North Cascades National Park: Agnes Gorge

This 7.9-mile out-and-back in North Cascades National Park links massive old-growth cedars, a photogenic gorge, and waterfall overlooks.
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This 7.9-mile out-and-back in North Cascades National Park links massive old-growth cedars, a photogenic gorge, and waterfall overlooks.

From Stehekin Valley Road, hike northwest on a trail peppered with mossy rock. The path winds across a glacial moraine whose source carved out the Stehekin River Valley. After half a mile, the trail ascends to the west through lush forest, then crosses talus-covered slopes bordered by cliffs. (Views extend up the Stehekin River Valley and the Agnes Creek Valley.) After 1.2 miles, turn left onto the Pacific Crest Trail for the descent to High Bridge, the site of several historic buildings and the ranger patrol station. Cross over the Stehekin River to connect with the Agnes Gorge Trail.
From here, the route travels above Agnes Gorge, passing massive, old-growth western red cedars and brilliant wildflower displays. Take in tremendous views of the huge horseshoe bend in Agnes Creek as it flows out of a very deep section of the gorge. Two separate waterfalls plummet off the cliffs into the depths of the gorge at mile 3.9 (this out-and-back's turnaround point).
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.4

Waypoints

AGN001

Location: 48.380218, -120.812637

From the dirt Stehekin Valley Road, hike northwest on a narrow trail covered with mossy rocks. The path winds across a glacial moraine left thousands of years ago from the retreating North Cascades Glacier (which carved out the Stehekin River Valley).

AGN002

Location: 48.380703, -120.820648

Turn left @ 3-way junction (a trail enters on the right). Next, ascend to the west through lush forest.

AGN003

Location: 48.380894, -120.827148

The forest opens up as the trail traverses talus-covered slopes bordered by cliffs. Listen to squeaking pikas and look for raptors soaring overhead. Views extend up the Stehekin River Valley and the Agnes Creek Valley.

AGN004

Location: 48.381661, -120.834496

Turn left onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for a descent to High Bridge.

AGN005

Location: 48.379997, -120.838112

High Bridge: The trail winds past historic buildings. Note: The ranger patrol station here houses National Park Service employees so respect their private residence. Next, hike over the Stehekin River on High Bridge (check out the views up and down the river) and connect with the Agnes Gorge Trail.

AGN006

Location: 48.379768, -120.839592

Continue straight on Stehekin Valley Road @ the 3-way junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Ahead, and pass a campground.

AGN007

Location: 48.380596, -120.840294

Turn left off the Stehekin Road onto the Agnes Gorge Trail.

AGN008

Location: 48.374474, -120.850388

Stop to admire the massive, old-growth, western red cedars in this lush area. Western trilliums, wild ginger, yellow violets, and glacier lilies speckle the ground.

AGN009

Location: 48.371834, -120.853455

Pass a nicely crafted sign marking the boundary of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The trail temporarily leaves the national recreation area as it winds farther up Agnes Gorge.

AGN010

Location: 48.371338, -120.856895

Ford the creek, then head southwest. If you're hiking here during the snowmelt, you may get your feet wet.

AGN011

Location: 48.369755, -120.85862

Take in tremendous views of the huge horseshoe bend in Agnes Creek as it flows out of a very deep section of the gorge.

AGN012

Location: 48.364491, -120.868492

From this vantage point, you can see two waterfalls plummeting off the cliffs into the depths of the gorge--watch your footing. A suspension bridge (and the PCT) used to cross over the gorge at this point. Turn around and retrace your route to the trailhead.

Agnes Gorge

Location: 48.369709, -120.858276

©Alan Bauer