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Trip Report    

Thunder Creek

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2015
  • Thunder Creek
  • Backpacking & Day Hiking

April 18-19, 2015

Mountaineers B3 backpack trip along the Thunder Creek Trail in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Spent one night at the McAllister Camp. We were a party of 8 with 2 dogs.

The weather was sunny and warm, with temperatures in the 60's during the day, low 40's during the night. A few mosquitoes were out.

The Wilderness Information Center at Marblemount was closed (will open for the season May 1). We obtained the required backcountry permit at a self-service station at the WIC. No parking permit is needed at the Trailhead at the south end of Colonial Creek Campground.

Dogs are allowed (on leash) in the Ross Lake NRA, but not in North Cascades NP. The Thunder Creek Trail begins in the Ross Lake NRA, entering North Cascades NP just beyond (south of) McAllister Camp.

Hiking time was about 4 hours at a social pace to McAllister Camp. We did not have difficulty with any of the numerous stream crossings. The trail was in good shape, with a few blow-downs from the past winter to be cleared. Only one was challenging to get around. The trail is mostly in old growth forest. There are occasional views of peaks in the Snowfield group and at the south end of the Inspiration Icefield.

We were early for spring wildflowers but did see a few, notably trilliums and calypso orchids. They should be joined by other deep forest species over the next few weeks.

We set up camp at the group campsite which is beyond the main camp area, next to McAllister Creek. The group camp has good access to water, a privy, and plenty of space for our group of 8.

The next morning we retraced our steps to the trailhead, again in about 4 hours. Thunder Creek is a pleasant, non-strenuous early season hike in a classic old-growth forest, a fine option to knock the dust off while waiting for the high country to open up.