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Pierce Mountain Trail

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.7278, -121.0626 Map & Directions
9.9 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
4,500 feet
Highest Point
5,965 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
View from just below Sourdough Mountain Lookout. Photo by meganpotpie. Full-size image
  • Mountain views
  • Established campsites
  • Ridges/passes
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Summits
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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Pierce Mountain Trail is a gentle trail up Sourdough Mountain from the Big Beaver trail. Continue reading

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Hiking Pierce Mountain Trail

This trail offers an alternative way to get to Sourdough Mountain. Most hikers get there by starting in the town of Diablo and working east to the ridge. This trail approaches from the other direction, opening up views of Ross Lake and North Cascades Peaks along the way.

Starting from the Ross Dam Trailhead, cross over the dam, then follow the Big Beaver Trail as it trends north along the shore of Ross Lake.

After about 4 miles from the start, arrive at the Pierce Mountain Trail. Head left and begin climbing gradually at first, then steeper, before levelling off slightly as you traverse beneath the true summit of Pierce Mountain. Pierce Mountain Camp lies toward the end of this section. This camp is set next to a collection of tarns, the only reliable water source along this section of the trail.

From here it’s one last short but steep section to Sourdough Ridge with its historic fire lookout building and views all around.

If the logistics work out and you can arrange a car shuttle, consider hiking out down the Sourdough Mountain Trail.

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Pierce Mountain Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.7278, -121.0626 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

A $26 backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex (incl. Ross Lake National Rec Area and Lake Chelan National Rec Area). Permits must be picked up in person at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. See the National Park Service website for more information.

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee


WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Marblemount drive east on Highway 20 for about 30 miles. Turn left into the Ross Dam Trailhead located on the side of the highway. 

More Hike Details


North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

North Cascades National Park

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Pierce Mountain Trail

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