with grassy meadows at the top and sections of beautiful red wildflowers. Stay on the trails here so as not to squash these delicate plants. Plenty of marmots and even some deer. I topped out above Doubtful Lake, taking in the panoramic view. Highly recommended hike for anyone who has hiked steep trails before! Bring plenty of water, food, and good hiking shoes.

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.

A lot of ups and downs on a rooty, rocky trail but it was worth it! This was great. Lots of awesome dogs,
People and wild blueberries! It was a wonderful time!

Incredible. Sunny and blue skies after a light snow fall. Only made it to the glacier as the trail becomes hard to find due to snow (and ranger suggested possibly needing a pickaxe), but the views are unparalleled the entire way up. The road to the trailhead is slow with lots of washboards and some big potholes, but doable. Start early to get up before the fog rolls in.

Amazing hike great views!

Amazing!! So worth the hike

hiking
9 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.

Thursday 9-14-2017: My friend, wife and I hiked to Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm. The weather was sunny and the temperature was pleasant 52 to 75 degrees. The mountains, glaciers, and the lake were beautiful. There were abundant ripe blueberries around Cascade Pass. We also saw chipmunks, squirrels, pikas, a deer, a mother and a baby goat. It was a great hike.

backpacking
9 months ago

We hiked this trail over the Labor Day weekend. Trail was in great condition. The elevation gain to our final campsite was tough on the knees. We camped in a clearing with beautiful mountain views with cascading waterfalls. 10.3 miles to our campsite.

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

VIEWS! This day hike exceeded expectations. Plenty of water along the trail this day in early Sept. Saw a mountain goat, marmots, and pika, etc. A lot of full sun exposure, so come prepared for that. Stopped at Sahale, did not feel comfortable crossing to go to Quinn Sabe.

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.

Awesome!!! The worst part is the last 5 miles driving. A suv will make your life much easier.
Bring enough water, food, comfy shoes. Hiking poles will help too.

Once you get out of the switchbacks in the trees, the views are unbelievable. We carried on to Doubtful lake, then turned around. We also managed to see a bear sleeping on a glacier - can't blame him, it was hot!

Did this hike today as a day hike. Was 130 mile drive from Renton one way. The dirt road is just horrible and extends 4.5 miles. Please please take a 4X4 or an SUV with you. The hike itself is steep but awesome. The first 2 miles are rather steep and then it plateaus out a bit and then the final push is not bad but a little steep again. I didn't plan this properly so while walking back I had to walk last 1 mile using my iPhone flashlight and then getting out of the dirt road was another project on a low clearance vehicle. All in all a stunning lake but a grueling commute hike.

Load More