Nooksack Cirque Trail #750


Follow this primitive trail to the North Fork of the Nooksack River to its headwaters in a steep walled cirque at the base of Mt. Shuksan. The first challenge is at the trailhead: Ruth Creek has no bridge. Wade the creek, or cross on a log if one is available. Keep in mind that due to quickly rising water, a log that is crossable in the morning may be under water in the afternoon. In early summer Ruth Creek waters may be too high to wade. Once across the creek, follow the old roadbed for two miles to what was the original trailhead. Another mile through second growth will take you to the Mt. Baker Wilderness boundary, then you will wind through old growth forest for about a half mile and emerge on the bank of the North Fork of the Nooksack River at the end of this well-defined trail.

After crossing a tributary stream, the route continues by way of either gravel bars during periods of low water or bushwhacking through riparian vegetation alongside the river. The North Cascades National Park boundary is about a mile away. Past the park boundary, you can continue through fierce brush as far toward the cirque as your cross-country travel skills allow. The best time to hike the Nooksack Cirque Trail is in the fall. During cool weather the water levels are low, allowing easier travel on gravel bars. This trail receives limited maintenance.

At a Glance

Permit Info: A backcountry permit is required for overnight camping in the national park. Permits are available at the Glacier Public Service Center.
Open Season: Summer - Fall
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Fall
  • Open to hikers only. 
  • Wilderness regulations apply within Mt. Baker Wilderness. 
  • North Cascades National Park regulations apply within the park: No pets. Overnight use requires a backcountry permit available at the Glacier Public Service Center. No campfires. No hunting. No mushroom collecting.  
Closest Towns: Glacier, Washington
Water: No potable water.
Restroom: None
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center: Check current conditions or call Mt. Baker Ranger District office or Glacier Public Service Center

General Information


From Glacier, travel east on Mt. Baker Highway SR 542 for 12.5 miles past the Glacier Public Service Center. Turn left on Hannegan Pass Road #32. Follow Road #32 just over one mile to the junction with Nooksack Cirque Road #34. Follow Road #34 for one mile to the parking area at the end of the road.

General Notes:

Black bears frequent the area. Food and scented items need to be stored in a secure manner.

• Green Trails: Mt. Shusksan #14
• USGS: Mount Larrabee, Mount Sefrit, Mount Shuksan
• USFS: Mt. Baker Ranger District and Mt. Baker Wilderness


Parking for 6 vehicles.

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  Area/Length : 
4.5 miles one-way to national park boundary

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
2,200 feet at trailhead.