Reaching The Pass In North Cascades National Park

photo of the week for Sunday, 2012, August 12
Photographer: Deby Dixon, North Cascades National Park volunteer

Deby Dixon, who works for the Park Service at North Cascades National Park, took this photo on July 29, 2012. Here's how she described the setting:

These hikers are at Cascade Pass! Look at that view. The glacier covered mountains on the right, in order from closest to furthest are; Magic Mountain, Trapper Mountain, Glory Mountain and McGregor Mountain off in the distance. The Stehekin River runs in Pelton Basin below the pass. I have been told that a family of mountain goats frequent the pass and have personally seen a bear near this area, along with several deer. From the pass one can hike up to Doubtful Lake and Sahale Mountain and camp on the Sahale Arm, provided that they have a backcountry permit and have made arrangements in advance. Campsites are limited! North Cascades National Park has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park, and the waters that run through are brilliant shades of green.

About this trail! This is one of the best trails I have ever had the good fortune to hike on. At 3.8 miles to the pass and a great place to take in the view while having a picnic, the elevation gain is only 2,000 feet through a series of fairly gentle switchbacks. If you get tired on the way up, take time to relax, eat and soak in the beauty of being absolutely in the middle of nowhere and the possibility of hearing nothing but nature. And perhaps the Mountain Goats will stop by for a visit or a black bear might wander through the valley below. Deer might be spotted in the landscape and don't forget to stop and say hi to the marmots and pikas along the rocky areas of the trail. Just don't feed the wildlife! From Cascade Pass, if you still have energy and want to see even more, Doubtful Lake, towards Sahale Mountain is another 45 minutes of hiking. Remember, getting back to the car is all downhill and an easy hike. As far as mountain, backcountry hikes that will net premium views and experience, this one should be at the top of your list. I have seen young children and adults in their 80's hiking on this trail. No one expresses regret once they see the views from Cascade Pass!

On the Web: www.nps.gov/noca