North Cascades National Park 3

Hidden Lake

Mt. Baker in the distance

We woke up from our site in Newhalem Campground (see North Cascades 2) before our alarms and were packed and out of there by 6:02 AM. By the time we got coffee and Gatorade in Marblemount and drove up the ridiculously horrible Hidden Lake Road, it was 7:54 AM when we hit the trail. Let me stress how bad that road is: it was bumpy and narrow; anytime I came to a switchback I would honk the horn a bunch to single that we were there because you couldn’t see anything until it was too late.

The Hidden Lake Trail is more aggressive in its elevation gain than Cascade Pass. While there were some switchbacks through the meadow, they weren’t obnoxious and gave us more time to enjoy the beautiful flowers: lupines, black-eyed Susans and Indian paintbrushes. I was surprised we didn’t see any wildlife, especially marmots because of all that we saw on our way to Sahale Glacier.

The views really opened up once we got out of the meadow, and we saw Mt. Baker for the first time during this trip.

As we neared the pass, we had to navigate minor snowfields, but it was NOTHING like what we had to do in the Tetons (see Middle Teton). For the nerds: snow is pink because of algae.

view of Hidden Lake

We reached the pass and chilled out to enjoy the view of Hidden Lake below us. These pictures do nothing to capture the beauty of this place.

cabin on Hidden Lake Peak

Up to this point we had only seen two people who were finishing their hike as we were starting ours. A short climb up some talus to the Hidden Lake Peak, we met Tom. He stayed the previous night in the cabin and told us about the crazy night he had surviving the thunderstorm. He’s the one who called in about the smoke from a new fire, likely caused by the storm.

smoke from a fire caused by the night’s thunderstorm

Our return trip to the trail head was busier. We met an older couple who told us that they had planned on hiking the Cascade Pass Trail that morning, but they couldn’t get there because the road had completely washed out in a section due to the previous night’s storm. That’s likely why we saw as many people as we did. So happy that we decided to hike Sahale Glacier when we did!

Our adventure in North Cascades National Park has come to a close, and it’s eastward-bound we go. Our last national park of the trip will soon be one of my new favorites.

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