Wonders of the North Cascades

Seattle, WA
4.0 (2 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Pacific Crest Trail
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Mountain Passes & Summits
  • Stunning Views
  • Wildflower Filled Meadows
  • Alpine Lakes
  • Amazing Campsites

Description

This amazing, off-the-beaten-path trek spans 32 miles and gains over 6600 ft in elevation in four days through a far less traveled part of North Cascades National Park due to its remote location.  We’ll hike along the famous Pacific Crest Trail; through quiet, old growth forests of Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine; and along pristine mountain creeks.  With exciting water crossings, high mountain passes and famous lakes, this trip delivers an invigorating, scenic adventure in a relatively short amount of time.  If you want to experience all the North Cascades have to offer – alpine lakes, jagged peaks, high and sub-alpine meadows, glorious campsites, and glacier fed waterways – this trip is an excellent choice!

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From
$1840 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: 4 Days
Distance: 34MI / 55KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 5

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip is rated Level 5 difficulty due to the consecutive 8-10 mile hikes on Days 2 and 3 that are coupled with significant elevation gains (2500-3000+ feet). Beyond the difficulty of the hiking, the cruxes of this trek lie in the first river crossing which if attempted early season can be challenging due to the runoff from snowmelt. One of our mountain passes can also be challenging, if attempted too early in the season, due to lingering snow. There is potential for hiking on steeper glaciated terrain that would requires micro spikes (provided) and enhanced caution.

Hiking Distances:

5-10 mi

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 3100 ft

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain
  • Potentially hiking on ice or snow
  • Challenging river crossings
  • Hiking with occasional, moderate heights exposure
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

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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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1100 feet

This multi-day North Cascade National Park hike begins with a pick up in Seattle and then a scenic drive into the North Cascades. When we reach the trailhead, we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch before packing up and hitting the trail. We’ll have a moderate hike down the forest canyon following a beautiful mountain creek, as it winds among groves of Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine. The creek will lead us to our first camp where we’ll enjoy a hearty dinner to prepare ourselves for a more challenging day 2.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1000 feet

On day 2 we’ll rise, fuel our bodies with a quick breakfast, and pack up camp in a timely manner as we have much elevation to gain today! We’ll continue to follow yesterday’s creek until we reach a fork at which point we will ford the river to continue south toward a stunning lake. After making it safely across the creek, we’ll begin our trek toward an amazing pass with stunning views of Bowan Mountain. Our climb takes us up 3,100 feet over 6.9 miles. Just after the pass, we descend slightly, down to a mountain lake where we will relax and snap some photos. Once we arrive at camp, we’ll have the opportunity to relax over another delicious dinner.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1800 feet

The morning of day 3 we’ll wake up and get ready for another full day of hiking! After we hit the trail, we’ll hike down through meadows of wildflowers and along a majestic creek, where we can soak up stunning views of jagged Rainbow Mountain. We’ll head north at the junction of another creek and start climbing along a ridge toward a high mountain pass. Once over the pass, we’ll make our way down toward a beautiful lake, heading off the main trail to camp in a spectacular subalpine meadow for the night. We’ll enjoy a rejuvenating dinner under the light of the stars to prepare for an invigorating last day of hiking.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2700 feet

On our final day we’ll enjoy our breakfast watching the sun rise before embarking on our longest hike of the trip in terms of distance. We’ll hike down, down, down into the forest and have one more creek to ford before reaching the familiar site of the creek from day 1. All that’s left from here is a final push up the forested canyon where our journey began to our awaiting vehicle. A small celebration in the parking lot for completing a difficult loop in one of the North Cascades’ lesser known and traveled areas is in order! After a nice break and a chance to change our footwear, we’ll climb back into the car and head for your luxurious Seattle hotel room where a warm shower and a real bed await you!

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

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

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

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

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
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • 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 communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • 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)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

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!

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?

Your guide will conduct a virtual orientation meeting (via conference call) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins to review the packing list, communicate the first day’s logistics and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will give you the phone number for this call during the pre-trip contact approximately 10 days before your trip start date.

Early on the morning of Day 1 your guide will pick you up from your accommodations in Seattle, WA.

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 Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

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.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 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)
Month
High
Low
Precip
June
63°
41°
2.2 in
July
70°
45°
1.7 in
August
70°
45°
1.7 in
September
61°
39°
2.5 in

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

TENT CAMPING

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

FRESH & DELICIOUS

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

IN THE ACTION

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:

  • 4.0 (2 reviews)
Adam M & Alecia W
5.0

Worth the effort!

3 months ago

We went from 8/26-8/29 with Jordan (who was an excellent guide with a lot of local knowledge). The hiking (especially the final three days) was very strenuous, and featured climbs and descents that far exceed anything we could train for in a flat part of the US, and are not ideal for people with bad knees. The reward for all of this effort is endless jaw-dropping views of the "Alps of the Americas", delicious thimbleberries and huckleberries to sample (if they're in season when you go), and if you're lucky, an encounter with a pika. We recommend this trip to anybody who is prepared for it, and we would gladly go hiking with Jordan again.

Jim H
3.0

Very challenging!

3 months ago

We went on this hike 8/18-8/21 with Jordan as our guide. First off, Jordan was awesome! He cooked great meals for us and took care of everything! Our group was the first for this hike with wildlandtrekking as it is a new offering. This hike is much more difficult and longer than listed. We all agreed this should be listed as difficulty 5 (for this reason I gave the hike a 3 rating)! Day 2 for example turned out to be an 11+ mile hike with almost 3400 feet of elevation gain and 1800 feet of descent. We hiked for about 11 hours that day and did not have much daylight to enjoy our campground. Jordan ended up cleaning everything in the dark while we crashed in our tents. I can't thank Jordan enough! The total trip was 37 miles with almost 8000 feet of elevation gain and another nearly 8000 loss. Day 3 when we crested McAllister pass, we had another mile hike with 300-400 elevation gain to get to our campsite. I believe they should choose campsites more wisely to even out the daily mileage and include a better day 3 campsite that does not include more elevation gain. Yes, it was tough! We did see bears, marmots (heard them also lol), pikas, and even a mountain goat! Scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed eating wild berries throughout our hike. Mountain meadows were beautiful with the many blooming flowers and greenery. I enjoy wildlandtrekking as their guides are always great, well prepared with great food.

Management Response: Thank you for your feedback Jim. We very much appreciate it. Based on your and other guests' input, we have upgraded the difficult of this trip to Level 5. We're glad you enjoyed the scenery and your guide, and we're sorry this trip was more difficult than expected.

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