This trail offers an alternative way to get to Sourdough Mountain. Most hikers get there by starting in the town of Diablo and working east to the ridge. This trail approaches from the other direction, opening up views of Ross Lake and North Cascades Peaks along the way.
Starting from the Ross Dam Trailhead, cross over the dam, then follow the Big Beaver Trail as it trends north along the shore of Ross Lake.
After about 4 miles from the start, arrive at the Pierce Mountain Trail. Head left and begin climbing gradually at first, then steeper, before levelling off slightly as you traverse beneath the true summit of Pierce Mountain. Pierce Mountain Camp lies toward the end of this section. This camp is set next to a collection of tarns, the only reliable water source along this section of the trail.
From here it’s one last short but steep section to Sourdough Ridge with its historic fire lookout building and views all around.
If the logistics work out and you can arrange a car shuttle, consider hiking out down the Sourdough Mountain Trail.