North Cascades National Park Wildfire Closes Trails & Campsites: Report

by Jon D. B.
(Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Unpredicted northly winds have caused a wildfire now known as The Desolation Fire to threaten North Cascades National Park.

On Friday, October 7, Park officials closed Desolation Trail due to fire activity in the Desolation area of east Ross Lake. The park is also closing the portion of East Bank Trail from Lighting Creek Camp to Desolation Trail. All closures are due to The Desolation Fire, a wildfire that is currently “moderately active” as a result of northly winds.

“Unseasonably high temperatures” alongside “no precipitation” are fueling the fire, North Cascades National Park cites in their media release. As wildfires continue in Washington State, the park is also closing the following campgrounds:

  • Desolation Campground
  • Lightning Creek Hiker
  • Cat Island camps

Lightning Creek Stock Camp remains open at this time, however. But trail and camp closures remain in effect in all other areas within the park complex as wildfire season rages on. As a result, be sure to contact the park’s Wilderness Information Center for trail and permit information ahead of any visit this time of year by emailing them. 

In addition, visitors should expect a haze in the general area due to active fires across the region. Hazy, low-air-quality will be present until a “season ending event,” the park continues.

Please take caution when recreating outdoors when smoke is present. For more on this, see the Real-Time Air Quality Map | PurpleAir. also houses important information.

North Cascades National Park Wildfire Closures Continue

The Desolation Fire closures are the latest in a string of wildfire season closures. On October 3, the portion of Thunder Creek Trail between Neve and Junction camps closed due to fire activity. This closure includes Neve, McAllister, Tricouni and Junction camps, and is still in effect.

Multiple active fires in the Chilliwack area also led park officials to close additional trails and camps. The Hannegan Pass trail and trailhead, Brush Creek, Chilliwack, and Copper Loop trails are closed until further notice. Camp closures include all camps between Stillwell and Boundary camps.

This would also shut down any “Cross-country zone access from closed trails,” limiting America-Canada crossings within partnered national parks. Maps of trail and camp closures for the Chilliwack Complex and NW Pasayten Fires are available here.

North Cascades National Park areas closing today have already closed this fire season, too. Previous fires active in the area had park officials closing trails and camps in the Lightning Creek area of Ross Lake in September. Lightning Creek Trail between Lightning Creek and Nightmare would also close. Camp closures included Deer Lick and Nightmare camps.

Currently, however, closures of Desolation Trail and the portion of East Bank Trail from Lighting Creek Camp to Desolation Trail are what visitors need to heed. This is, again, due to fire activity in the Desolation area of east Ross Lake, now known as The Desolation Fire. Camp closures include Desolation, Lightning Creek Hiker, and Cat Island camps.

Stay safe out there, Outsiders.