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North Fork Skykomish River

Central Cascades


Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
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10.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 1000 ft.
Highest Point: 4000 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2020

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

This hike is a tree hugger's paradise. Huge old growth Douglas firs and hemlocks soar into the sky from a lush green forest floor dotted with woodland flowers. The trail gently ascends only 700 feet in the first four miles, and the slope you hike up is laced by many clear flowing streams bridged by old puncheons.

The first 1.3 miles from the trailhead is an abandoned road that is stony in places. At almost a mile it splits. Go left to continue the trail into the forest.

At 2.8 miles is a junction with the Pass Creek trail. This trail crosses the river and goes 3.5 miles up to Cady Pass. About a mile from the junction is a swift-flowing deep stream that is difficult to ford. A log crossing is possible about 25 yards downstream. The trail continues another mile to an unbridged crossing of the North Fork Skykomish. Except in late summer, this is usually a wade across. However, in high water, this crossing can be quite dangerous. Use caution, and cross wisely.

In 2014, a major avalanche destroyed a portion of this trail approximately 7 miles from the trailhead. A riverside campsite (listed in the Mountaineers' "Backpacking Washington" book under the "Dishpan Gap" loop hike) was also destroyed. WTA helped clear and reroute this portion of the trail.

Continue on to Dishpan Gap, or make tracks up to Kodak Peak for some truly gorgeous vistas of the rugged Henry M. Jackson wilderness.


North Fork Skykomish River

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.9279, -121.2731 Open map in new window


Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West

North Fork Skykomish River (#1051)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Backpacking Washington (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Getting There

Drive east on US Highway 2 to just west of milepost 50 (located between the town of Skykomish and the Skykomish Ranger Station). Turn left onto Beckler Road 65, toward Beckler River Campground. Drive 15 miles and turn right on FS Road 63. Continue 4.2 miles to the large shared parking area for the trailheads of Quartz Creek and West Cady Ridge.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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North Fork Skykomish River

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