Seattle MAC - Backpacking Trip

Youth activity: Mountaineers Adventure Club

Seattle MAC - Backpacking Trip - East Bank Trail

MAC members go on a multiday backpack trip along Ross Lake and ascend 6,086’ Desolation Peak. This trip has prerequisites. See leaders notes for details.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Sat, Jul 10, 2021 — Mon, Jul 12, 2021
  • Seattle Youth Outreach Committee
  • Youth
  • Youth
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 47.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 9,778 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,086 ft
  • 1 (6 capacity)
  • FULL (1 capacity)
  • FULL (1 capacity)
  • Cancellation & Refund Policy

Carpool page
East Bank Trailhead, North Cascades National Park. 
Meeting time: TBD

In 3 days, hike along scenic Ross Lake, camp 2 nights along the Lake, and ascend spectacular 6,086’ Desolation Peak, with its historic fire lookout and panoramic views including numerous peaks: Hozomeen and Castle to the north, Baker, Redoubt, Spickard and Prophet to the west, Snowfield, Colonial, Ruby and Jack to the south, Skagit and Castle to the east and deep-blue Ross Lake far below.  More details about Desolation Peak can be found in its Wikipedia entry and a video about the people who staff the lookout. 

This very strenuous 42 mile, 3-day (2-night) backpacking trip includes more than 10,600’ of ascent and descent and the longest day of 15 miles.  

The tentative plan:

Day 1:  Drive to the East Bank Trailhead, just east of milepost 138 on the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20).  Hike north 13.5 miles along the East Bank Trail to Ponderosa Camp, gaining 2,200'.

Day 2:  Leave our overnight gear behind, and hike up Desolation Peak and return to Ponderosa Camp, 15 miles round trip and gaining 6,200’

Day 3:  Leave camp early and hike on the East Bank Trail back to the East Bank Trailhead and our cars, 13.5 miles and 2,200’ gain.

A map of our planned route:

Prerequisites: Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course/badge. Attendance at at least 1 MAC hike throughout the year prior to backpack trip.

All participants on this trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Students must have demonstrated fitness throughout other MAC activities and may be asked to answer certain questions to give the leader an idea of their fitness/ability/experience level.  Participants will be chosen at the trip leaders discretion and the above are minimum requirements which do not guarantee a space on the trip.


East Bank Trail

  • Green Trails Jack Mountain No. 17

    Green Trails Ross Lake No. 16

    Green Trails Diablo Dam No. 48

    Green Trails Mt Logan No. 49

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

Required Equipment

10 essentials, backpacking gear

Trip Reports