Beers at the Bottom, enjoyed Day Hike Summer Ale along Cutthroat Pass for #TwoBeersInTheWild! We’ve so enjoyed reading their reports and drooling over their photos. Follow their adventures as we share them on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As summer winds down grab another 6-pack of Day Hike Summer Ale and head outside!
Cutthroat Pass via PCT
Region: North Cascades
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 10 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers, Edible berries/plants, Wildlife
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: Bugs were not too bad
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 157 miles
We’ve had a great summer as Day Hike Ambassadors and can’t believe this is our final hike! Despite a summer of 70+ degree weather for weeks at a time, it took until the last few weeks for some of our favorite high-country trails to be fully hikeable. That just means we’re saving our best hike for last!
We took a camping trip out to the North Cascades and made sure to keep a few Day Hikes on ice for our first trek to Cutthroat Pass. While day hikers typically hike to the pass from Cutthroat Lake, we actually decided to get there via the iconic Pacific Crest Trail. An awesome thing about the PCT, is that since it was originally graded for stock, it’s rarely very steep and the trail is wider. While you still gain 2000 feet from the forest to the pass, it’s done gradually over a 5 mile stretch.
Even though it was mid-week, the parking lot was busy, and it was easy to pick out thru-hikers and section hikers on their way to Canada. But once we hit the trail, it was easy to find solitude. The first 1.5 miles of this hike are forested, and known for high-running creek crossings. But for us, even the notorious Porcupine Creek was easy to rock hop across. After that, we came out of the forest to the rugged terrain of the North Cascades. We switchbacked up rocky slopes to the pass above through huckleberry bushes and larches–still sporting their summer green.
When you crest the ridge to Cutthroat Pass, the views will quite literally take your breath away–spin around and all you can see are jagged peaks, some with patches of snow clinging to their rocky faces. We pulled out our Day Hikes and map to try and name the mountains around us. After drinking in our fill of the landscape, we headed back down to the parking lot. Then it was time for Two Beers at the Bottom back at camp!
Even though our Ambassador Summer is coming to an end, this year’s hiking season feels far from over! Cutthroat Pass is an especially great hike for early to mid fall as the Larches turn gold. The hillside that for us was dotted with lush emerald will ignite with bright gold and red in mid-to-late September. Happy Hiking, and Cheers!