Desolation Peak Trail
ElevationAscent: 4,528' 1,380 m
Descent: -105' -32 m
High: 6,084' 1,854 m
Low: 1,660' 506 m
GradeAvg Grade: 19% (11°)
Max Grade: 50% (27°)
Current trail conditions
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“A steep & strenuous trail with rewarding views of Ross Lake & alpine flowers, ending at a lookout.”— Ed Heyman
The hike is strenuous. It climbs 1,000 feet per mile through a shaded forest and then breaks out near an open ridge among a fantastic display of wildflowers (mid-late July). On the ridge top (before mile 4 where the trail turns north), you'll find a camp with no water available. However, about half way up, you'll find a spring, but it may not be a reliable source as the summer progresses on.
Upon reaching the summit, you'll be rewarded with views of Little Jackass Mountain, Hozomeen Mountain, Skagit Peak, Nohokomeen Glacier, and the lovely fjord-like Ross Lake. The lookout is a popular destination made famous by Jack Kerouac who spent 63 days here during the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout and wrote about his experiences here.
Land Manager: NPS - North Cascades National Park