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Cascade Pass

One of the most scenic, accessible hikes in North Cascades National Park (including for kids, at least to the pass) and is consequently heavily used. Views begin at the parking lot and don't quit. Jagged, snowcapped peaks and meadows abound. Possibilities for rambling are endless.

The superb meadows and glaciated peaks of Cascade Pass are better than the best of the European Alps! The trail is graded gently enough for children, though the switchbacks gain elevation steadily. After climbing through forest for the first 2 miles, the trail emerges into meadows and never ending views of Johannesburg, Eldorado, Mt. Forbidden and many more.

After another mile plus, the pass is reached. Camping is not allowed here to allow the area to recover from overuse. Well worn trails lead off in two directions: south to Mix-Up Arm and north toward Sahale Arm, from which the trail dips abruptly to the deep cirque of Doubtful Lake.
Driving Directions:

Drive Hwy 20 to the little town of Marblemount. Keep going straight when 20 turns left and you will be on Cascade River road. Drive the 23 miles to the end. You will follow the Cascade River the whole way; it takes nearly an hour on Cascade river road.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 94 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Cascade Pass, Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm — Aug 24, 2013 — Keith
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Overgrown
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We came in on the 23rd and had to camp near the trailhead, but then headed out over Cascase Pass to ...
We came in on the 23rd and had to camp near the trailhead, but then headed out over Cascase Pass to Flat Creek camp by way of Sahale Arm, then came back by way of Horseshoe Basin.

The trail can be steep in parts (especially the trip up to Sahale), but it's absolutely gorgeous! It's fairly busy until you get past Basin Creek camp, then we saw very few other hikers.

The trail is very narrow and extremely overgrown in parts, but it was usually easy to at least know where we were supposed to go.

The views were unbelievable, and I can't wait to go back!
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Cascade Pass, Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm — Aug 23, 2013 — HikerTC
Day hike
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According to the National Park Service website Cascade River Road is re-opened. http://www.nps.go...
According to the National Park Service website Cascade River Road is re-opened.

http://www.nps.gov/[…]/cascade-pass-trail.htm

Sweet!
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Cascade Pass, Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm — Aug 12, 2013 — Susan Elderkin
Day hike
Issues: Road to trailhead inaccessible
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Update: The road was repaired by Aug. 21 and the trailhead is open. NOTE: THIS TRAILHEAD IS CLOSE...
Update: The road was repaired by Aug. 21 and the trailhead is open.

NOTE: THIS TRAILHEAD IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Thunderstorms with intense rain washed out a portion of the Cascade River Road at milepost 18.1. The wash-out on the road is estimated to be approximately 15 feet deep and 40-60 feet wide. The trailhead to Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm will likely be inaccessible for the remainder of the season.

-- Washington Trails Association
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Cascade Pass — Aug 09, 2013 — wolfwoman
Day hike
Issues: Bugs
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Companions for the day included J Gazelle, Cathy and Ike. What a glorious day it was! The weather wa...
Companions for the day included J Gazelle, Cathy and Ike. What a glorious day it was! The weather was hotter than expected and muggy causing some of our energies to lag, but the many switchbacked trail brought us to the pass rather quickly. At least I thought I hadn't suffered enough! There was a small crowd at the pass, but nice folks and a brief respite. So up we went from the pass on new trail. We all remembered a rough path to Sahale Arm, but it's now a thoroughfare with wide tread and lots of hikers. Times change, but the view don't. El Dorado, Mix Up, Boston, and the fabulous Johannesburg.........now that's a mountain! What more could you ask? After lunch and a bit of poking around we headed back down the trail. A couple of miles from the pass I started hearing thunder. The sky had been blue and flawless an hour ago. How quickly things can change in the high country! Now we had thunder, lightening and rain. It felt kind of good in the 80 degree temps. It would have been alot more fun if not for the biting flies..... Well, that was the one annoying thing about this trip, but it seems to be a problem wherever you go this year....there's an abundance of biting flies. Something to put up with, but not a deal breaker. We stopped at Cascade Farms for dreamy chocolate ice cream. Is there anything better on a hot day?
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Cascade Pass — Aug 03, 2013 — Walksalot
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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Swarms of deer flies, a huge bear and narrowly missing a road washout - all in a day's work at Casca...
Swarms of deer flies, a huge bear and narrowly missing a road washout - all in a day's work at Cascade Pass!

If you can get here, you will get eaten alive right now. Truth be told, the deer flies are not as thick as they could be. I've experienced worse. Still, be prepared to swat your way up the trail. The real bad news is that the deer flies hid a pretty healthy mosquito population.

We weren't feeling particularly ambitious and just hung out, enjoying the view from the shoulder above Cascade Pass to the south. Even from this distant vantage point, it was obvious that the bear that crossed the meadows above the pass to the north was something remarkable. I ran up to get as close as possible (which still wasn't very close) and found an immense animal - much bigger than any black bear I'd ever seen. He grazed, barely giving me a glance until he eventually wandered off.

The next day, the road would wash out at Boston Creek. Thankfully, our plans took us to Hidden Lake Peaks, more than ten miles down the road and out of harm's way.
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Cascade Pass.jpg
Photo by Jani.
Location
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
North Cascades National Park Visitors Center (Newhalem)
Statistics
Roundtrip 7.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1800 ft
Highest Point 5392 ft
Features
Lakes
Waterfalls
Fall foliage
Mountain views
Wildlife
Ridges/passes
User info
Good for kids
Dogs not allowed
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Best Hikes with Kids-Western Washington & the Cascades
Green Trails No.80 Cascade Pass
USGS Cascade Pass

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Red MarkerCascade Pass
48.4913546601 -121.1095047
(48.4914, -121.1095) Open in new window
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