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South Fork Cascade River

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.4653, -121.1562 Map & Directions
Length
9.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1800 feet
Highest Point
2000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate/Hard

This trail is closed due to damage from the Pincer Creek Fire. Closure anticipated to last until at least December 2022

The South Fork Cascade River trail has been a project for WTA's Lost Trails Found campaign for many years. Photo by Linda Roe. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Fall foliage
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

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. Continue reading

Rating
2.60 out of 5

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Hiking South Fork Cascade River

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.

Toilet Information

  • No toilet at trailhead

More information about toilets

WTA worked here in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015!

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

South Fork Cascade River

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.4653, -121.1562 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

This trail is closed due to damage from the Pincer Creek Fire. Closure anticipated to last until at least December 2022

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

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

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.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

South Fork Cascade River (#769.2)

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

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

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

South Fork Cascade River

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