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South Fork Cascade River

North Cascades

Location

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

Length

9.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1800 ft.
Highest Point: 2000 ft.

Rating

2.60 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2020
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Highway 20 Closure: Highway 20 is closed west of Winthrop between milepost 165 and 185 while crews fight active wildfires in the area. This closure is dated 7.12.21
 
 

A hidden gem revealed! The South Fork Cascade Trail was in the Mineral Park Fire of 2003, but recent efforts by WTA crews and other volunteer organizations have helped reopen a section of it, and continue to repair it.

The trail begins about a mile after the Mineral Springs campgrounds, just around a sharp switchback. All that marks the trailhead is a metal gate and a place to pull over and park.

Beginning on an abandoned road, a visible but overgrown path leads along the road to where the trail begins. The trail once led to the junction of the middle and south fork of the Cascade river, a washed out bridge and a trail junction with a climbers route to the Ptarmigan Traverse, which allows hikers to bypass Cascade Pass.

After the road walk, the true trail begins on a bench high above the river. The tread has been recently rebenched, thanks to volunteer efforts. The trail meanders down to the river, and some tread had been restored.

This new trail is a nice alternative to the Cascade Pass trail. The scenery is not as large scale grand, but it is a beautiful trail with mountain views and a destination lunch spot by the river. The trail that once was on the other side of the river had been deemed too dangerous, due to dead standing timber, for volunteer groups to work in, so it may be a while before it is restored to its former status.

 

South Fork Cascade River

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.4653, -121.1562 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

South Fork Cascade River (#769.2)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Mt Baker Ranger District SGS Sonny Boy Lakes

Cascade Pass

Buy the Green Trails Cascade Pass No. 80 map

Getting There

From the Mount Baker Ranger District office in Sedro-Woolley, follow State Route 20 east for 39 miles to Marblemount. On the east end of town, turn right on the Cascade River Road, immediately cross the Skagit River and continue on the Cascade River Road for 17 miles to the junction of FR 1590, which intersects on a sharp switchback. FR 1590 is closed to motorized vehicles. Hike 1.9 miles to the old trailhead on the closed road.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Highway 20 Closure: Highway 20 is closed west of Winthrop between milepost 165 and 185 while crews fight active wildfires in the area. This closure is dated 7.12.21
 

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South Fork Cascade River

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