Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm

Chris and I headed up to North Cascades National Park last weekend for an overnighter. We chose a highly rated location that had flown under our radar until now. The permit was a breeze to pick up in Marblemount with no entrance or permit fee. We opted to stay at the Sahale Glacier Camp instead of the Pelton Basin Camp. I felt as though Pelton might be a better choice for photography but we HAD to see the view from the top. The hike to Cascade Pass is 3.7 miles with an 1800ft elevation gain. The grade is nice and easy and the trail is in great condition. Once you reach the pass the views open up and fall colors explode all around you. This is the turnaround point for most, but I highly recommend pushing on to the Sahale Arm. It’s another 2.2 miles and another 1800ft to the Sahale Glacier Camp, but you don’t need to go quite that far to get the best views. Head to the turnoff for Doubtful Lake and the views are some of the best in Washington State.

The trail eventually turns into a rock scramble as you leave the vegetation behind and enter the glacier area. We made it to camp a little before dark and setup in the “castle”. This is what the site looks like as you approach.

The view from our site was one of the greatest views I have ever seen, truly spectacular.

If there had been a great sunset, this image would have been a winner.

The beautiful day turned into a stormy night: strong winds and rain pounded the tent endlessly and made for a restless sleep. Fortunately, the rains let up as we broke camp and we were able to hike out in great weather: cloudy, cool, and filled with atmosphere. Without the harsh sunlight I was able to photograph the fall colors. Here are few shots from the hike down.

I highly recommend Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm as a day hike, and if you’re a photographer itching for great light, it’s a wonderful place to stay for the night. Keep in mind that the Pelton Basin Camp is more sheltered, but man, what a view from the glacier!

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5 responses to “Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm

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