Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Boulder Creek, Gold Hill Mine, East Creek, Chancellor

Trip Report

Boulder Creek, Gold Hill Mine, East Creek & Chancellor — Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

North Cascades
Boulder Creek Trail - C P

I did this 16 mile (+ 3 bike) loop off the North Cascades Highway between Canyon Creek TH and East Creek TH.

Dropped my bike at East Creek (MP 144), car camped (optional) at Canyon Creek TH (MP 141).  Two other groups were camping there.  I picked up some trash along the highway in the evening, when I did it last year there was lots because it hadn't been done in a long time.  Not much today.

Started walking at 8 AM.  Took the rake, clippers and saw.  Covered the 5 miles on the Chancellor to Boulder Creek trail in 2 hours.  Trail is about a mile past signed Boulder Creek (get water), at sign East Creek 6.

Fantastic trail lazily switchbacks to water, look for ducks on either side of trail.  At the top of the switchbacks find what's left of the North American Mine on the L, flagged path to.  Beyond, the trail climbs slowly, several streams are crossed, as well as some overgrown areas.

I raked from the mine up, clipped, cut out a few trees.  It looked like I hadn't raked some of upper Boulder Creek last year (ever!), I don't believe I took the rake either of my trips all the way through.  I could tell by the amount of stuff and also how attached to the ground it was.  Not perfect but getting better, I only rediscovered this last year.  

Crosses meadow area, more climbing to Boulder Creek Pass, then down to Gold Hill Mine and East Creek.  Trail is well flagged so you won't get lost.  There are some trees down, none too difficult.  At East Creek TH I rode my bike the 3 miles back to the truck at Canyon Creek TH.  Walk takes about 8 hours, took me 12 with all the work I did, plus 20 minutes for the bike ride.

So you don't have to carry too much:  Water at 20 minutes, abundant from there to Boulder Creek.  None for 2+ miles, then at ducks in switchbacks on Boulder Creek trail.  None for 2 miles, then several creeks across trail.  Between meadow and Boulder Creek Pass more water, last just before the climb to.  At least one stream high between the pass and Gold Hill Mine, past the mine plentiful to crossing of East Creek.  None from there until Granite Creek (2 miles).  I never carried more than 1 liter and could have got by with less.

Give yourself plenty of time for this.  A shorter option would be to Boulder Creek Pass from East Creek.  I had to swerve to miss a deer last time, in the dark, at Cascadian Farms.  Glad it was daylight for the drive home today, slow down at dusk!  I like to keep a car (with better headlights) in front of me to reduce my risk.

Gas at Astro in Marysville $4.19 regular cash.

North American Mine - C P
Trail before and after. I only had to cut once since it sprung out of the way - C P
East Creek valley - C P


christiangustafson on Boulder Creek, Gold Hill Mine, East Creek, Chancellor

On my last visit to #754 Canyon Creek, after the large bridge over the creek, I turned RIGHT and explored old CCT Granite Creek tread. I wonder if there is enough of this left to connect to the East Creek TH to complete the loop, or if SR20 obliterated the trail on the other side of the creek? (south of "Footbridge" on the map)

See Crater Mountain 1963 7.5 minute quad:

Posted by:

christiangustafson on Aug 04, 2022 02:32 PM

Craig Romano on Boulder Creek, Gold Hill Mine, East Creek, Chancellor

Thanks so much CP for your work and report on this trail. Most of the way is in remarkably good shape-but there is one section of serious blowdown, a couple of sections where route-finding becomes tough because of blowdown and missing tread and the gully below the pass that can cause some problems for most hikers. I would say that if you can get safely across East Creek- the 12 miles roundtrip from the south to Boulder Creek Pass can be done by most strong day hikers and there are no issues other than the initial creek crossing. If the middle stretch of this route can be rehabilitated this would make an incredible one night or strong day hike for many folks and will take some of the pressure off of nearby crowded trails. It really is a shame that the FS can't get a replacement bridge in. It cracks me up they require a Forest Service Pass for a trailhead with a missing bridge!

Posted by:

Craig Romano on Aug 11, 2022 10:42 AM