Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 48.73930°N / 120.919°W
Additional Information Elevation: 8128 ft / 2477 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Crater Mountain is a prominent peak rising north of Hwy. 20 about 5 mi. east of Ross Lake. It has deep valley footings with over 6000' of relief from the highway. Crater is the site of two former fire lookouts. One on the main summit and another on a 7054' point east of the east summit.
Abandoned trails lead to both sites. The name "crater" probably comes
from the mountain's appearance. A massive glacial cirque, holding crater lake, is carved out of the south side of the mountain. The out-of-print classic, Routes and Rocks, names the main summit of Crater as one of the five best viewpoints in the North Cascades!

Getting There

Drive Hwy. 20 to the Canyon Creek trailhead.(m.p.141.2) Following trail signs, cross Canyon Creek and then Granite Creek on well made footbridges. Hike uphill (N) on trail#738 3.9 mi. to the junction with trail#738B. Follow this abandoned trail approx. 1 mi. to Crater Lk.(camping) From the lake, the trail climbs S.W. on to the S. ridge of the main summit, and follows this ridge N. to the summit. There is a 300'-400' vertical step in the ridge a short distance below the summit. A class 2-3 route(with exposure) is marked out using painted arrows on the rock.
After this steep pitch, the trail resumes up scree slopes to the summit.

Red Tape

A Trail Park Pass is required at all trailheads. The mountain is in the Pasayton Wilderness. The usual wilderness area camping restrictions apply. Call the Winthrop ranger station for details on trail conditions, closures, forest fire conditions, ect.

When To Climb

Late July to early October would be best. The area is inaccessible in winter due to closure of Hwy. 20. A spring ascent would likely encounter steep snow.


Good campsites exist on the rocky S. lip of the lake basin. The lake outlet is a good water source. One could also camp on a high plateau area on the S. ridge, although this would be very exposed to the weather and water is a ?.

Mountain Conditions

Winthrop Ranger Station: 509-996-4000

Miscellaneous Info

Maps: Green Trails Mt. Logan #49, USGS Crater Mountain

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Klenke - Sep 26, 2002 8:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Crater Mountain marks the one and only time I've followed arrows painted on the rock to climb to a summit. The "path" (more like ledges) is mostly on the labyrinthine West Face and takes all but about half-an-hour from where the trail unofficially ends below the summit tower. The arrows made it fun. Not for the faint of heart though.

Outdoorgrrl - Aug 1, 2005 2:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

As of Aug. 1, 2005, the Granite Creek footbridge (near the old guard station) is non-existent. It appears the USFS is rebuilding it. In the mean time, walk about 50-100 feet upriver and cross on a large, stable log.

Psantiago - Jul 22, 2019 10:07 am - Voted 7/10

Trail + scramble

- Bridge is still down. The river is fairly shallow about a quarter mile from the parking lot (mid-summer). Look for the second camping clearing, and bushwhack through the center isle. - After the turn-off for Crater lake, there are a few fallen trees. The trail may be overgrown or obscured by shrubbery—either way, not visible from the other side of the particularly large trees. Keep at it, or have your GPS/thinking cap handy. - Didn't follow the yellow makers. That looked way too steep for me, with bad holds and no rests. There is an alternate route marked by cairns to the climber’s left. It’s more moderate, although the exposure is arguably worse. Just follow the block to the left and up a weakness to the same platform where the yellow markings end. - trail may be abandoned and overgrown but still very clear as of July 2019. - camping at the lake is awful. There are better grounds a quarter mile before and half mile after.

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Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.