Traversing Like the Swiss On Cascade Pass, Washington
Washington's jagged North Cascades are wild, but not inaccessible. Only an hour from the small town of Marblemount, Cascade Pass Trail leads to expansive views and verdant high mountain passes within a relatively easy 4-mile hike. From the start, this switch-backing, cross-country stroll through subalpine terrain is like something out of The Sound of Music—you'll half expect Julie Andrews to whirl past glaciated Johannesburg Mountain, Cascade Peak, and The Triplets any moment. The observant hiker will also spy occasional glimpses of Mounts Baker, Shuksan, and Rainier in the distance. Bears (both grizzly and black), agile mountain goats, photogenic marmots, and elusive cougars share the valley with a frequently international assortment of trekkers. Valerian and lupine wildflowers abound in the early summer, and ripe huckleberries provide a tart afternoon snack. At the Cascade Pass junction, the trail branches steeply up Sahale Arm, towards the highest backcountry campsite in the North Cascades and a bird's eye view of Sahale Glacier.