Hike Thornton Lakes & Trappers Peak

Thornton Lake Trail - Search Nearby - Added by Scott Kranz

Backpack into the pristine Thornton Lakes to set up a scenic basecamp before you scrambling up to Trappers Peak for more amazing views.

To get to your campground or to Trappers Peak, hike roughly five miles along the trail to ridge, where the trail divides. If you head left you'll go down into lake basis where you can drop your gear. Come back to the divide and head right, which will lead you up to trappers peak.

Something to keep in mind, the trailhead is unreachable for most of year. Best time to do this hike is mid-summer through fall. The forest road to trailhead is also pretty rough so a four-wheeled vehicle is strongly recommended.

To get to Thornton Lake trailhead, drive 11 miles north of Marblemount on HW 20 (North Cascades highway) until you reach a left turn for Thornton road. Drive ~5 miles on this road to reach trailhead. WARNING: four-wheeled vehicle is strongly recommended; forest road grade is quite steep at times with loose gravel.

If you're looking to grab a bite and a beer afterward, check out Train Wreck Bar in Burlington.

Distance

11 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

3000 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
Lake
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

Concrete / Grandy Creek KOA

Concrete, Washington

Burlington / Anacortes KOA

Burlington, Washington

Lynden / Bellingham KOA

Lynden, Washington

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

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful area, bring a 4wd vehicle!

This hike is VERY steep and the road up is just as advertised. I took a small 2wd Pontiac vibe thinking that the road descriptions were exaggerated (as they often are). In this case the descriptions are not exaggerated at all. I was BARELY able to rally that little car up that road by making my companions get out and hike up the steepest section then backing up and gassing it as hard as possible. It was quite the sight haha. I have driven many mountain roads and this is one that truly requires 4wd. The two nights we spent at Thornton lakes were awesome however due to the experience level of the group decided not to scramble all the way up Trappers peak. I am definitely planning on going back to bag the peak.

Late summer gem

A fantastic day hike or steep one night backpacking trip. Only a short drive from the Marblemount Wilderness Center (grab a permit), and frequently available when other popular camps are full. Love this hike, can't wait to try Trapper's Peak in winter!

Don't Go On A Foggy Day

First and foremost, this hike isn't for the faint at heart. It's basically 5 miles of up. Very challenging hike and we went on a day with lots of overcast. Luckily we got to the lake before fog came in and covered it completely. We didn't see any views due to the fog; we were literally in the clouds which also meant it was quite wet. Would do it again if I knew it would be clear.

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