Easy Pass hike in North Cascades National Park

Easy Pass hike

North Cascades National Park
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New Morning Peak on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonLooking back at Methow Pinnacles on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonNew Morning Peak over Talus and trees on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonApproaching the New Morning Peak on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonApproaching the pass on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonAutumn on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonGreybeard Peak on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonMount Hardy from the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonGreybeard Peak views while hiking the Easy Pass trail in North Cascades, WashingtonFisher and Black peaks on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonFisher basin with the Fisher peak behind it on the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonLarches from the Easy Pass trail in North Cascades, WashingtonViews west to Mount Logan from the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, WashingtonViews of Golden Horn and Hardy from the Easy Pass Hike in North Cascades, Washington

Easy Pass hike

Distance: 12.9km
Elevation: 935m
Time: 5-6h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
8.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

We love the hike to Easy Pass. This stunning North Cascade hike has peaks aplenty and rewards hikers at the top of this not-so-easy pass. Gaze across Fisher Basin to Fisher Peak, and check out Mount Logan’s glaciated goods from afar. Hiking to Easy Pass is excellent during fall when the subalpine larches turn golden-yellow. Snow-dusted peaks are icing on the cake.

Easy Pass hike Map

Getting there

From Newhalem, drive Highway 20 east for 51.5km. Turn right between mileposts 151 and 152 onto a road signed for Easy Pass. Northwest Forest Pass required.

I’ve done this 7 people have done this
I want to do this 18 want to do this route

About

When to do

July to October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Yes, at trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Easy Pass
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Easy Pass

According to the US Forest Service, “This route was called ‘Easy’ Pass because it was the only place possible to put a trail across rugged, ragged ridges.” But don’t let the name fool you. Hiking to Easy Pass is anything but easy. This trail traverses rocky meadows and steep talus slopes in search of higher places, with views deep into North Cascades National Park.

Begin the hike in heavy timber, dropping a little to rushing Granite Creek. Fortunately, a log bridge spans the waters. Begin gaining elevation beneath the trees, reaching Easy Pass Creek and the first mountain views at 2.7km. Cross this creek carefully – there is no bridge. Shortly thereafter, the trail emerges from the forest into meadows, with views straight ahead to New Morning Peak.

Climb through the open, talus-strewn slopes towards Easy Pass. Graybeard Peak towers overhead. The trail travels toward the saddle between Graybeard and New Morning Peaks, with ever-improving views northeast to Mount Hardy and Golden Horn each time you turn around. Re-enter a forested area before breaking out into exposed talus again, climbing all the while. Look and listen for pika scurrying about in the rocks while you hike by.

After about a 1.6km of relentless switchbacks, reach the National Park boundary – marked by a post. The pass itself is 0.2km further, topping out at just above 1981m. While there’s no obvious turnaround spot (the trail continues for several miles into the National Park), it’s easy enough to find a scenic lunch spot atop the pass.

Enjoy endless views across the Fisher Basin to Fisher and Black peaks. Look deep into the park for a far-off glimpse of glaciated Mount Logan. Fall colors against the backdrop of black rock and white snow makes for a stunning contrast. Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

Hike back the way you came.

Want to find other amazing hikes in North Cascades National Park? Check out the Diablo Lake trail, Maple Pass Loop or the Cascade Pass trail.

Insider Hints

  • Trekking poles are helpful, especially on the steep, rocky descent.

  • The best time for hiking Easy Pass is during fall, providing vibrant colors and snow-capped peaks.

  • Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, especially on hot days. The route is very exposed.

Comments

Cykelly 1 year ago

Easy Pass was really strenuous. A lot of elevation, but beautiful. You really see some truly amazing forests and mountains surrounding you. Lots of birds and noises.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
5h 00m Time Taken
Burokai 1 year ago

What a misleading name - it wasn't that easy! But definitely worth it as the views when you hike out of the forest were stunning

8.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2 Comments

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