North Cascades Classic

Seattle, WA
5.0 (9 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • BIG Mountain Views
  • Abundant Wildlife
  • Stunning Views
  • Seasonal Waterfalls
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Exciting Cable Car Crossing


The North Cascades Classic is an adventure into the remote wilderness of one of the least visited national parks in the USA due to its rugged backcountry. With over 6,000 feet of total elevation gain and loss over 35 miles, this trip is sure to put your knees and heart to the test, but the views are truly worthwhile. Old-growth forests and glacier-fed streams early in the trip are replaced by snow-covered peaks and alpine passes as we climb higher and go deeper into the backcountry. Wildflowers in early summer and wild berries right before fall make it a beautiful — and delicious — trip all summer long. A suspension bridge and cable car crossing over the Chiliwack River add to the excitement of this trip, as does the wildlife — bears, salmon, and more are common in this remote corner of the North Cascades.

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5 Days
$1595 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 35MI / 56KM


Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
30-40 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-8 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
Most Elevation Gain:
3,850 feet
Quality of Trails:
mostly well maintained trails, with some rocky and and challenging route finding
This trip has significant elevation gains and losses which is why it’s rated Difficulty Level 4.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. regularly exercise vigorously
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, running, or swimming for several hours without many breaks


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this North Cascades National Park hike a solitude 4. You can expect to see a couple other groups of hikers per day.

Seattle is one of the United States’ most convenient cities to travel to. SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport is one of the most easily accessed destinations in the country. Many major cities in the United States and internationally offer direct flights into Seattle. Please stay at one of our recommended hotels (coming soon!), all of which have airport shuttles so you do not have to rent a vehicle.

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 3 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet

This multi-day North Cascades guided backpacking trip begins with a pick up at your hotel in Seattle, and then a scenic drive into the snowy mountains of the North Cascades. We’ll get our packs sorted at the trailhead, and walk a short distance to the Ross Lake boat ramp where we’ll meet our water taxi. Our adventure truly begins as we’re dropped off at a lakeside trailhead where Little Beaver Creek flows into Ross Lake. From the lake, we’ll ascend briefly up switchbacks and then parallel the creek upstream through a remote part of the North Cascades to our first night in the backcountry at Perry Creek.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 650 feet

On the second day, we’ll continue to follow Little Beaver Creek through old growth forest, as we travel deeper into the backcountry up this glacier-carved valley. Throughout the day, we’ll have the opportunity to cross many small streams and we’ll ford the largest of the day at Redoubt Creek, which is fed from snow and glaciers along the southern flank of Mount Redoubt. Before we arrive at our camp at Twin Rocks, the valley begins widening up and we’ll be rewarded with views of the stunning Whatcom Peak in the distance.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2,000 feet

Day 3 is our big uphill day as we leave behind Little Beaver Creek and begin to ascend switchbacks up to Whatcom Pass, where we will be rewarded with stunning views of the Picket Range of the North Cascades. On the other side of the pass, we’ll gradually descend 2,000 feet down to meet Brush Creek, keeping our eye out for ripe berries (depending on the season) and every so often a look back at Whatcom Pass and what we’ve accomplished. Eventually, we’ll make our camp for the night at Graybeal at the mouth of a small stream.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 760 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 690 feet

Day 4 is full of small ups and downs and exciting river crossings. Early on in the day, we’ll descend the valley to cross a footbridge over Brush Creek, leaving it behind to join the Chiliwack River. After some dense brush we’ll cross the Chiliwack River on a famous cable car. Fording is an option for horses or those faint-of-heart, but the real adventure comes with hauling yourself across in a car suspended in the air! As we cross the river we’ll keep an eye out for salmon runs — depending on the time of year, we may see bright red Sockeye salmon pushing upstream to spawn. We’ll gradually climb up the valley to Copper Creek, where we’ll camp for our last night and enjoy one final gourmet backcountry dinner.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,840 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1,940 feet
  • Shuttle to Seattle: 3.5 hours

On our last day we’ll push up to Hannegan Pass — take in our last dramatic alpine views, and then descend back into the forest, past Ruth Creek, and to the trailhead where our shuttle vehicle awaits us.  After sorting out our gear and saying goodbye to the trail, we’ll head back to Seattle and drop you at your hotel, where a hot shower and a soft bed will accompany your sense of satisfaction and pride from completing an epic North Cascades adventure.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking


Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book


This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast


This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation


This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified North Cascades National Park hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Seattle and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear to Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Seattle, Washington, where you’ll meet your guide and group for an orientation meeting the evening before your trip begins at 5:00 PM. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to answer any questions you have and coordinate the orientation meeting.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on North Cascades backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in North Cascades National Park

The best hiking weather in the North Cascades is from mid June to late September, when the vast majority of trails (except ones up very high) are snow free. The west side of the Park catches the brunt of storm systems coming in from the Pacific Ocean, making the west side much wetter and more lush. The lower east side tends to be much warmer and drier throughout the summer. The west side receives on average 70+ inches more of precipitation and 400+ more inches of snowfall than the west side. Even with these discrpencies however, summer is a stunning time of year to be in the Cascades, on either side. See below for average temperatures and precipitation in North Cascades National Park:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
2.2 in
1.7 in
1.7 in
2.5 in



Backcountry Sleeping


Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine


Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites


Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (9 reviews)
Wendy S

Exceeded All of My Expectations

17 days ago

I went on the North Cascades Classic backpacking trip with Ron as our guide. We had a great group and Ron made sure we all worked as a team. After a long day of hiking, with Ron carrying at least 70lbs in his own pack, his real work began at camp. At camp he gathered and filtered water for cooking, cleaning and filling our drinking bottles. He prepared meals for a diverse group with different dietary restrictions. Then he would clean everything up, hang the bear bag and stow all the bear canisters away from camp. In the mornings he would prepare a great breakfast to start our day! Ron has my utmost respect! This trip exceeded all of my expectations. I can't wait to schedule my next adventure with Wildland Trekking!

Gregory A

Great Trip!

26 days ago

Great trip! Ron was an excellent guide. He was extremely well prepared, helpful, knowledgeable, and a darn good cook! This was my second trip with Wildland and I’m looking forward to my next one!

Jody H

Trip was Excellent

2 months ago

This is my 3rd trip with Wildland, and as always, the service was excellent. Although I have my own gear, I always use the provided gear on my trips with Wildland because it is of such high quality and brand name. I know it will work well in the back country. Also, the quality of the food was amazing and it was obvious that Darrek had put much time and effort into planning our trip’s menu. Every meal was fresh and delicious; I took notes on what he served in hopes of improving my own camping meal experience. At the end of the trip we had an unforecasted 7 hour delay of pickup - in the rain - and Darrek ensured we were warm, full and still in high spirits. In a situation where he had little control, he ensured we were still taken care of. Overall the trip was excellent and I will be a return customer for a 4th trip some time in the future.

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