Hike the Hannegan Pass trail 4 miles to reach Hannegan Pass at 5,066 feet. Continue down on the other side into the Chilliwack River drainage. There are several camping opportunities here, either at Copper Creek Camp (4 miles from Hannegan Pass), or further at the U.S. Cabin Camps (6.5 miles from Hannegan Pass). Along the way, you will be forced to ford the Chilliwack River on a suspended cable-car hanging above the river.
At about 8 miles from Hannegan Pass, turn right (SE) onto the Little Beaver Trail up the aptly named Brush Creek. You will once again encounter numerous camps along the way, such as Grabeal Camp and Tapto Camp before arriving at Whatcom Pass, 19 miles from the trailhead.
Continue up an unmaintained trail 1 mile up to Tapto Lakes Basin. Be careful where you camp here. You may think you're out in the middle of nowhere, but the Park Service has hired some poor schnook from college to make sure you camp only on snow or dirt up here.
The Tapto Lakes Basin is absolutely sublime. From here, either follow the SE ridge up to the East (and highest) summit, or the SW ridge up to an equally stunning summit but slightly lower. The West Summit is easiest (Class 2), while the higher East Summit is much more challenging (route-finding, Class 3 and 4, some exposure).
Difficulty: Class 2-3, Distance 42 miles roundtrip, Elevation Gain: 7,000 with ups and downs (one way)
Red Tape & Camping
A Northwest Trail Parking Pass is also required to park at the Hannegan Pass trailhead ($5/day, $30/year). An Interagency Pass ($80/year), good at all national parks and US Forest Service trailheads, will also suffice for parking.
As previously noted, there are good camps (Copper Creek and U.S. Cabin) east of Hannegan Pass, and two other good camps (Graybeal and Tapto) on the Little Beaver Trail before Whatcom Pass. Camping is available at Tapto Lakes Basin, but be sure to camp on snow or dirt, or you will be getting a visit from the ranger.
External LInks.Mount Baker Ski Area
To contact North Cascades National Park about trail closures and camping, go to the
North Cascades National Park Webpage
The closest National Park ranger station is just east of the town of Glacier on Highway 542. Its number is: