Hiking the North Cascades
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)
© Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
The trail is in excellent condition and snow free all the way to the top. You feel as though you have climbed to the top of the world. No water up top this time of year.
The trail to Cutthroat Pass at this time of year is a trip to the top of the world! Trail was dry for the first two-thirds of the way up to the pass with snow beginning at about 3500 ft. Snow deepens rapidly at that point, reaching depths of approximately 20 feet by the top of the Pass. It is passable however, wearing only hiking boots (although they will get wet!), because the snow is crusty on top. Should you happen to step near a covered rock, however, you may sink up to your hips! The trail becomes difficult to impossible to follow, of course, in such snow depths and it was only after we trudged our way to the top of a mountain and looked down that we could see the trail resurface about 200 yards away. Cutthroat joins with the Pacific Crest Trail at the top of the Pass but dangerous snow drifts covered the junction and we could go no further. Outstanding day hike with incredible mountain views all along the trail. Many people, ourselves included, missed the turnoff from Cutthroat Lake to the Pass as it is obscured by bushes when heading toward the lake. After trudging around the lake unsuccessfully trying to find the turnoff, we gave up and headed back toward the car. We were pleasantly surprised to see the trail junction so easily coming from the other direction. So, if hiking this trail, look for the trail cutoff to the right (before you reach the lake) where there is a sign nailed to a tree that says "Cutthroat Road - 2 miles" although it was quite beautiful and fun circling the lake!
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