Cascade Pass Trail to Cottonwood Camp is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Marblemount, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from August until October.

Length15.9 miElevation gain4,668 ftRoute typeOut & back
CampingHikingNature tripsRock climbingBird watchingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeBugsSnowNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Washington State Tourism, P.O. Box 42500 , Olympia, WA, 98504-2500, Phone: 360-586-2088, tobyg@tourism.wa.gov

Directions from Stehekin: Take the shuttle northward along Stehekin River Road to Glory Mountain. At the end of the shuttle route hike northward along the road to Cottonwood Trailhead. The trail leads westward from Cottonwood Trailhead.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (82)
Photos (465)
Activities (56)
Completed (249)
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Shiv Shetty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

We know the North Cascades are among the most beautiful places on the planet, so not gonna go into too many superlatives on that, but since this hike had never been posted before on Alltrails figured I should do it. You may not want to pay too much attention to the times on the recording, I was doing the hike with a person with about 30% breathing capacity to normal, so each trip took longer, barring Proton Basin to Basin Creek which I did on my own. My route would also have be going back to Cascade pass; because it was snowing the previous evening I wanted to see the area on a clear day. Glad I did go back, not only for the landscape sights, but also saw some marmots and had a bear sighting. My sighting had the bear far out, but a couple hikers the previous day warned us of a bear on the trail on the way up to Cascade pass. This was a 3 night backpacking trip and we camped at Pelton Basin, Basin Creek and Park Creek on route to Stehekin. Pelton Basin: Absolutely stunning campground where we also had a bear sighing in the area by the water. This bear was minding its own business eating berries, was cool to see it though. Given the proximity of Pelton Basin to Cascade pass, the campground is where you will encounter the most people on your route. We only saw one other person after, and that was closer to Stehekin. Basin Creek: Access to horseshoe basin, but is a relatively small camp. Cottonwood camp however is only about 2 miles down the trail. Be warned of plenty of horse shit on the trail all the way from Cottonwood camp to High Bridge campground. Park Creek: Cool and pretty open campground where we were allowed to have a fire, so that was nice. Flat creek campground is closed due to a previous fire, so once you spot the path the flat creek on the right continue walking about half a mile to get to Park Creek campground. Park Creek is marked in a very unclear manner on Alltrails and a couple other maps we were using. Distances on the trail to each campground and Cascade pass were also about 20% short of the actual.

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Corey Arnold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Heavily trafficked to the top of the pass, but after that we only saw 4 hikers. Stunning waterfalls on both sides of the valley hike down to cottonwood.

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Prasad Shivanna
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020
Hiking
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Julie Kinder
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Hiking
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Kevin Fagan
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HikingBugsGreat!No shade

Great Trail. We completed the hike in 3 days and took our time doing it. The valley after the pass can certainly heat up during the day with the trail being exposed but there is a great swimming hole to cool off about 3 miles from cottonwood camp.

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Ryan Crossett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020

This was the most incredible hike I’ve ever done, and by far the best place I’ve ever pitched a tent!

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Nigel Swift
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2019
HikingBugsRocky

This hike was difficult on the way back from Cottowood Camp. Getting to Cottonwood Camp is an easy but long hike, but getting back is a long and painful hike. I did this hike today, on Thursday, 09/05/2019. It was a cloudless and hot day. I recorded 8.6 miles from the trailhead to Cottonwood Camp. The total trail distance came out to 17.2 miles, not the 15.9 miles advertised on AllTrails. I started the trail at 6:40am. I got to Cottonwood Camp around 10:50am. I left at 12pm and got back to my car at 5:25pm. Total hiking time (not including picture taking where the AllTrails Recorder was paused) came out to 7 hours and 37 minutes. The first 3.3 miles is uphill but modest. The next 5.3 miles to Cottonwood Camp is all downhill and ranges from a slight decline to very steep. There are endless fields of huckleberries when you start the descent to Cottonwood Camp from the rest/toilet area at 3.3 miles in. I ate a bunch of them. I encountered a total of 19 hikers throughout the day. There is a waterfall about 5 miles into the hike that empties a shallow but steady flowing stream across the trail. It’s a nice spot to relax and get your feet wet. There are lots of mountains and a huge valley to see. It was a scenic but long hike. I recommend it.

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Sam Haven
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2019
Hiking

Gorgeous hike up and over. Physically demanding but possibly the prettiest place ive been in Washington or at least one of them.

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James Rohner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2019
HikingOver grownRockySnow

fantastic trail make note Creek crossing for Doubtful Creek had the remove shoes and wade through also note once down in the valley the path became very over grown. the trail overall is extremely scenic the west side providing views of Johannesburg mountain and on the east side views of Pelton, Magic, Glory, and Boston mountains

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Sarah Walko
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HikingSnow
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Lisa Greenough
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 14, 2018
Hiking

The road is still being worked on, but is open now. Road is pretty rough in areas. The side of the road is soft, there was a car that actually slipped off while we were up there. Large parking lot! Trail is almost all switch backs. We spotted 2 bears, a few pikas, and tons of chipmunks. Once at the top, the temp dropped and it was freezing! Prepare for wind! Fall colors were amazing!

