SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – June 2010

Secret Hikes: North Cascades National Park

Dive into the heart of the Lower 48's wildest park.

by: Michael Lanza

North Cascades (Andy Porter)
North Cascades (Andy Porter)


Cartographers only started mapping North Cascades in 1906, about the time that trappers and prospectors—defeated by the vertiginous terrain and famously wet weather—decided to pack it in. Even today, only experienced backpackers should attempt to cross the ragged heart of this 300-glacier park. If that’s you, you’ll love this off-the-radar, 60-mile circuit, which winds across the most glaciated basin of the most glaciated park in the Lower 48.

Start at Easy Pass (don’t believe it) trailhead and end at Rainy Pass (true) trailhead. You’ll gain more than 14,000 feet, tracking along streams of fresh glacier-melt, and see mountain goats, marmots, and maybe black bears as you link up the Fisher Creek, Thunder Creek, Park Creek, and Pacific Crest Trails. The paths intermittently fizzle, so pack a compass, maps, and GPS. But it’s not all slogging and navigation: The campsites, set amid old-growth cedar and Western hemlock, are lush and temptingly close to easy side hikes. Target Fisher Camp, Junction Camp (catch the sunset from a rocky outcropping just north), Upper Thunder Basin Camp (get morning views of glaciers from nearby Park Creek Pass), and North Fork Camp. First-come, first-serve permits are required, but our contributors say they’ve never been denied.

›› Magic Moment After climbing to 6,100-foot Park Creek Pass, you recover in an oasis of greenery and heather perched between icy peaks, 20 miles from the nearest asphalt.

›› Local Knowledge Fisher Camp, below skyscraping rock walls, lies near the site where the last North Cascades grizzly was killed in 1967. More satisfying: From camp, follow a use trail southeast .5 mile to ultimate solitude in Fisher Basin, a creek-split meadow below the peak.

›› Do It
Start: Easy Pass trailhead, between mile marker 151 and 152 on WA 20. End: Rainy Pass trailhead, about six miles east. Map Trails Illustrated North Cascades #223 ($12; natgeomaps.com) Contact (360) 854-7245; nps.gov/noca



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Todd
Sep 28, 2012

Just did this trip. Started from Bridge Creek trail head and finished at Easy pass. Lots of wildlife, great campsites, overall a wonderful experience.

By the way, the trail is super easy to follow.

Todd
Sep 28, 2012

Just did this trip. Started from Bridge Creek trail head and finished at Easy pass. Lots of wildlife, great campsites, overall a wonderful experience.

By the way, the trail is super easy to follow.

sophie
Jun 06, 2012

how long would a hike like this take? Are there good trail conditions (as in is the trail visible)

Joe
Mar 22, 2012

Actually I don't think the LAST grizzly was killed near Fisher camp, since it seems like every year or 2 now a hiker snaps a picture of one. Biologists pretty much accept that there's a small population up there.

Eric H
Jul 21, 2010

Per the Trails Illustrated Map (#223) this loop is "only" 47 miles. Is the 60 miles including the 2 x 7 = 14 miles along the North Fork Bridge Creek Trail to get to the location in the photo? If so, that would make about 60 miles but there is no mention of tis arithmetic in the article. Just curious.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Burger King moving headquarters to Canada
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World
Trailhead Register
Knee Defender Caused Airline to Divert Flight
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: retired reddog
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions