Sahale Glacier Camp, in North Cascades National Park is one of the most fantastically wondrous camp sites I have ever seen. Located at more than 7,000 feet at the base of Sahale Glacier, the camp site affords views of myriad peaks stretching to infinity.
The National Park Service has created the camp atop three mounds of rubble from the glacier above. there are stone rings which afford some slight wind protection,they look like turrets from a castle.
Sahale Glacier Camp Directions and Permits
A permit is required to camp here overnight, this can be obtained at the wilderness information center located on highway 20 in the nearby town of Marblemount. There ate a limited number of camping spots so make sure to get there early to get your permit.
The trail starts at the end of the Cascade River Road and switchbacks about 3 1/2 miles through deep forest to Cascade pass. As you approach the pass the views start to open up. There are stone benches at the pass, its a great place to take a break before tackling the more arduous part of trail. Expect hordes of people on the weekends! There can be more than 100 people making the hike to Cascade Pass and many continuing onto the Sahale Arm on a nice day in the summer.
The spur trail to Sahale Glacier Camp branches off from the main trail just past the benches at the pass. From here the path gets a steep as it navigates a boulder slide. At the top of this section there is another spur trail down to Doubtful Lake. If you have time, and maybe want to have a swim, this is a fun diversion. There are the remnants of a mine at the north end of the lake and you can see the red slash of tailings from above.
Now the trail curves and starts a gradual romp along Sahale arm. This ridge is one of the most beautiful in the North Cascades, partly because of the wall to wall wildflowers, but also because of the fantastic views! From here you can see Mix-up Peak, The Triplets, Johannesburg Mountain and many more. As you turn towards the peak the climb steepens and the last bit up to the camp is straight up.
Getting to Sahale Glacier Camp: from Seattle drive north on Interstate 5 to exit 230, the North cascades Highway, head east towards Sedro-Woolley, and on to Marblemount. here a road branches to the right and immediately crosses the Skagit River on a metal bridge. the road continues 24 miles to the parking area at the end.
Of course its a good idea to make the overnight trip when the weather is nice. the camp is totally exposed, no trees of any kind, just rocks and snow. if a storm hits, it is a very windy place!