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Andrea Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2018
Hiking

Hiked to Cascade Pass the other day with my sister and dad. It was pretty special because my dad originally did the hike in 1968 - and 50 years later, he was able to do it again. It starts out in the forest in switch backs and then opens up to gorgeous views. After having lunch on the pass, we ventured a little further up Sahele Arm, which was definitely challenging in hot weather! Made it to the lake lookout and cooled ourselves by doing snow angels in some leftover patches. I would love to get back here next summer but quite a drive for me for a day hike - might end up being a backpacking trip! Amazing views, amazing hike. One I will remember forever.

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Brittany Jaroudi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2018
Hiking

Best hike we've ever done! This hike is really hard being its all uphill pretty much the entire way but the views are totally worth it!

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Angie Manning Goodwill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2018
Hiking

We had hoped to backpack into Basin Creek and stay for two nights, but even going in on a Sunday with the intention of staying Sunday and Monday, there were no permits available. So, we settled for spending two nights at Fourth of July Camp and doing a day hike to Cascade Pass on Tuesday after packing out. We are glad that’s how it worked out, because though the views are stunning at Cascade Pass, the bugs were bad, and even with hitting the trail late (almost 1:40pm) on a Tuesday afternoon, there were tons of people. Definitely one of the most crowded hikes I’ve been on. It was fine for a day hike, but if you’re looking for a little solitude on a backpack, this isn’t the spot. The trail itself is wonderfully engineered, and the scenery is outstanding. If you go at this time of year or later, make sure you have plenty of water to make it to the pass, as most of the little tributaries that cross the trail have dried up. You can access water (to purify, obvs) after the pass by heading down into the basin, but that’s about it.

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Leanne Coles
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2018

Great first BIG hike for my 4 yr old son! I grew up hiking this almost yearly! We LOVE seeing the BIG hikers treaking towards PCT! THIS memory is still a pushing permanent desire that my 8 yr old son and I still hold. THAT day atop that endless vastness, BIG TEARS ROLL DOWN HIS FACE, he Whales "I WANNA KEEP GOING WITH THEM!"I promised to take him back....ALL THE WAY! In the meantime let's see what other hikes you can do buddy❤️

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Amanda Craig
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2018
Hiking

Cascade Pass Trail was absolutely gorgeous! We started our hike around 4PM and got the trail all to ourselves. The climb is pretty steep, with approximately 35 switchbacks leading through beautiful, dense forest. After the final switchback, the trail levels off and you walk out of the forest into views of high peaks, glaciers, wildflowers, marmots, pikas and mountain goats. Would recommend trekking poles because there are several snow fields that you must cross to get to your final destination. Wonderful hike!

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Cassandra Joy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2017

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.

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Kirsten Chesney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2017
Hiking

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.

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Sarah Ciccarello
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2017
Hiking

We did this trail on a clear, sunny day with moderate temps. After hiking the 36 switchbacks to the pass we continued up the Sahale arm until we could see Doubtful Lake and the glacier above it. We heard from other hikers that a black bear eating berries was visible below the trail but we did not see it. There was a mountain goat and her kid roaming around the pass. The views are spectacular and I couldn't stop myself from taking lots and lots of photos. This was a 'bucket list' hike. 9/14/17

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Yaz Obara
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2017
Hiking

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.

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Cynthia R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2017

Even with the smoke layer from all the wildfires the hike was still worth it. We saw marmots and a mountain goat with her baby. Flowers were in full bloom too. However, the biting flies were as bad as previous posts state...while my husband didn't react to the bites, I woke up with welts and itchy bites all over me the next day (somehow they got through my shirt, and a ton of bug spray did not deter them). Highly recommend long sleeves and pants, although they'll still try to get up your nose and in your ears! Nature at its best!

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Allison Okamura
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2017
Hiking

Gorgeous destination, directions and difficulty level listed on AllTrails are accurate. We went 3.7 miles to the pass, where there is a nice viewing area and toilet. Took us 3.5 hours to get to the pass and back with brief lunch on the way up and rest at the top, with 2 kids, ages 7 and 11. Most of the trek (35-37 switchbacks) is in the woods with glimpses of the surrounding mountains, until the last mile or so which is a beautiful traverse across rocks, meadows, and a little snow. (On August 1, there were a couple of easy snow traverses, I held my 7-year-old's hand for those.) Only drawback was lots of flies, the biting kind. My 11-year-old was freaking out about it for the first 2.5 miles, and then it got better when we emerged from the woods. On the way up, we had to wait until we got to the rocks to eat lunch since before that we were swarmed by flies every time we stopped. (My 7-year-old was bothered by the flies but didn't freak. He reminded me of the Peanuts character PigPen with all the flies swarming around him!) The flies were not much of a problem on the way down because we were moving much faster. Totally worth the flies in my opinion, but I wish we had brought bug spray! (Assuming that would have helped.)

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R K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2017

Snow has receded but near the top you must traverse 3-4 large snow fields. There are well worn tracks and I did it in trail runners but would recommend a hiking pole for stability at minimum.

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Aleksi Mäkinen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2017
Hiking

Snowed in right now and essentially impassable due to heavy avalanche activity at the trail head. Suggest you take an ice axe with you when snow shoeing in.

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Mike McNew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 6, 2017

stunning views

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