Thunder Creek

Thunder Creek is an easy backpack of 13 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain. The trail follows Thunder Creek through old-growth forests, passing many gravel bars on the way to the junction with McAllister Creek.

Temporary Closure

In May 2023, a landslide on SR-504 caused significant damage to the Spirit Lake Outlet Bridge at milepost 49. The upper portion of SR-504 between mileposts 45.2 and 51 will remain closed to the public for the remainder of 2023 and into spring 2024. Visit the WSDOT website for updates.

getting there

Drive SR-20 to Colonial Creek Campground in North Cascades National Park.

on the trail

Travel from Thunder Arm of Diablo Lake, along Thunder Creek as far as you like.  Enjoy occasional views of North Cascades peaks and glaciers, and seasonal abundant wildflowers or fall colors.


  • For backpackers, camps are abundant, including Neve, McAllister, Tricouni, Junction, and Thunder Basin (just south of Park Creek Pass).
  • Many campsites accommodate four people. Be sure to check with the land manager for availability and permits.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 12.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 650 ft
  • 1,900 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 4
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Diablo Dam No. 48
  • Green Trails Mt Logan No. 49
  • Green Trails McGregor Mtn No. 81
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park

Upcoming Activities

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