The interior of the southern unit of the North Cascades National Park is remote. Most of the trails concentrate on the northern or southern end. The northern trails are accessible from Wash. State Rte. 20. The access route to the southern trails is the Cascade River Road, a winding, sometimes rugged stretch of mostly gravel road, which will get you to the Cascade Pass Trail. Call ahead to the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (tel. 360/854-7245) for road conditions; sometimes the route is not easily accessible to the average vehicle. Backpackers can take Thunder Creek Trail, an artery through the interior, for access to the Chelan/Stehekin area, but it's not a day hike.
Bridge Creek Trail
This backcountry hike ascends steadily (though never too steeply) to Wash. State Rte. 20 through some beautiful valleys, after a short hike along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail affords beautiful views of Goode Mountain and Mount Logan, as well as the massive ice-hangs below Memaloose Ridge.
26 miles RT. Moderate. Access: Trail head at Bridge Creek Bridge on Stehekin Valley Rd.; other end of trail is at Bridge Creek trail head, east of Rainy Pass on Wash. State Rte. 20. Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at the Wash. State Rte. 20 end.
Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm Trail
This is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Starting high above the valley of the North Fork Cascade River, the trail follows an ancient American Indian trading route over the Cascades to Lake Chelan. Today the trail is popular as a day trip, an overnight trip, a climber's route to some challenging North Cascades rock, and a through trail to Stehekin (23 miles one-way). For a spectacular day hike, climb to the top of Cascade Pass (3.7 miles), then continue to ascend on a trail to the left until you cross a ridge. Soon you will be traversing Sahale Arm, far above jewel-like Doubtful Lake. From here, there are sweeping views of the North Cascades. The elevation gain is 1,700 feet to the top of the pass and 2,200 feet up to Sahale Arm.
12 miles RT. Moderate. Access: From Marblemount on Wash. State Rte. 20, cross bridge and drive east 23 miles on Cascade River Rd. to trail head. Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking along Cascade River Rd. and at Cascade Pass trail head.
Park Creek Pass
Though this hike is often crowded in the summer with people passing through Stehekin, it's still worth it. Make your way up the steep, forested slopes toward the alpine meadows beyond Five Mile Camp. From here on up, it's glacier lilies and the cracking of calving glacier ice on the slopes of Goode Mountain. Huge chunks of ice have been known to crash into the valley below the slopes. Look for slabs as big as your average house. Beyond the 6,000-foot Park Creek Pass, you can connect with the Thunder Creek Trail for a much longer hike to the Ross Lake Area and State Rte. 20.
8 miles one-way. Moderate to strenuous. Access: Park Creek Campground, Stehekin Valley Rd.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.