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Cascades Treks
North Cascades Hiking Vacation
North Cascades Hiking Guides
North Cascades Guided Treks
North Cascades National Park Tour
Cascades Guides
North Cascades National Park Hikes
Cascades Hiking Tour

Thunder Creek - Ruby Mountain

Highlights

  •   Amazing North Cascades high country
  •   Stunning alpine passes & wildflowers
  •   Abundant wildlife habitat
  •   Panoramic views of iconic lakes & peaks
  •   Wonderful mountain solitude
  •   Fantastic backcountry cuisine


Description

With turbulent creeks, mountain forests, and panoramic views of dramatic peaks and Ross and Diablo Lakes, this three-day hike is a great introduction to North Cascades National Park. We start with a short but steep day up to our campground near Fourth of July Pass, and have a chance on day 2 to summit Ruby Mountain before returning to camp. On our last day we’ll retrace our steps back to the trailhead.

This trip is a fantastic way to accentuate a longer trip to the Pacific Northwest with some wonderful backcountry adventure, or it is a worthwhile standalone trip as well. With stunning mountain scenery, exciting hiking, breathtaking photography, and pristine camping, this trip is one you will think back on for years.

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Backpacking Trip
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Seattle, WA
3 days
14mi / 34km
Season: 7/1-9/25
$970 Per Person

Travel to Seattle, WA

  Private Trips

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Trip Dates & Booking

Click on a date to register.
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 3 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet

This multi-day North Cascades National Park hiking trip begins with a pick up at your hotel in Seattle, and then a scenic drive into the North Cascades. When we arrive at the trailhead, we’ll get our packs and gear sorted out and start following Thunder Creek. Our trail starts off level, but we’ll begin climbing after not too long, winding our way through forests with occasional glimpses of Ross Lake and jagged peaks through the trees. We’ll make our camp near Fourth of July Pass, and enjoy a gourmet meal in the depths of the North Cascades.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3,800 feet

Today is our layover day, so we’ll leave our camp set up and just take daypacks on a short but steep ascent of Ruby Mountain. A solid footpath with intermittent scrambling will take us to the summit and to 360 degree views of the North Cascades, Ross Lake and Diablo Lake. We’ll soak up the views on the summit over lunch, take time to relax, and eventually start descending back to camp and a restful night.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet
  • Shuttle to Seattle: 3 hours

On our final day, we’ll bid farewell to our home of two nights and being descending back towards the trailhead. We’ll notice the plants change as we lose elevation, and as the alpine views fade away we’ll return to tumbling creeks and, finally, Diablo Lake. We’ll soak our feet in the lake one last time, eat lunch by the vehicle, and then drive back to Seattle and your hotel.




Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified North Cascades National Park hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Seattle and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Seattle, Washington, where you'll meet your guide and group for an orientation meeting the evening before your trip begins at 5:00 PM. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to answer any questions you have and coordinate the orientation meeting.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on North Cascades backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in North Cascades National Park

The best hiking weather in the North Cascades is from mid June to late September, when the vast majority of trails (except ones up very high) are snow free. The west side of the Park catches the brunt of storm systems coming in from the Pacific Ocean, making the west side much wetter and more lush. The lower east side tends to be much warmer and drier throughout the summer. The west side receives on average 70+ inches more of precipitation and 400+ more inches of snowfall than the west side. Even with these discrpencies however, summer is a stunning time of year to be in the Cascades, on either side. See below for average temperatures and precipitation in North Cascades National Park:

 
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
 
 
Month
High
Low
Precip
 
June
63°
41°
2.2 in
 
July
70°
45°
1.7 in
 
August
70°
45°
1.7 in
 
September
61°
39°
2.5 in

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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