Easy Pass is an “off the highway, up the pass” sort of hike on the east side of North Cascades National Park. The trail really shouldn’t be named “Easy” Pass as steep graded incline awaits you for most of the trail. This was an overnight trip for me and since it was short at just 8~ miles, I elected to bring both the 16-35F4 and 70-200F4. Extra weight!
Like many cascade trails, it starts in a heavily wooded forest where you quickly begin your uphill climb. The switchbacks in woods are pretty mild and I found myself exploring the abundant plantlife around the trail. There’s plenty of water flowing through so the scenery stays vibrant. There’s a couple waterfalls too and you’ll hear them roaring loudly as you approach.
After exiting the forest, the ground was completely frozen. The trail looked like permafrost! Probably because this part of the trail is shadowed by mountains on either side. This part of the trail is considered the “hard” section of the hike. It’s straight up on pretty steep incline (30%+ at some parts) on mostly exposed and scree like areas. Good news is that there are views all around and plenty of opportunity to stop and catch a snap.
I tracked elevation gain to be around 3200′ over 4.5 miles for the duration of the hike. It might have been a little extra because I spent some time looking for a suitable campsite, but it’s slightly higher than what WTA or alltrails has listed.
Once I reached the pass, there were plenty of larches to be found. The sun was coming down already (around 5 PM) and the glow was beautiful on the larches. I found a nice grassy area for my tent and plopped down for the night. It was cold, so be prepared with a warm sleeping bag!
Overall, it was a nice hike. For photography I would find it a bit wanting. There aren’t many open areas and most of the vantage points aren’t in the right line of sight for good lighting. For photography, I would prefer Cutthroat Pass or Cascade Pass.
Photo Trip Rating: 6/10
Hike Worthy Rating: 8/10
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