Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Glacier Peak Meadows

Glacier Peak Meadows

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
View map below

Length

25.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 4350 ft.
Highest Point: 6450 ft.

Rating

5.00 out of 5

 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

The climb up the North Fork Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail is steep and often buggy, but vast meadows of wildflowers and alpine heaven are the well-earned reward.

The North Fork Sauk Trail is one of several routes to access the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the high country of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Since the floods of 2003, it has become the main access point for climbers, so it can get crowded. But don’t let that deter you, as there are plenty of meadows and enough alpine beauty to go around.

The trail starts with a gentle climb in old-growth forest and quickly enters wilderness. Grand western redcedars flank the trail as it winds its way along the banks of the North Fork Sauk River. Pass a junction with the Pilot Ridge Trail at 2.1 miles. Campsites can be found at 4.5 miles near Red Creek and 5.8 miles at the Mackinaw Shelter. To the shelter you have gained 800 feet in elevation. The next 3 miles will gain 3,000 feet of elevation. For the next several miles, water is scarce and the grinding switchbacks are exposed, so top off your bottles.

As you near the junction with the PCT at 9 miles, the views start to impress and the grade lessens. Turn north for 6,450-foot Red Pass. The walk from here is nothing short of spectacular, with views of Monte Cristo and Sloan Peaks. Upon reaching the pass, pause and marvel at the massive display of the ice-capped volcanic wonder that is Glacier Peak. Camping is not permitted at the pass, so descend into the sprawling meadows of the White Chuck Valley. The first campsites are found at 11.5 miles, on the spur trail to the White Chuck Cinder Cone; continue 1 more mile to the meadows and find your ideal home for the weekend.

Plan several days in the area. You'll want to explore the White Chuck River and Cinder Cone, and one day you’ll just want to sit in the meadows and admire Glacier Peak.

 

Glacier Peak Meadows

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.0293, -121.2893 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District

See weather forecast

Getting There

From Darrington, take the Mountain Loop Hwy. south for 16 miles to FR 49. Turn left and continue 6.4 miles to a fork. Veer left for the Sloan Creek Trail, 0.1 mile to trailhead parking.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Glacier Peak Meadows

18 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports