North Fork Meadows in North Cascades National Park is a magical place. Situated in a cirque carpeted with brilliant sedge swards and wildflowers, surrounded by jagged pinnacles soaring above the valley, it is a place you will never forget.

The seven mile trail ends at the foot of a cataract on the North Fork of Bridge Creek. Waterfalls stream down on three sides with Mount Logan standing guard at the valley head. It’s likely that you’ll see more bears than people during your visit, the shortest route from car to trails end is 17 miles. In my several visits to North Fork Meadows the only people I have encountered were Park Rangers and trail maintenance volunteers.

The trail begins at Bridge Creek, which is at this point also the Pacific Crest Trail. North Fork Camp is here at the confluence of Bridge Creek and North Fork and on a bench above the camp the North Fork Meadows Trail heads up the valley. If you’re starting your trip in Stehekin you can ride the shuttle bus to High Bridge and hike about 6 miles to this junction.

The other main approach is to park on the North Cascades Highway at the Bridge Creek parking area and head south on the trail about 10 miles to the trail head at North Fork Camp. The seven miles up the valley gain about 1,600 feet but its not as easy as it sounds! A few miles in and you’ll pass Walker Camp and great views of Memaloose Ridge. Another mile or two and its time to ford Grizzly Creek, which depending on the season can be several braids, some thigh deep.

Soon the forest thins and vast brushfields of willow and alder take over. Here hiking on the “trail” is more like jungle bushwhacking!  Trail and stream merge often, if you hike in any but the driest weather prepare to get soaked–bring rain pants!

The trail breaks out onto gravel beds offering amazing views of Goode Mountain and Storm King. The water falls cascading down are too numerous to count!

The climb becomes more insistent now, topping knolls and passing more waterfalls on North Fork as the thickets become spare and the meadows take over. Majestic Mount Logan looms above all as you head up. Looking back down the valley Mount Benzarino and Corteo Peak can be seen.

The trail reaches its end, at about the 7 mile mark, just below an incredible waterfall. Views of Mount Logan in the morning light are not to be missed!

Mount Logan and Waterfall on Northfork

 

 

 

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