This is arguably the most spectacular dayhike in the North Cascades. Every step along the way, you're surrounded by the hoary peaks of the North Cascades, with their hanging glaciers and steep couloirs, a 360-degree view of lustworthy eye candy.
And it's not a difficult hike either. Trail No. 745 starts in second-growth forest but after a mile, it enters a lush meadow. After the second crossing of Sibley Creek at 2.5 miles (5200 ft), the trail begins a modest hillside traverse through slabs of jumbled granite and huckleberry bushes. There is water aplenty on the trail. After the switchback at 3.7 miles, you come to a basin where you'll spy the lookout, which sits perched atop a high spire that looks impossibly far and too high above. At 4 miles, you'll climb a little more steeply about 700 feet, coming to a small tarn and a narrow gully directly beneath the lookout. The trail gets hard to follow at this point but you'll see occasional cairns guiding you up the huge granite slabs to your left to the 6600-foot saddle, where beautiful Hidden Lake sparkles like a sapphire in the sun. There are some fabulous-looking campsites there. Just 0.5 mile and 300 feet further up is the lookout. Follow the cairns. The lookout is furnished with a dubious double bed and astounding panoramic views of all the nearby rugged peaks, blinding-white glaciers, and the Skagit River Valley far below. Stay here overnight, first come, first served.
Time In: 3 hrs, Time Out: 2 hrs, 30 minutes. Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 3290 ft (3600-6890 ft)