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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm

Rain, slick tread, difficult trail on lower Sahale Arm, spectacular.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • See below.

Draft trip report for Cascade Pass & Sahale Arm


     Our party of 4 met at Burlington P&R at 6:30 and consolidated into my SUV. Waited 15 minutes for another party member (guest), who never showed or contacted me. Cascade River Rd. has many blind corners. First section of gravel has irritating washboard. This ended after several miles and turned into potholes. Luckily we had light traffic. Arrived at the TH at 8:45. Lot is about ½ full. Temps in the mid-50’s, humid and cloudy.

     Started hiking up the 33 switchbacks at 9:05. Tread is in good condition and damp. In 10 minutes it started to spritz. Spritzing on and off. Gradually the tread gets more difficult with slippery rocks and roots, however the incline is low. Good views on the long traverse after leaving the switchbacks. As we got close to Cascade Pass we had real rain. Clouds down to the ground. Snuck under some trees to put on rain gear and have a short brunch. Arrived at the Pass at 12:00. More rain at the Pass. On the way up we met dozens of day hikers and backpackers. This included a group of about 20+ tweens with adults. How did they get a permit for a group this large?

     Started up the Sahale Arm trail in a brightening lull. Much of this trail has been rerouted since I hiked it a few years ago. Lots of work went into it and there are now lots of uneven stairs and new sections built through rock slides. It appears that the rerouting is intended to move the trail away from vegetation for conservation. The result is that the first 800’ or so from the Pass is more difficult that I remember. The rain started again, this with heavy wind. At about 6,100’ the trail gets enjoyable and the views grand, but our weather got worse. Finally at 13:30, with classic hypothermia weather, at 6,300’, we decided to bail out. On the way down the Arm we met a ranger checking on hikers needing assistance. Rain finally ended as we reached the Pass, but then restarted as we snacked. A rainless return on slippery tread. Met a very large marmot guarding his den, inches from the trail.

     Back at the TH at 17:45. Stats were 2,880’, 9.4 miles (est.) and 7 hours 45 minutes on the trail. We had a compatible and well prepared party. Suggestion - To really enjoy Sahale Arm plan to hike for 10 hours, go earlier and in decent weather.  Also, we went on a weekday, but weekends are mobbed and parking fills up early.

Chuck Gustafson