backpacking North Cascades

A backpacker near Park Creek Pass in North Cascades National Park.

Primal Wild: Backpacking 80 Miles Through the North Cascades

By Michael Lanza

“Lots of bears at Grizzly Creek.”

Those words that a backcountry ranger spoke to me over the phone just yesterday echo through our heads now, as my friend Todd Arndt and I descend switchbacks from misleadingly named, 6,500-foot Easy Pass into the densely forested valley of Fisher Creek in Washington’s North Cascades National Park. Fog swirls around the jagged peaks nearly a vertical mile above us. Battleship-gray skies threaten a common meteorological occurrence in these mountains—rain—although we’ve seen only sprinkles and wind so far. We’re hiking downhill past ripe huckleberry bushes toward a thicket of slide alder and chest-high brush that the trail passes through—ideal bear habitat.

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Backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Great Trip: Backpacking The Glacier Peak Wilderness

By Michael Lanza Some places just find their way into your heart and stick there. I fell in love with the entire North Cascades region of Washington on my first trip to the Glacier Peak Wilderness more than 20 years ago. I’ve returned several times since to backpack and climb, but the five-day, 44-mile Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop really stands out for …

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Hannegan Pass Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Ask Me: Where Should We Backpack With Kids in North Cascades National Park?

Michael,

I just stumbled upon The Big Outside! Wow! Amazing! Thank you for it! I LOVE it!

We have two girls, ages 11 and 9. Our first “major” backpacking trip last year was to Olympic National Park. Covered 30 miles in 8 days. Obstruction Point to Moose Lake, Third Beach to Toleak, and Graves Creek to O’Neil. What a trip! Each girl carried about 10 pounds and my husband and I each about 40 pounds. This trip took three to four months of planning. We fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.

Unfortunately, I dropped the ball this year in planning another fantastic westward-bound trip. I am scrambling to put something together. I am looking at North Cascades, primarily because they do not accept online reservations—first come, first served.

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Exploring the ‘American Alps:’ the North Cascades

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