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Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.5075, -120.7312 Map & Directions
Length
38.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2500 feet
Highest Point
4000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
  • Wildlife
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Established campsites
  • Waterfalls
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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. Continue reading

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Hiking Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

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).

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.5075, -120.7312 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

A $26 backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

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.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

Bridge Creek (#419)

North Cascades National Park

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Stehekin No. 82

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Bridge Creek - McAlester Pass to Stehekin

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