Forests and Peaks of North Cascades National Park

Experience old-growth forests, valleys carved by glacial ice, and views of stunning peaks on this week-long trip into the heart of North Cascades National Park. We’ll follow a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail to the Bridge Creek campsite north of the small mountain town of Stehekin, stopping along the way to gaze up at ancient trees, dip our feet in icy alpine streams, and participate in discussions about the human and natural history of the region. A highlight of the trip will be our climb to the top of Goode Ridge, a remote peak only accessible via backcountry trails.

Read for our planned detailed itinerary:

Day 1: Meet at Bridge Creek Trailhead (transportation to the trailhead from Bellingham or Mount Vernon is available). From there, we’ll hike through the dry forest that characterizes the eastern North Cascades to South Fork Camp, where we’ll set up our tents for the night. We’ll pause on the trail for a discussion about the forest ecosystems where we’ll be spending the next week together. Total mileage: 5.5

Day 2: Be prepared to pack up camp and head to our next site: North Fork Camp, a beautiful spot where the north fork of Bridge Creek flows into the main stream. We’ll gradually gain elevation and push farther west into the park, noting changes in the environment as it transitions from a dry eastern to a wet western forest. Morning and evening will feature facilitated discussions about the area’s ecosystems and human history. Total mileage: 4.4

Day 3: On this short hiking day we’ll move to Bridge Creek Camp, where we will be spending the next two nights. We should arrive in plenty of time to spend the afternoon exploring along the creek or resting at camp, convening in the evening for some facilitated activities. Depending on weather and how high the creek is flowing, optional swimming might be on the agenda! Total mileage: 2.9

Day 4: We’ll secure camp in the morning, then leave for a day hike up the Goode Ridge Trail. As we gain elevation, conifer forest will give way to beautiful albine meadows home to wilflowers, butterflies, and marmots. This long hike will take most of the day, but it’s well worth it! Back at camp we’ll end the day with a facilitated discussion or two, then get a good night’s rest in preparation for starting the journey back to the trailhead the next day. Total mileage: 10

Day 5: After saying goodbye to Bridge Creek we’ll head back the way came on the PCT, spending the night at 6-Mile Camp. Facilitated discussions that evening will focus on activism skills and how to take action on critical issues we’ve discussed during our time together in the backcountry. Total mileage: 5.4

Day 6: For our last full day in the field, we’ll return to Firewood Camp and spend a final night under the stars. This will be a great day for reflection, as activities focus on looking back on the last several days and ahead to the return home. Total mileage: 3.4

Day 7: We will break camp and hike back to Bridge Creek Trailhead, where transportation to Bellingham or Mount Vernon will be available for those who request it. Total mileage: 3.5

Apply to join the trip here!