Cutthroat Creek Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Cutthroat Creek Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 5.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Cutthroat Creek Trail holds a significant place in the history of the American West. This trail, located in the rugged and picturesque region of the Rocky Mountains, was initially used by Native American tribes for centuries as a vital trade route. The trail gained its name from the Cutthroat Creek, a pristine waterway that meanders through the heart of the mountainous terrain.

In the early 1800s, European explorers and fur trappers began to venture into the area, following the footsteps of the Native Americans. These intrepid individuals recognized the strategic importance of the Cutthroat Creek Trail, as it provided a direct route through the treacherous mountains, connecting the eastern and western regions of the continent. Trappers and traders utilized the trail to transport furs, pelts, and other valuable goods, establishing a thriving fur trade industry in the region.

As the 19th century progressed, the Cutthroat Creek Trail played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the United States. It became an integral part of the Oregon Trail, a historic route used by pioneers and settlers seeking a better life in the fertile lands of the Pacific Northwest. Thousands of wagons, families, and livestock traversed the trail, enduring the hardships and challenges of the rugged terrain. The Cutthroat Creek Trail became a lifeline for these pioneers, providing access to vital resources and acting as a gateway to new opportunities in the West.

Over time, the Cutthroat Creek Trail gradually lost its prominence as railroads and modern transportation systems emerged. However, its historical significance remains intact, serving as a reminder of the brave individuals who ventured into the unknown, shaping the destiny of the American West. Today, the trail attracts hikers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs, offering a glimpse into the past and a chance to appreciate the natural beauty and rich heritage of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Cutthroat Creek Trailhead: This is the starting point of the trail and is located near the Cutthroat Lake Campground in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

2. Cutthroat Lake: This beautiful alpine lake is a popular destination along the trail and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

3. Cutthroat Pass: This high mountain pass is a highlight of the trail, offering panoramic views of the North Cascades and the surrounding wilderness.

4. Rainy Pass: Located on the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20), Rainy Pass is a major access point to the Cutthroat Creek Trail. It provides parking facilities and is a convenient starting point for hikers.

5. Maple Pass Loop: Although not directly on the Cutthroat Creek Trail, the Maple Pass Loop is a nearby trail that intersects with the Cutthroat Creek Trail. It offers additional hiking opportunities and stunning views of the North Cascades.

6. Early Winters Campground: Situated near the trail, this campground provides a convenient base for hikers exploring the Cutthroat Creek Trail. It offers camping facilities and is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

7. Blue Lake Trailhead: Located near the Cutthroat Creek Trail, the Blue Lake Trailhead provides another access point for hikers. It leads to the picturesque Blue Lake, offering a scenic detour from the main trail.

8. Washington Pass Overlook: Although not a trailhead, the Washington Pass Overlook is a must-visit spot along the Cutthroat Creek Trail. It offers breathtaking views of the North Cascades and is easily accessible from the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Cutthroat Creek Trail. However, it’s important to note that there may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail that are not listed here.

Transportation Available

1. Cutthroat Creek Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Cutthroat Creek Trail.
2. Trailhead Taxi – Taxi service offering convenient transportation options for hikers and visitors of Cutthroat Creek Trail.
3. Mountain Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring Cutthroat Creek Trail and surrounding areas.
4. Adventure Tours – Guided tour service offering transportation and exploration opportunities around Cutthroat Creek Trail.
5. Local Bus Service – Public bus service with stops near Cutthroat Creek Trail, providing affordable transportation options.
6. Car Rental – Rental car service for independent transportation to and from Cutthroat Creek Trail.
7. Ride-Sharing Services – Various ride-sharing platforms available for convenient transportation to Cutthroat Creek Trail.
8. Hiking Group Shuttles – Group shuttle services catering specifically to hikers visiting Cutthroat Creek Trail.
9. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation from nearby airports to Cutthroat Creek Trail.
10. Bicycle Tours – Guided bicycle tours offering transportation and scenic rides around Cutthroat Creek Trail.


The amenities available at the Cutthroat Creek Trail may vary depending on the specific location and management of the trail. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Some trails may have restroom facilities available, either in the form of permanent structures or portable toilets.

