North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Thornton Lakes Trail

This trail lies west of Newhalem in Ross Lake Recreation Area. It leads through recently logged terrain to a ridge line below Trapper Peak. The trail extends approximately six miles to Trapper Peak summit with an elevation gain of 3,364 feet. Views abound from the ridge above the lake, with dramatic panoramic views of the Cascades from Trapper Peak.

After a long, bumpy drive to the trailhead hikers begin at an elevation of 2,600 feet. The trail follows an abandoned logging road, used during the 1960s, for the first two miles. This portion of the trail may be overgrown with brush so that it doesn't look much wider than a trail. During these first two miles the trail ascends along the western side of Thornton Creek, crosses the drainage then contours the slopes east of the creek.

Two and a quarter miles from the trailhead, after a mile of level hiking, the trail begins to climb. In the next two and a quarter miles the trail ascends 2,130 feet to a ridge crest. As the trail reaches the ridge it leaves the forest for the exposed ridge. From this ridge a very rocky and steep trail descends one half mile to lower Thorton Lake.

If you are not camping and seek better views, begin hiking northeastward along the ridge. In less than a mile and less than 1,000 feet elevation gain you'll reach the summit of Trappers Peak. The summit lies at 5,965 feet and provides views of the Picket Range, Davis Peak, Pyramid Peak, Colonial Peak and Neve Glacier.

North Cascades National Park, 700 Rayovac Drive, Suite 100 , Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284-9314, Phone: 608-264-5610

Directions

Directions from Marblemount: Drive east on Highway 20 11 miles to dirt road on the left signed as Thornton Creek Road. Turn northward and drive 5 miles to the trailhead. Thornton Creek Road is not recommended for trailers or RVs. It isn't graded regularly and is very steep.

Directions from Newhalem: Drive west on Highway 20 3 miles to a wide dirt road on the right signed as Thornton Creek Road. Turn northward and drive 5 miles to the trailhead. Thornton Creek Road is not recommended for trailers or RVs. It isn't graded regularly and is very steep.