Devils Dome/Jackita Ridge


Backpack - Devils Dome/Jackita Ridge

4 days of solitude and expansive views of the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness as we circle Jack Mountain and visit the fire lookout atop Desolation Peak once staffed by the poet Jack Kerouac. Finish with an overnight on Ross Lake and a water taxi back to our cars. 47 miles / 15,000' gain over 4 days on very challenging terrain.

  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 47.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 15,000 ft
  • Pace: 2mph

Thursday, July 11th @ 8am @ Ross Dam trailhead.

We'll park some of our cars at the Ross Dam TH, then carpool in remaining cars to the East Bank trailhead.

Upon completion of the trip, we'll take the Ross Lake Water Taxi from Lightning Creek Boat Camp to the Ross Dam area.  We'll walk a short distance to our cars at Ross Dam TH, and we'll then carpool to the East Bank TH to retrieve the remaining vehicles.

This is a very strenuous trip, featuring challenging terrain (steep scree/talus slopes, potential snowfield crossings, miles and miles of relentless blowdowns that we must go under/over/around), route-finding, scarce water sources, overgrown brush that we'll need to trek through, steep ascents/descents on primitive trail, significant elevation gain/loss, and long miles.

The first day will be particularly punishing: 12 miles, 5400ft gain, and fully loaded packs (containing 4 days of food).  The second day will be a close second place: 11+ miles, 4200ft gain, and a significant scree field to descend.  The third day will be a close third place: 10+ miles and 5700ft of knee-jarring descent through miles of blowdowns.  After an overnight along the shores of Ross Lake, day 4 will seem downright easy: a 13 mile, 5200ft gain out-and-back day hike to the summit of Desolation Peak.

In return, we'll be treated to 4 days of solitude and breathtaking views of the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness.  We'll enjoy an overnight (if weather allows) at the summit of Devil's Dome, with mountains in every direction.  We'll visit the fire lookout atop Desolation Peak that was once staffed by poet Jack Kerouac.  And we'll skip the boring parts of the trail with a boat ride back to our cars.

Participants must be fit, experienced, and comfortable (a) trekking on steep scree / talus slopes (b) crossing low-consequence snowfields and (c) enduring miles and miles of blowdowns.  With loaded backpacks.  Water will be scarce in this area, and we will often need to search for water sources and stock up when we can.  Participants should expect to trek some portions of this route with 3-4 liters of water.

To ensure that we have a compatible group (fitness, comfort with challenging terrain, etc) able to successfully and safely complete the trip, leader's permission is required.  In your request, please:

(1) Confirm that you've read and agree with the trip's Goals, Expectations, and Style.

(2) Confirm that you're comfortable with very challenging terrain, and that you're interested in 4 days of long miles, high gain, and lots of challenge.

(3) Detail the trips you have planned for this season

(4) Detail the trips you've taken *in the last 12 months* that have prepared you for a trip like this.  For each trip, please provide:

  • your average distance/gain per day
  • the maximum distance/gain you had in a single day
  • the # days you were in the backcountry.

Itinerary (Caltopo Route):

  • Day 1: East Bank trailhead to Devil's Park (12 miles, 5400ft gain)
  • Day 2: Continue to Devil's Dome -- or Bear Skull Shelter if weather prevents stay at Devil's Dome (11+ miles, 4200ft gain)
  • Day 3: Descend to Ross Lake, continue north to Lightning Creek Boat Camp (10+ miles, 350ft gain, 5700ft loss)
  • Day 4: Out-and-back day hike to the summit of Desolation Peak (13 miles, 5200ft gain, 5200ft loss)

Participants will each be responsible for the $10/person permit fee, and the $155 water taxi fee will be split evenly amongst participants.

WTA trip reports

Weather forecast


Devils Dome/Jackita Ridge

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent
  • Stove / fuel
  • Sleeping bag / pad
  • Water storage / treatment
  • Bear canister / Ursack
  • Pot / mug / spoon
  • Blue bag / Wag bag, as a portion of the trip passes through areas where waste cannot be buried
Trip Reports