Backpack Thunder Creek

Thunder Creek Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by The Outbound Collective

Beautiful Cascade mountains. Roaring creek.

This hike along Thunder Creek in North Cascades National Park is perfect for families and beginner backpackers. The trail is at a lower elevation in the park so it is a great early-season hike, but be sure to check with the ranger station for trail and weather conditions before you go.

Starting from the Colonial Creek Campground parking lot, the trail ascends along the often roaring creek. After hiking 2.5 miles and a couple of easy creek crossings (most with the help of lovely and stable bridges), you will arrive at the first campsites at Neve Camp. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, the trail leads another four miles to the McAllister campsites.

Along the way you will enjoy peek-a-boo views of the surrounding snow capped mountains and the churning rumble of the creek. The sites at McAllister are spaced out nicely for privacy and there is an outdoor privy for those a little shy about their first squat in the woods!

The Nitty Gritty:Obtain a free, first-come first-served permit at the Wilderness Information Station in Marblemount. Permits can be hard to come by on weekends during the summer, but the rangers at the wildlife station are great for recommending alternative hikes. You can obtain the permit in-person up to one day before your trip.

Directions: From Seattle, travel north on I-5, then head east on Hwy 20 for 45 miles to Marblemount. Turn left on Ranger Station Road and after just one mile you’ll find the Wilderness Information Center where you can pick up your permits. Continue eastward on Hwy 20 for 25 miles to Colonial Creek Campground. Restrooms are available. The trailhead is near the amphitheater at the end of the campground parking lot.

Photos: Dan Zelazo, Dawn Coyote

Distance

12 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

1300 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

Easy Parking
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Concrete / Grandy Creek KOA

Concrete, Washington

Burlington / Anacortes KOA

Burlington, Washington

Lynden / Bellingham KOA

Lynden, Washington

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Backpack to High Camp on Ruby Mountain

Adventure

Backpack to Fourth of July Pass from Thunder Creek

Adventure

Camping in the North Cascades at Diablo Lake

Adventure

Canoe Diablo Lake

More Nearby Adventures