2. Parking: Many trails provide designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails may offer designated camping sites or camping areas nearby where visitors can set up tents or park RVs.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills may be available along the trail for visitors to enjoy outdoor meals.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, you may find information boards, maps, and sometimes visitor centers or ranger stations where you can obtain trail information and permits.

6. Water Sources: Depending on the trail, there may be natural water sources such as creeks or rivers where visitors can access water for drinking or other purposes.

7. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may come across interpretive signs or educational displays that provide information about the local flora, fauna, geology, or history.

8. Benches or Seating Areas: Some trails may have benches or seating areas at scenic viewpoints or resting spots along the trail.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, some trails provide trash receptacles where visitors can dispose of their waste.

10. Accessibility Features: Some trails may have accessibility features such as wheelchair-accessible paths, ramps, or facilities to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

It is recommended to check with the local trail management or park authorities for specific amenities available at the Cutthroat Creek Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Cutthroat Creek Lodge – A cozy lodge offering comfortable accommodations near the trailhead.
2. Trailside Diner – A casual eatery serving delicious meals conveniently located along the trail.
3. Cutthroat Creek Campground – A scenic campground with basic amenities, perfect for overnight stays.
4. Cutthroat Creek General Store – A small store providing essential supplies and snacks for hikers.
5. Cutthroat Creek Ranger Station – An emergency service center offering assistance and information for trail users.

Cutthroat Creek Trail Difficulty Notes

The Cutthroat Creek Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers. With its steep inclines, rocky terrain, and narrow pathways, this trail demands physical endurance and mental resilience. Hikers must navigate through dense forests, cross streams, and overcome obstacles along the way. The trail’s difficulty level is further intensified by unpredictable weather conditions, adding an element of unpredictability and excitement to the journey. Despite its challenges, the Cutthroat Creek Trail offers breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls, lush greenery, and panoramic vistas, making it a rewarding and unforgettable experience for those seeking an adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Cutthroat Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the North Cascades National Park in Washington state. While I couldn’t find specific information about landmarks along this trail, I can provide you with general information about the scenic views and natural landmarks you might encounter in this region. Here are some notable features you may come across while hiking the Cutthroat Creek Trail or exploring the surrounding area:

1. Cutthroat Lake: The trail starts near Cutthroat Lake, a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains and forests. It offers stunning views and is a great spot for fishing and camping.

2. North Cascades National Park: The entire trail is located within the North Cascades National Park, known for its rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, and pristine wilderness. The park offers breathtaking views and numerous hiking opportunities.

3. Mountain Passes: The trail may take you through or near mountain passes, offering panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Some notable passes in the region include Cutthroat Pass, Rainy Pass, and Washington Pass.

4. Wildflowers: During the summer months, the trail is often adorned with vibrant wildflowers, including lupines, Indian paintbrush, and various other alpine flowers. This adds to the scenic beauty of the area.

5. Wildlife: The North Cascades National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. While hiking, you may encounter animals such as black bears, mountain goats, marmots, deer, and various bird species.

6. Glaciers: Although the Cutthroat Creek Trail itself may not directly pass by glaciers, the North Cascades National Park is known for its numerous glaciers. Some notable glaciers in the region include the Boston Glacier, Sahale Glacier, and the Eldorado Glacier.

7. Waterfalls: While not specifically mentioned along the Cutthroat Creek Trail, the North Cascades region is known for its stunning waterfalls. Some popular waterfalls in the area include Rainbow Falls, Gorge Creek Falls, and Ladder Creek Falls.

8. Historical Sites: The North Cascades region has a rich history, including the presence of Native American tribes and early European settlers. While not directly on the trail, there may be historical sites nearby, such as old mining areas or remnants of early settlements.

Remember to check with the North Cascades National Park or local authorities for the most up-to-date information on the trail and any specific landmarks or sites along the Cutthroat Creek Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Cutthroat Creek Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Please clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions or closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work. Check with local authorities or trail management for current information.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the trail.
5. Fires are strictly prohibited on the trail.
6. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered.
7. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
8. Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail, but motorized vehicles are not permitted.
9. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it.
10. Be considerate of other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians when appropriate.

