Thornton Lakes

Newhalem Area

Miles: 10.5 Roundtrip

Elevation: 2,400 feet gained in / 500 feet gained out

For just over the first two miles of this hike, the trail follows an old road through a previously logged area that was last logged in the 1960's, leaving the way very brushy in parts if not cut back. Now this part of the trail is within the North Cascades National Park and will not be logged again.

Switchbacks take you to open meadows at about 4.5 miles. There is a climbers route to Trappers Peak that leaves from the meadows. The climbers route is not very difficult except for a few spots where hands are necessary. 

Continue to a ridge that overlooks the first of the lakes and follow the trail a half mile and 500 feet down to Lower Thornton Lake. There are some faint paths to the other lakes and more exploring up towards Mount Triumph. These trails are not easy to follow and can be difficult to pass in spots.

  • Get there: From I-5 take Highway 20 east past Marblemount about 11 miles. Turn left onto Thornton Lakes Road and follow it 5 miles to the trailhead at the road's end.

Return to Diablo Lake

area hikes: CLICK HERE

Photos by: Jason Kahler

Top left By: Rashel Fitchett