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Fourth of July Pass via Panther Creek

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
View map below

Length

11.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2000 ft.
Highest Point: 3500 ft.

Rating

3.00 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Highway 20 Closure: Highway 20 is closed between Silver Star (Milepost 170) and Early Winter Campground (Mileposte 177) while crews fight an active wildfire in the area. This closure is dated 7.12.21
 
 

Panther Creek is a small gem in a setting of big gems. The North Cascades boasts some of the biggest, finest views in the country, and quiet, contemplative hikes like Panther Creek can get lost in the mix. Nevertheless, it’s well worth hikers’ time to venture into these forests and meadows to ascend Fourth of July Pass.

Fourth of July Pass can be accessed via Panther Creek, described here, or via Thunder Creek. Hikers can go out and back or do a traverse with a car at each end.

The Panther Creek trail starts in cool lodgepole pine forest, climbing to a traverse underneath a cliffside at 2000 feet. Here, hikers descend, losing much of the elevation they’ve gained, until the trail touches the creek. At that point, it turns up again to a formerly bridged crossing with designated campsites.

From here, the trail crosses small streams and avalanche slopes, and at 2700 feet of elevation, 4.75 miles in, it contours away from the creek and heads up to Fourth of July Pass, one mile distant and 800 feet higher.

The best views are at the far end of Fourth of July Pass, and the nicest place to camp is about a mile beyond at Fourth of July Camp with views of Colonial Peak, Snowfield Peak and Neve Glacier.

Probably the best way to see this section is as a traverse from Colonial Creek Campground or the opposite. If you can swing two cars, the whole walk would be 11.7 miles. Note that a backcountry camping permit is required for backpackers, obtainable from North Cascades National Park.

 

Fourth of July Pass via Panther Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.7060, -120.9732 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

Panther Creek (#758)

North Cascades National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

100 Hikes in Washington's North Cascades National Park Region (Spring & Manning - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails 48: Diablo Dam

Green Trails 49: Mt. Logan

Getting There

Drive Highway 20 approximately 8.3 miles east of the Colonial Creek campground, across the Panther Creek bridge and look for a small parking area on the right between milepost 138 and 139.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Highway 20 Closure: Highway 20 is closed between Silver Star (Milepost 170) and Early Winter Campground (Mileposte 177) while crews fight an active wildfire in the area. This closure is dated 7.12.21
 

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Fourth of July Pass via Panther Creek

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