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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

National Parks: North Cascades

Come for the sheer, glaciated peaks, but be mesmerized by rain-fed waterfalls that pour down on all sides.

by: Kim Phillips

Copper Ridge Trail in North Cascades (Kim Phillips)
Copper Ridge Trail in North Cascades (Kim Phillips)
Copper Ridge Trail in North Cascades (Kim Phillips)
Copper Ridge Trail in North Cascades (Kim Phillips)
The Nooksack Ridge (Kim Phillips)
The Nooksack Ridge (Kim Phillips)
Copper Mountain Lookout (Kim Phillips)
Copper Mountain Lookout (Kim Phillips)
A maple leaf on Big Beaver Trail (Kim Phillips)
A maple leaf on Big Beaver Trail (Kim Phillips)


The Way Western trailhead: From Marblemount, go 39 miles west on WA 20. Turn right on WA 9 N. In 22 miles, turn right on WA 542 E. In 32 miles, bear left on NFD 32. Go 5.3 miles to trailhead. Eastern trailhead: From Marblemount, drive east on WA 20. In .9 mile, turn left on WA 20 and go 28 miles.

Route Connect Hannegan Pass, Copper Ridge, Chilliwack, Brush Creek, Little Beaver, Big Beaver Trails. Camp at Egg Lake, Indian Creek, Whatcom, Luna.

Shuttle Ross Dam to Hannegan Campground. Mountain Transporter, $425 (up to four people), (509) 996-8294;

Water taxi Go from Big Beaver to Ross Dam with Ross Lake Resort, $50 (up to six people), (206) 386-4437;

Season The park is open year-round, but the best months for hiking are May through October.

Maps USGS quads: Mt. Sefrit, Mt. Shuksan, Copper Mountain, Mt. Blum, Mt. Challenger, Mt. Prophet, and Pumpkin Mountain ($8 each,

Permit Required; free

Contact (360) 854-7245;

Trip data Get the track and print maps at

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Star Star Star Star Star
Jan 02, 2014

Normally I don't recommend a backpacking route that I love, but I've been on the one in this article and agree 100% that you'd better love cold rain, sleet, snow stream crossings, and isolation. Those things alone will keep most away. A side trip on this route is to go up and over to Tapto Lakes from Whatcom Pass. The huckleberries are rampant and delicious there and few people bother to go to this lakes basin. If it clears off the glacier views are perfect and you will likely here chunks calving off hanging glaciers.


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