Backpack to Sahale Glacier Camp

Washington Cascade Pass Trailhead

Added by Scott Kranz

Backpack to Cascade Pass and then along the Sahale Arm to Sahale Glacier Camp, where you'll enjoy a night among some of the most stunning North Cascade peaks.

As an initial note, to spend an overnight at Sahale Glacier Camp, you need to obtain a permit at the North Cascades Ranger Station in Marblemount, Washington. Permits are limited, so get there early or call in advance.

To start, go to Marblemount, WA and then drive ~23 miles east on Cascade River Road until the end, the Cascade Pass trailhead. From the trailhead, you'll see amazing views of Johannesburg Mountain, the Triplets, and other North Cascade Peaks

Hike the initial 3.7 miles to Cascade Pass, a section of the trip that is moderate in difficulty. The first 2+ miles are switchbacks that seem like they never end. But, they do end ... eventually.

From Cascade Pass, follow the signs for Sahale Arm, and get ready for the first mile to gain around 800 feet. Once you get on top of Sahale Arm, you'll follow a well-defined trail and eventually reach a junction with another trail that goes down to Doubtful Lake. Stay to the left on the Sahale Arm trail and don't lose the elevation you've gained as you continue to climb. Eventually, as you continue to follow the main trail along Sahale Arm, the trail steepens and reaches a few small boulder fields. Follow rock cairns and stick with the trail, even if it becomes faint. Eventually, you'll make it to the base of Sahale Glacier at about 7600 feet elevation, where there is a compost toilet and designated camp sites with primitive rock walls. There is no camping on Sahale Arm itself; only at the designated spots at the Sahale Glacier Camp.

Enjoy an evening, night, and morning at a beautiful camp below the Sahale Glacier and with unparalleled view of the North Cascades.

Pack List

  • Ten Essentials
  • Headlamp
  • Camping gear (e.g., 4-season tent or sturdy 3-season tent; sufficiently warm sleeping bag and sleeping pad; camping stove and other camping gear)
  • Snowshoes, micro-spikes, and/or ice axe (depending on snow conditions)
  • Overnight permit for Sahale Glacier Camp (limited in number, can be obtained at Marblemount Ranger Station)
  • Northwest Forest Pass (for parking lot)
  • Food and Water
  • Photography Gear
  • Rainier Beers (optional)
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Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

12 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

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How to Get There

12 months ago

Stunning!

This looks amazing. The photos help! Definitely putting this on my list!

12 months ago

Added by Scott Kranz

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.

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