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2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

buffalo
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2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

I am planning on pairing my annual trip to Glacier National Park (where I've spent 118 nights since 2008) with 5 nights at North Cascades (my first visit). The dates of the North Cascades part of the trip are probably 8/23/2014 - 8/28/2014.

I am planning on car camping and doing 4-5 day hikes...

So this is my "I'm a newbie and clueless about the Park and need suggestions" post...

Where would be the best place to camp for 5 nights...or based on the best day hike trailheads, should I split the 5 days between two locations?

What are the best 4 or 5 day hikes for scenery...I like longer day hikes (up to 20 miles and say 3,500 feet of gain/loss)...

Spokane, Washington
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1. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Hi ToddNick, welcome to this forum. I went to GNP twice this year, you and other DEs on that forum were tremendous help. You are looking at N. Cascade Hwy region (Hwy 20)? and are you planning to spend any time in Mt. Baker area?

buffalo
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2. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Thanks for the kind words about Glacier...

Goal #1 - Stay at either one or two campgrounds for the total of 5 nights (within 90 minutes of daily trailheads)...

Goal #2 - Do the best (most scenic) 4-5 day hikes that are 20 miles, 3,500 feet of gain/loss or less...

I'm looking for an agenda (Mt. Baker area or other) that best fits the above goals...

Edited: 3:21 pm, October 15, 2013
western WA
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3. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

One of the great trips is to take the Hozomeen water taxi and hike back down the east side of Ross Lake. Any of the campgrounds puts you within 90 min from about any trailhead.

I'd stay at the one near Ross Lake for the Hozpmeen/Ross trip, and at Marblemount for Cascade Pass.

The one at the eastern edge of Washington Pass is the most bare-bones.

There's a KOA in Winthrop with tent sites if you fancy a shower!

Spokane, Washington
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4. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

I camped at Newhalem Campground years ago, it is relatively central (running water, flush toilet, no shower). NCNP is boundaried by 2 towns - Marblemount on the West, Winthrop on the East, with 90 miles of Hwy 20 b/w them.

There's little argument about the two most popular day hikes in the park:

Cascade Pass - Sahale Arms trail (near Marblemount) is NC's equivalent of Highline Trail in Glacier. If physically able (sounds like no problem for you), you should hike all the way to Sahale Glacier.

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/sahale-arm

Heather - Maple Pass Loop (near Winthrop) is a close second

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/maple-pass

Beyond these 2, following are on my personal To Do List

Hidden Lake Lookout (Marblemount)

Thornton Lakes and Trapper's Peak

Blue Lake (Winthrop)

Sourdough Mountain Lookout is too daunting for me, but maybe an option for you.

Other popular, well reviewed hikes:

Easy Pass, Cutthroat Pass, Boston Basin, Tatie Peak and Grasshopper Pass

You can research most of above trails on the excellent WTA (Washington Trail Association) website.

Edited: 7:51 pm, October 15, 2013
buffalo
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5. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Thanks for the great information...

I read up on these hike at Washington Trail Association...

Currently looking at 4 hikes...

Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm

Maple Loop

Thornton Lakes/Trapper Peak

Cutthroat Pass/Granite Pass

Looks like both Newhalem and Colonial Creek Campgrounds would be about equally convenient...does anyone have a preference between these two campgrounds??

indiana
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6. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Todd, we are also going to NC next year, can't combine it with Glacier so will have to miss Glacier. Dan and Christy have been a great source of help to me. Dan's list includes all the trails we are planning. I think we pretty much ruled out Sourdough also, due to difficulty and read some not too good reviews when compared to other trails. Have fun and keep us posted. We will be traveling a little later in the year than you, so look forward to your thoughts after your visit.

Seattle, Wa
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7. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Colonial Creek is much more scenically set than Newhalem (it's IN the mountains while Newhalem is before you start climbing), though Newhalem is bigger and newer, so not a bad choice.

Spokane, Washington
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8. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

While I have very little actual hiking experience in NCNP (only done Cascades Pass and Heather-Maple Pass), I just finished reading my 3rd guide books on NC trails. I am re-arranging my TDL based on what I've learned.

1. Hidden Lake Lookout (highly touted by all 3 books, one author - the venerable Ira Spring - actually preferred it over Cascade Pass; due to less crowd)

2 Thornton Lakes/Trappers Peak

3 Easy Pass - Barb, I changed my mind on this one.

4 Cut Throat Pass

5 Tatie Peak/Grasshopper Pass - intriguing, easy climb to very a very high elevation, but has a tough dirt road to TH

I dropped off Blue Lake and agree with Barb that Sourdough is not worth the effort.

BTW, Barb, I looked, but none of the books mentioned the trail you're interested in near Winthrop.

Re Mt. Baker

I'd recommend both of you to look at Park Butte/Railroad Grade. It's relatively close to NCNP - TH is 1+ hour from Marblemount. One author frankly put it as the hike to do if you pick just one in Baker.

The other contenders are Skyline Divide, Yellow Aster Butte, and Ptarmigan Ridge (they are all cluster around the more northern Hwy 542).

Happy Planning!

indiana
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9. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Thanks Dan, There are a few trails at Mt. Baker I was interested in but will probably only have one day to go there. I really can't be away for more than about ten days. There are so many trails, I'm already looking at a return trip!! Will check the Mt. Baker trail you mention. I had picked Skyline but anything is subject to change.

Seattle, Wa
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10. Re: 2014 Trip Plans - Need Your Recommendations

Daniel, I may have already told you this, but Tatie Peak/Grasshopper Pass is spectacular when the larches are golden. That's really when it's at it's best. I can't remember if you are a camper but very close to the TH is Meadows Campground, which is in an area that burned ~10 years ago (the Forest Servcie restored the campground). So it's pretty unique for WA--it's set high, with no trees around, making for amazing starwatching. Cold at night, though. Hopefully the FS will grade the road next year as it's long overdue and was made worse than usual by those big storms we got in August and September--there were numerous landslides that were bulldozed off the road but it sounds like it was still rough.