This trail begins in the south unit of North Cascades National Park at an elevation of 3,116 feet. It leads 17.5 miles southward, ascending Park Creek Pass, to Stehekin River Road. The trail is considered strenuous, but the views from it are worth the effort. Park Creek Trail can be used in conjunction with other Lake Chelan and Ross Lake Trails to form a long backpacking or horseback riding trip.
The northern terminus of this trail lies at the split in Thunder Creek Trail. At this split Fisher Trail leads eastward and Park Creek Trail leads southward. A backcountry camping area lies at this trail split. It is aptly called Junction Camp.
Following the trail southward it descends 900 feet to the eastern bank of Thunder Creek. Once the route reaches the creek bank it climbs one mile to the mouth of Skagit Queen Creek and the camp of the same name. Beyond the Skagit Queen Camp the trail parallels the the stream to the head of Thunder Basin immediately below Park Creek Pass. Along this portion of the route you'll pass Thunder Basin Camp almost seven miles from the trail beginning. Hikers will get their first glimpses of Park Creek Pass along this stretch north of it.
South of Thunder Basin Camp the trail parallels the creek for another mile before beginning to switchback. The trail bears eastward away from the stream and ascends two miles and 1,950 feet to the Park Creek Pass. The views atop the pass make the climb seem worth your while. Several glaciers to the east and the west are visible from this high point on the trail. The pass summit lies at an elevation of 6,060 feet.
Descending southward from Park Creek Pass the trail leads through meadows for the first mile. It then begins to descend more steeply before reaching the eastern bank of Park Creek. Three miles south of the pass the trail reaches Buckner Camp, which lies at 4,020 feet and provides excellent views of the Park Creek Valley, Booker Mountain and Goode Mountain.
From Buckner Camp the trail descends slowly one half mile to Five Mile Horse Camp. It continues to follow Park Creek through its hanging valley. Three miles south of Buckner Camp is Two Mile Camp, which lies at the mouth of the Park Creek hanging valley. Beyond this small primitive camp the trail descends 1,060 feet and two miles to Stehekin River Road.
Directions: From Stehekin, Travel northward on the Stehekin River Road 14.7 miles to the Shady camping area. It lies on the western side of the road.
Elevation: 3,115 feet
Ending Elevation: 2,330 feet
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North Cascades National Park, Washington
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