Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park
Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park

Washington Pass Overlook

North Cascades National Park
View Photos
Liberty Bell view from an overlook on the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonPaved path of the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonOverlook views of the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonSilver Star Mountain from the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonGentle grade of the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonViews from the top of the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonNorth Cascades views from the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonLiberty Bell and Early Winters Spires from the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, WashingtonLoop trail of the Washington Pass Overlook Hike in North Cascades National Park, Washington

Washington Pass Overlook

Distance: 0.2mi
Elevation: 20ft
Time: 0.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.6 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The Washington Pass Overlook hike is a must-do for anybody visiting the North Cascades. This hike takes you along a short, paved path leading to incredible Liberty Bell views from the 5600ft heights of Washington Pass. This little leg stretch is an excellent way to break up the drive between eastern and western Washington State.

Washington Pass Overlook Map

Getting there

To get to the Washington Pass Overlook trailhead, head east from Newhalem on Highway 20 for 42.0mi to milepost 162. Turn left onto the signed overlook road.

I’ve done this 32 people have done this
I want to do this 51 want to do this route

About

When to do

Spring - Fall (Highway 20 closed during winter)

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Yes

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Circuit


Washington Pass Overlook
Elevation Graph


Washington Pass Overlook Trail Description

Everyone – even non-hikers – can enjoy the soaring Liberty Bell Mountain views from the top of Washington Pass. A paved path cuts through pine-scented forest to the overlook, where Liberty Bell and Early Winters Spires dominate the view. Peer down onto a hairpin turn on Highway 20, some 700ft below. You can return the way you came for a 5-minute round trip walk, or continue around the loop for additional views.

To turn this walk into a short hike, take the 0.3mi circuit route. From the overlook, follow the path north. This portion of the trail is not wheelchair accessible, as it alternates between dirt and stairs. From the northern high point, Silver Star Mountain is on display, along with countless rugged ridges and spires.

Washington Pass provides an excellent introduction to the North Cascades, showcasing their wild, jagged, sky-piercing peaks. It’s also a learning environment, telling the story of the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) through interpretive signage. Opened in 1972, the North Cascades Highway is less than 50 years old – and Washington Pass is its highest point. Take your time wandering the path. It’s not difficult to imagine a time when no road existed here, when the wilderness remained wild and free of modern technology.

Hiking Trail Highlights

Washington Pass

Washington Pass stands at an elevation of 1669m, deep in the heart of the North Cascades Mountains. It marks the highest point of the North Cascades Highway and marks the dividing line between eastern and western Washington. This dramatic and iconic part of the North Cascades landscape stands just four miles away from another high mountain pass, Rainy Pass, which is a little smaller, at an elevation of 1486m.

Washington Pass is best known as the best lookout point for Liberty Bell Mountain, as well as the striking view down onto the highway below, with its characteristic hairpin bends. This part of the North Cascades is known for its many avalanches in winter, and heavy snowfall means that it remains closed for most of the year, only opening between May and October.

Liberty Bell Mountain

liberty bell
Liberty Bell Mountain

Liberty Bell is one of Washington State’s best-known mountains, jutting up into the sky just above Washington Pass. The peak itself actually forms part of a cluster of spires including Concord Tower, Lexington Tower and the North and South Early Winters Spires. Although this mountain isn’t the tallest mountain in the North Cascades, it is a popular destination for mountaineers and climbers, who flock to the peak to take advantage of the high-quality granite and challenging climbing routes.

The peak is named after the famous, cracked Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol that is inextricably bound up with the quest for American independence. The looming mountain closely resembles the shape of the famous bell, even down to its chiseled, cracked face. It’s easy to see why Liberty Bell Mountain is one of the most photographed peaks in the North Cascades.

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

  • With easy access for all, the hike to the Washington Pass Overlook is wheelchair accessible, kid-friendly, and leashed dogs are welcome.

  • Birds, squirrels, and other wildlife may beg for food in this heavily-trafficked area. Don’t feed the wildlife!

  • For a longer hike around the back side of Liberty Bell, check out the nearby Blue Lake Trail.

Comments

Papa smurph 2 years ago

This overlook provided a spectacular view of the mountains! Staggering scenery.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
0h 30m Time Taken
Abra Pepel 2 years ago

Exquisite scenery! Liberty Bell looks magnificent!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Sally S. Norbert 2 years ago

We were blown away by the views. My family enjoyed this park!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
0h 30m Time Taken
Lambert O 2 years ago

The view of the mountains is absolutely stunning. Always a beautiful place

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
0h 30m Time Taken
Kohaku Ichinose 2 years ago

Nice overlooking views! I really enjoyed here.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Aleysha C. 2 years ago

The views from the overlook was beautiful in every direction.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
0h 30m Time Taken
Zoey Mann 2 years ago

It was a nice short walk with pleasant views!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
masonH. 2 years ago

It's a good walk for people of all ages. There are plenty of nice views too.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
amsterdan 3 years ago

Short hike with some sweet spots for photoshoots. It was a great hike to do when the weather is perfect.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Rain k. 3 years ago

Honestly, I think It was a great hike. The only problem is that it is too crowded.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
15 Comments Show all

Similar hikes to the Washington Pass Overlook hike

Trail of the Cedars Hike Map

Trail of the Cedars Hike

Difficulty:
1.7mi
72ft
0.5-1h

The Trail of the Cedars is a 1.7mi easy hike in North Cascades National Park. This hike is…

Gorge Creek Falls Trail Map

Gorge Creek Falls Trail

Difficulty:
0.5mi
39ft
0.5h

The Gorge Creek Falls Trail is a quick, easy loop trail with a waterfall view. It’s only 0.8km long with…

Skagit River Loop Trail

Skagit River Loop Trail

Difficulty:
1.9mi
95ft
0.5-1h

The Skagit River Loop Trail is an easy hike in North Cascades National Park. This hike is suitable for all…