10.5 miles of hiking • 3000' elevation gain •

Armed with a few beers and a couple of North Cascades hiking guides on Saturday night, I told Eric it was his turn to pick the next hike. Weather was going to be iffy, and we knew full well we may end up having to turn around.

Eric decided that we couldn't opt for anything less than a 5 star rating in the guidebook, so Trapper Peak/Thornton Lakes was chosen.

The road to the trailhead was a bit rough, and I was grateful that Eric had offered to drive. My prius would not have made it.

At the trailhead, we encountered a group of Mountaineers, prepping for their "climb." We then realized we had signed ourselves up for not just a hike, but a scramble. We decided we would just go for it, and assess conditions as we met them.

The trail starts gentle for the first 2 miles, meandering along an old logging road. When it does start up, it is definitely up, rugged and rooty. Reminded me a bit of Elk.

Eventually, you reach the junction in which you must decide on a lakeside destination, or the well marked climbers trail. We opted for the climbers trail, and prepped ourselves for the final up. The last .5 miles is something like 1000 gain, scrambling. My legs were jelly, and when it became apparent we would have no views, I opted to stop shy of the summit. Eric attempted further, but also decided to turn back as it was starting to snow and the summit was socked in.

I really really want to attempt this again in the summer on a clear day. The view of the picket range is supposed to be amazing.


nuizontann and Father Guido Sarducci heart this trip.

Father Guido Sarducci
October 16, 2019

You are right about that road being rough. I was bouncing around all over the place in my FJ. Definitely try it again in the summer on a clear day. Some of the best N. Cascade views imo from the summit.