Explore the most popular river 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.

16 hours ago

Visited last summer and the views were UNREAL. We did the loop in a clockwise direction, heading left at the trailhead; if you hike this way, then all of the elevation gain is done in the first mile or so and there are views the rest of the hike as well as a downward slope the rest of the 6 or so miles. Conversely, if you hike the loop counterclockwise, there will be a lot more uphill hiking as the elevation gain is spread out over the miles.

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.

9 days ago

A fairly easy hike with gorgeous views of mountains and lakes. Mid-July, there was still plenty of snow in the upper parts, so hiking poles and good boots come highly recommended. We hiked it in the counter-clockwise direction and we thought the last steep descent was quite hard on the knees but nothing unbearable. If you prefer a less steep descent, go clockwise though.
All in all, a really nice hike with quite a few people on the trail.

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!

2 months ago

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

3 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.

3 months ago

bad knees(like me)? -> walk it clockwise...and use poles.
great knees? -> walk it, run it, etc; direction irrelevant.
I grew up taking my family vacations out in this area. my parents would take my brother and I to lake ann every year. We would go fishing and visit with campers and swim, etc. I have many fond memories of this place. I especially remember how I could hear grown ups up on the ridge talking as they went on an "adult hike." this year, my husband and I spent a week out in the cascades and I was so excited to not only share my memories with him but to walk maple pass. as we were walking to the trailhead, a hornet decided to sting me (jerk) and it hurt like hell. I was also recovering from an ear infection and head cold from 3 days earlier. I would not be deterred...onward in a clockwise fashion we went. at 38 I have horrible knees (sx on my right and broke my "good" knee, the left one, 2 years ago). I am glad we got the steep stuff out of the way going up. if not for saving my knees, but for the insane indescribable monumental breathtaking views. the most steep parts were in the treeline. once you've cleared that, put on your hat and sunscreen (we hiked on September 1st) and stay hydrated. We ate some of the best huckleberries walking the last 4 switchbacks to the top. We had a great lunch and marvelled at the panoramic beauty. after a 30 min lunch we headed down and around lake ann not before getting a peekaboo view of Lewis lake. the descent going clockwise was so nice and kept the swelling and pain to barely noticeable. We made great time on both the ascent and descent. lake ann has changed since I was a kid. it's grown in around most of it and there no camping allowed. my only (minor) gripe is to the public at large: read all trails or wta or the parks info on a trail before going on a hike so you know what your getting into. We passed quite a few people in flat soled tennis shoes, no hats and minimal water and quite a few asked us how much longer to the top (green trails are GREAT maps sold at REI...when the last lady we saw whined at me asking how much further, I pulled out my map to show her location and she was stunned saying, oh my, you have a map and everything wow). Being ill prepared and complaining about it isn't fun, for anyone.

Most beautiful hike I've done yet.

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!

4 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.

Views are stunning! It was great but you need spikes and poles, gets slippery on the way down.
We did counter clockwise, should have done another way around.

5 months ago

Hiked this on Sunday, 15th. It was a gorgeous hike and like others have said, the larches were out in all their glory.

5 months ago

By far my favorite hike I've done. Beautiful views, I began to the right of the loop, my poles definitely came in handy on the way down. Happy hiking!

5 months ago

Hiked this trail with our yellow lab and had a great time. We got to the trailhead around 11:30 am and went clockwise (wanted to avoid a slippery, steep descent)—the trip was exactly four hours roundtrip, with lots of stops along the way. Wear plenty of layers, and come prepared for the snow. We had our yak tracks on and it saved us from a ton of tumbles.

5 months ago

Hiked Sunday Oct. 8th between 2:00pm and 7:30pm ish; overnight snow pack made some parts very slippery, crampons/trekking poles would have helped. So beautiful though! The butt bruises were worth the views

Trail was amazing. A black bear and plenty of Pikas were out on this cold and snowy day. There is about 6 inches (and growing) of snow up top near the forks to both Stehekin and Doubtful lake so I stopped there, if you want discontinue make sure your prepared for snow and weather changes. Was definitely worth it before the road closes! Get out and do it! only took me about 4.5 hrs.

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!

5 months ago

What a beautiful day for an adventure! My son (6 years old) and I arrived at the trail head around 10:30am and there were still a few spots in the parking lot. After gearing up, grabbing our dog, and signing in, we made our way up the trail. The first 2/3 are wooded with the remaining portion exposed. There were some parts of the trail that had compact snow and ice, and while they weren't impassable, some sort of traction would be helpful. The larches are out in full force so if you want to see them now is the time.

5 months ago

I combined this with Lake Ann and Rainy Lake as well to make a nice day hike. Spectacular views from Maple Pass looking down into the mountain "bowl" where the lake nestles at the bottom. Very steep up to the Pass, and obviously no trees to buffer the wind. Trail finding is easy, plenty of shade in the beginning of the trail and a great place to eat lunch at Lake Ann. Bring plenty of water and layered clothing for the wind at the top. Great trail for those who aren't new to hiking!

5 months ago

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.

5 months ago

Incredible hike! Left at 2:30pm and finished at around 6:15pm right at dusk. There were 4 of us and a dog, which slowed us down a little bit. We went to the left at the beginning of the trail which means we did the sharp incline as the beginning of the trip. So beautiful!

Very beautiful!!!! Like others have said going counterclockwise is easier, we are glad we did! Elevation change meant snow at the top, as long as we kept moving we were warm enough though!

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.

5 months ago

Bucket list hike - spectacular.

Beautiful lake, fall colors, trail was in great shape. Snowed very lightly up at the lake. I'd rate it easy.

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

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