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Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
View map below

Length

38.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2500 ft.
Highest Point: 4000 ft.

Rating

4.17 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Road Closed 11/11/21: The North Cascades Highway is closed between the Ross Dam Trailhead at milepost 134 and the Silver Star Gate at milepost 171 for the winter.
 
 

Wildlife is often difficult to spot in the North Cascades, but McAlester Pass is an exception to this. Take a multi-day backpack from Highway 20 into the tiny town of Stehekin, where you can rest easy and gorge yourself on treats from the renowned bakery before making the multiple mile trek out.

This multi-day backpack has countless variations, loops and detours to keep you busy for as long as you like. And the important part--it also has rich biodiversity to entertain you! Chances are good that you will see weasels, marmots, pikas and a whole host of wildflowers and berries close to McAlester Pass. You might even hear wolf howls from the Twisp area Lookout wolf pack.

From the trailhead, follow the PCT for three miles and then head south along the McAlester Creek trail. You’ll soon start gaining some elevation until you’ve reached the wildlife- and wildflower-rich meadows of McAlester Pass. This is a great place to camp, with tons of berries and glorious views that make it pretty easy to laze around for a day or two. If your schedule allows, take your time exploring the high country before descending into the Stehekin valley.

When you’ve had your fill, you can head down the Rainbow Creek Trail for 10 miles and treat yourself to a hard-earned treat at the Stehekin Bakery. For the return trip, you have many options to get back to the Bridge Creek trailhead. Take the PCT all the way back from High Bridge (the end of the Stehekin River Road), opt for the more scenic Rainbow Lake Trail or hike the incredibly beautiful (but long) route down Thunder Creek (which will require a short car shuttle or hitchhike).

 

Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.5075, -120.7312 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

Bridge Creek (#419)

North Cascades National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Stehekin No. 82

Getting There

Drive Highway 20 to mile 159, just over one mile east of Rainy Pass. The parking lot is located on the north side of the highway. To access the trail, cross the highway and look for a short connector trail that takes you to the main trail, the Pacific Crest Trail. A Northwest Forest Pass required.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Road Closed 11/11/21: The North Cascades Highway is closed between the Ross Dam Trailhead at milepost 134 and the Silver Star Gate at milepost 171 for the winter.
 

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Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

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