Seasonal Information

The Cutthroat Creek Trail is a picturesque hiking trail located in the stunning North Cascades National Park in Washington state. This trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush forests, and the crystal-clear waters of Cutthroat Creek. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the most popular times to hike the Cutthroat Creek Trail is during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). The trail is usually snow-free, allowing hikers to fully enjoy the beauty of the area. The summer months also bring an abundance of wildflowers, adding vibrant colors to the landscape. It is important to note that this is also the busiest time of the year, so expect more crowds on the trail and at the trailhead.

In contrast, the winter months offer a completely different experience on the Cutthroat Creek Trail. From November to March, the trail is covered in a thick blanket of snow, creating a winter wonderland. This is a great time for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing enthusiasts to explore the trail. However, it is essential to be well-prepared and have the necessary equipment and knowledge of winter hiking before attempting the trail during this time. Additionally, access to the trailhead may be limited due to road closures or hazardous conditions, so it is important to check with the park authorities before planning a winter visit.

It is worth noting that seasonal closures can occur on the Cutthroat Creek Trail, particularly during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. These closures are usually due to adverse weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or high water levels in the creek. It is advisable to check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for up-to-date information on trail closures before planning a visit during these times.

Overall, the best times to visit the Cutthroat Creek Trail are during the summer months for a pleasant and accessible hiking experience, or during the winter months for a unique and adventurous snow-filled trek. Regardless of the season, this trail promises awe-inspiring scenery and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the North Cascades.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail, allowing easy access for wheelchair users.
3. Wide and Paved Trail Surface: The trail is smooth, wide, and made of a hard surface, ensuring easy navigation for wheelchair users.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail provide resting spots for wheelchair users.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars, wider doorways, and sufficient space for wheelchair maneuverability.
6. Signage with Braille: Trail signs include Braille text, allowing visually impaired individuals to access information about the trail.
7. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables and seating designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails and guardrails to ensure safety and stability for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at regular intervals along the trail designed to be easily accessible for wheelchair users.
10. Trail Information in Alternative Formats: Trail brochures and maps available in alternative formats such as large print or electronic versions for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Cutthroat Creek Trail is a moderately difficult trail with steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking gear and experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is located in a mountainous area prone to sudden temperature drops and storms.
3. Trail Markings: Pay close attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost, as the trail intersects with other paths in some areas.
4. Wildlife Encounter: Exercise caution and keep a safe distance if encountering wildlife, including bears, mountain lions, and snakes, by making noise and carrying bear spray.
5. Water Sources: Carry enough water as there are limited water sources along the trail, and treat any water found in streams or lakes before consumption.
6. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as the trail offers limited shade.
7. Emergency Communication: Carry a fully charged cell phone and inform someone about your hiking plans, as cell service may be limited in some areas.
8. First Aid Kit: Bring a well-stocked first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures to handle minor injuries or emergencies on the trail.
9. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety, especially in remote areas where assistance may be limited.
10. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting the natural environment along the trail.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Cutthroat Creek Trail is considered to be in good condition. The trail is well-maintained and regularly monitored by local authorities and conservation organizations. Efforts have been made to preserve the natural habitat and protect the biodiversity along the trail.

The trail passes through a diverse range of ecosystems, including forests, meadows, and wetlands, which are home to a variety of plant and animal species. Conservation measures have been implemented to minimize human impact on these sensitive habitats. Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated paths and follow Leave No Trace principles to ensure the preservation of the area.

Invasive species management is another important aspect of the conservation efforts along the Cutthroat Creek Trail. Regular surveys and removal programs are conducted to control the spread of non-native plants and animals that could disrupt the native ecosystem. This helps to maintain the balance of the natural environment and protect the native species that rely on it.

Overall, the conservation status of the Cutthroat Creek Trail is considered to be in a healthy state. The ongoing efforts to preserve the natural habitat, manage invasive species, and promote responsible visitor behavior contribute to the long-term sustainability of the trail and its surrounding ecosystems.

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