Thunder Creek


Backpack - Thunder Creek

Savor views of North Cascades peaks and fall colors in this moderate backpack: 12 mile roundtrip with about 2300 feet of elevation gain. Sharpen your skills- beginners welcome. While open to all Mountaineers, this trip is designed to offer extra coaching and skills/gear practice for Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) students.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 12.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 3,600 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 mph
We will meet on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 9:00AM at the Wilderness Information Center, 7280 Ranger Station Rd., Marblemount, WA 98267     
Phone: 360-854-7245  
This is about a 2+ hour drive from Seattle. It has bathrooms but no overnight parking here.
Bring a lunch for Saturday - we'll eat lunch on the trail.
We need to pick up the mandatory backcountry camping permits there and find out if our intended itinerary to Thunder Creek is available. If not, plan B is the Big Beaver Trail on the west bank of Ross Lake. These trails are 40-50 minutes from the Wilderness Information Center. 
We also need to be sure to get any bear canisters we need (unless you bring your own). We will then caravan to the trailhead.

Trip plan: We will travel at a moderate pace, 1.5 mph. There are stream crossings and at least one stretch of trail with a steep drop-off that will require extra caution. We will aim to make camp after taking the fork towards the 4th of July Pass, almost 7 miles from the trailhead, with about 2300 feet of elevation gain. On Sunday we will retrace our footsteps to the trailhead.

Please bring your rain gear as weather in October at this altitude can be fickle. Please also bring extra layers for warmth such as a warm hat, gloves, and insulating jacket for evening and at camp. Summer sleeping bags- if you bring extra layers- and 2 or 3 season tents should be adequate.

Recommended Maps: Green Trails Diablo Dam No. 48, Green Trails Mt Logan No. 49, and Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park.

Bear canister is required. Trip leader can bring at least one, or they are available for rent from various vendors.

No parking pass is required at the trailhead, but since a backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park we will visit the North Cascades National Park Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount before heading to the trailhead to obtain a permit.


Thunder Creek

  • Green Trails Diablo Dam No. 48

    Green Trails Mt Logan No. 49

    Green Trails McGregor Mtn No. 81

    Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Rain gear
Trip Reports