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The Cascade Pass Trail | Map, Facts - Washington

The Cascade Pass Trail is an incredible 6.7-mile trail in North Cascades National Park that takes hikers into the depths of the range with views of stunning rocky peaks, valleys, and, if you're lucky, one or two mountain goats.

For the difficulty, access road, trailhead amenities, and indescribable views, this trail far exceeds anything else of a similar grade in Washington. Where else in the wilds of North Cascades National Park will you see so much for the amount of elevation and distance you have to contend with? (The trail to Trapper's Peak could be a contender!)

The hike is 6.7 miles long and gains nearly 2,000 feet on the way up. It's all downhill when you decide you've had enough of the views. Be prepared for 31 switchbacks, a little shade, and hopefully, some cute mountain goats!

Mountain Goat Sticker

Let us know what you think in the comments, is this the best moderate trail in Washington?

About Cascade Pass

The famous Cascade Pass Trail provides mountain views, moderate terrain, the chance to see mountain goats, and much, much more. The first 2.7 miles of the trail is basic hiking drudgery, climbing 31 switchbacks, but after that, you'll be treated to views you're not soon to forget.

Keep an eye open! You might see marmots along this trail too.

Cascade Pass has been used by human beings for far longer than the "official" trail existed. It's been used for centuries to travel through the mountains. Today, it's still used to get to Stehekin, a remote town inaccessible by car. If you go deep into the mountains, you'll still find leftover mining equipment from when Horseshoe Basin, below Mount Buckner and north of the pass, was being mined.

What You Need to Know

  • No permit is required to park at Cascade Pass Trailhead.

  • Dogs are not allowed in North Cascades National Park.

  • No bikes are allowed on the trail.

  • There is no true water source along the trail so make sure to bring as much as you need.

  • This trail is fairly popular, so don't expect to be alone when you get to the pass.

  • Climbers and hikers use this trail to get to Sahale Mountain, Boston Peak, Mount Buckner, and other mountains in the area. It is also a starting point for the famed Ptarmigan Traverse.

A "kid" along the Cascade Pass Trail.
A "kid" along the Cascade Pass Trail

Directions to Cascade Pass

Use the map below to navigate to Cascade Pass Trailhead:

Cascade Pass Trail Map

Check out the trail map below showing the way up to Cascade Pass from the trailhead:

Cascade Pass Trailhead

The Cascade Pass Trailhead is located at the very end of Cascade River Road. Starting from Marblemount, take the road across the one-lane bridge until it turns into gravel after about 20 minutes.

View from Cascade Pass Trailhead
View from Cascade Pass Trailhead

Drive for another 20-30 minutes on the very well-maintained road until you pass several single-lane bridges and make it to a large parking lot with incredible views of some of the most impressive mountains in the North Cascades.

When you pull in, you'll see Johannesburg Mountain to your right with its preceding glacier. Behind you in the distance is Hidden Lakes Peak. Closer and slightly to your right are Eldorado Peak, with its half-cap of snow, and Mount Torment. Make sure to enjoy the view for a few minutes (and look at the informational placards!) before starting up the trail.

On the north side of the parking lot to the Cascade Pass Trail, you'll find the trailhead along with a large sign letting you know how far it is to several important waypoints. These include Cascade Pass, Sahale Arm, Sahale Glacier Camp, and Stehekin.

Hiking to Cascade Pass

The Cascade Pass Trail is an important gateway to North Cascades National Park. But, it's also a worthwhile hike of its own. Getting to the pass and seeing the incredible views of less-commonly see North Cascades mountains, like Magic Mountain and Pelton Mountain, is well worth the effort!


Elevation Gain

Time Required


​6.7 miles


​4 hours


This moderate hike begins at the Cascade Pass Trailhead in a huge gravel parking lot. The trail immediately starts switchbacking up the side of the mountain. These switchbacks are very evenly graded and consistently maintained. There are 31 total, so be prepared for a long walk up!

The view on the way down from Cascade Pass
The view on the way down from Cascade Pass

After getting through all the switchbacks of the Cascade Pass Trail, you'll find yourself on the side of the hill headed east. The trail continues to climb slightly uphill, but the worst part of the hike is behind you. Cruise along this portion of the trail until you find yourself at the pass. You'll know you're there because there will be several other directional signs pointing to other destinations, like Sahale Arm and Stehekin. There is also a large area covered in paving stones.

Enjoy your time at the pass and then turn around and descend the same way you went up. Or, keep climbing the switchbacks to the north until you get a view of Sahale Arm and Sahale Mountain!

There are smaller trails branching off that you might want to explore but most people choose to stop at Cascade Pass and enjoy the beautiful view.

The seating area at Cascade Pass
The seating area at Cascade Pass. Pelton Mountain and Magic Mountain are directly ahead.

To get to the Sahale Glacier from here, you'll need to climb another 2 miles along Sahale Arm.

A goat beneath Sahale Glacier and Sahale Mountain
A goat beneath Sahale Glacier and Sahale Mountain


Is Cascade Pass Trail worth it when it's rainy?

The Cascade Pass Trail may be worth it while it's rainy if you live nearby. If you live in Portland or somewhere several hours away, it isn't really worth it to drive all the way there, up there, and see nothing. But it is a good workout!

How long is the Cascade Pass trail?

The Cascade Pass Trail is 6.7 miles long. It's an out-and-back trail, meaning that you'll walk nearly 3.5 miles out before turning around and coming back the same way.

Where is Cascade Pass?

Cascade Pass is in the North Cascades National Park. It's accessed via the Cascade Pass Trailhead. It's in Chelan and Skagit Counties of Washington State.

How high is Cascade Pass?

Cascade Pass has an elevation of 5,392'. It is a fantastic jumping-off point for several bigger adventures. You may see hikers and climbers going on long, multi-day treks into the mountains while hiking up to the pass.

Do you need a National Park Pass for North Cascades?

No, you do not need a National Park Pass to enter North Cascades National Park. There are several towns within the park as well as a major highway, Highway 20, meaning that it sees a great deal of traffic in the summer months.

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