A hike that’s gentle enough for children…with hillsides of wildflowers… and it’s the easiest route to alpine terrain in North Cascades National Park? Of course it’ll be crowded! But part of the fun is being able to point and laugh at a marmot with a tourist from Tokyo, or chat with climbers before they crampon up Sahale Glacier. If you still want to lose the crowds, at the pass, take the Sahale Arm trail, named for its dizzying ascent through subalpine terrain into the never-ending “above.” In two miles and 2,000 feet, you’ll reach the base of the glacier (7,200 feet), where panorama paralysis has been known to kick in: You’re struck mute, camera in hand, gaping at the Eldorado and Hidden Lake peaks, lush Stehekin Valley, and on a clear day, the snow-capped tip of Mount Rainier. INSIDER TIPWait for the snow to melt; hiking is best after June. —Hayley Poole

Distance from Downtown 120 miles.
Permits and Passes Northwest Forest Pass.
Map Green Trails no. 80 Cascade Pass

7.4–11 miles