Trapper's Peak

North Cascades Highway
Newhalem , WA 98267
(360) 856-5700


The long open ridge that leads to Trappers Peak provides the perfect place to obtain what may be the finest alpine view of the southern Picket Range in the North Cascades National Park. Though the 5,964- foot summit is not overly technical (when conditions are right), your first view of the shear rock face can set your heart pumping.

Begin this all-day trip by hiking or snowshoeing the Thornton Lakes Trail. From the trailhead (2,700 feet), the path follows a now abandoned road which, though fairly level, may be brushy. Steep slopes above the road make avalanche consideration necessary whenever snow is present. After two miles the trail climbs steeply through pleasant forest and eventually switchbacks up the ridge. All the views you’ll want can be had from here. Looking ahead, the ridge ends at the seemingly shear rock face of Trappers Peak. Below, you can visually follow the line of the Thornton Lakes as they lead to towering Mt. Triumph. Scrambling a bit further up and over the ridge gives you those spectacular views of the southern Picket Range. Dark, bleak and jagged, the peaks rise up dramatically from the Goodell Creek valley that lies nearly 6,000 ft below. Seemingly lost against the background is the "Chopping Block" also known as Pinnacle Peak.

When conditions are safe, experienced and prepared groups may continue to Trappers Peak itself but for hikers, this is a fine place to end the trip with a welcome rest and lunch break. Trail guides seem surprisingly unanimous in describing the side trip to the Lakes as unnecessary. You’ll have to decide for yourself.

On your way home, stop by the North Cascades Visitor Center at Newhalem (just a short drive up Hwy 20). Compare this view of "The Chopping Block" with the ones from your hike. This will give you a greater appreciation for those alpine views, and an understanding for the peak’s nickname.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 1/23/2001


Follow the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) for 11 miles past Marblemount and turn left (north) on Thornton Creek Road between mileposts 117 & 118. Follow the gravel road for 5 miles to the trailhead. (Note: the road is steep and may be rough or snowbound. Check with National Parks Service for seasonal status.)


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