Cascade Pass Trail to Cottonwood Camp

HARD 58 reviews

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.

15.9 miles
4,668 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

rock climbing


bird watching





wild flowers




no dogs

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.

28 days ago

4 months ago

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!

6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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!

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❤️

6 months ago

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!

7 months ago

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

Friday, October 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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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.

Friday, August 04, 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!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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.)

Saturday, July 08, 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.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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.

Monday, February 06, 2017

stunning views

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The switchbacks will put you to work, but it's worth it!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Intense number of bugs in the afternoon. Mosquito swarms in the morning. Beautiful views though.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

One of my favorite hikes in the north cascades.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Crystal clear day. It is obvious why this is listed as one of the state's top ten hikes! Something for every taste. It starts with an ascent through a nice forest area, then breaks out to outstanding valley views until you get to the pass. A mountain range comes into view as you crest the pass to a very nice rest area with seating and a toilet in the woods near by. You can see the trail heading down the valley toward Stehekin. You then start a steep, exposed ascent over a ridge. Another set of outstanding mountain views reveal themselves as you crest the ridge and approach the intersection with the trail down to Doubtful Lake. This is a very nice glacier lake with a green tint and a clear view to the bottom. A long waterfall sends water into the lake. Stay left and head up Shalale Arm toward the glacier. We stopped at the last knoll and had lunch while gazing at the glacier and mountain ranges in every directions. The trail continues from here up toward Shalale Peak to a camping area over a ridge and next to the ice. We could see a trail across the ice toward the peak. On the way back, I paused the track recording and forgot to turn it back on. Therefore, this track reads 7.5 miles, but it was actually about 11.6 round trip to the point we stopped for lunch and then headed back down. Next year, I am intent to make it at least to the camp sites! If you would like to camp there, you need a permit. No pets are allowed on the trails.

Friday, July 03, 2015

My wife and I joined our hiking group to hike to Cascade Pass and a portion of Sahale Arm Trail. The weather was clear and the high temperature was into 90's. Due to this winter's low snow accumulation the trail was free of snow and flowers were blooming. Deer flies were annoying and my wife and I were bitten in the shoulder and the arm despite of applying bug spray. The view was gorgeous all around.

Monday, June 29, 2015

This was an amazing hike stayed at Pelton basin camp which is a great campsite with lots of wildlife in the area. remember to bring bug repellent because the mosquitos were pretty bad. Next day woke up and made the hike up to the sahale glacier, very strenuous hike but once you're at the top the views are unbelievable. I highly recommend this hike.

Friday, May 29, 2015

An amazing hike with gorgeous views, breath taking water falls, tons of wildlife. Stayed at the Basin Creek Campground, great little camp Ground with 4 sites, a cook area and a toilet!
Can't wait to go back!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Many switchbacks make this trail easy to climb and it is well worth the effort. Make sure and start early so you can hike down into the valley it is beautiful

Monday, September 22, 2014

Because of a late start I only hiked to the pass. The trail to to pass gains 1800 ft. in 3.7 miles (one way) according to the Park Service trail guide. I counted the switch backs on the way down and got a total of 35. I have seen the number reported as between 22-27. Anyway, it is a beautiful hike and the view from the pass is a great reward!!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Camped at Johannesburg on Friday night and woke up to one of the clearest day I think you can get up here. No clouds in the sky at all. Crystal clear. Made the hike up to the pass with no ice axe. June 21 there was lots I've snow on the trail but I had some climber in front of me blazing a great trail. To views from the top are with out a doubt some of the most amazing I've seen. A really great trail and as a result it gets a lot of use. Be ready for hikers on the trail.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

I got out of here just before 60 people got stranded. I got caught in a deluge on the way out in August 2013 and I believe I was the last one out before the road washed out. I took a picture of the swollen creek at the bridge that washed out.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My daughter and I did the hike to Cascade Pass this past weekend and it was fantastic. This was my first visit to the North Cascade National Park and I enjoyed it a lot. It is late enough in the year that the sun goes down behind the peaks by 4 PM and it starts to cool down a lot. The trail was mostly free of snow until we reached the pass. The temp's were about 34F at the parking lot but it warmed up quite a bit as we moved in to the sunshine. Definitely dress in layers when you plan this trip.

I will plan better next time so I can make it all the way to Sahale Glacier or Doubtful Lake.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breathtaking! Trail is in excellent condition and wildflowers are still in bloom. Yes the trail gains 1400" in about 2 miles but the switchbacks make it tolerable and it's a wonderful payoff the whole way.
The Sahale arm is challenging I won't lie, but well worth the effort. Mountain goats we unimpressed with us 2 legged folk.

Friday, July 19, 2013

We hiked to Sahale Arm and were amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of the area. Snow covered mountains and Glaciers were everywhere. Some of us hiked to the glacier and found camping circles made of rock which are used as wind protection. We saw mountain goats, marmots and grouse. Tons of wildflowers and endless beauty. The trail is easy to the pass but more challenging from the pass to Sahale glacier. You will feel like you are in Austria. We highly recommend this hike

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