WA – Jack Mountain Circumnavigation (Part 4)

Links to Part 1Part 2, Part 3

It’s a day to say goodbye to Jack and hello to Ross. 

It was also time to say goodbye to Pasayten Wilderness and hello to North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area. 

The trail paralleling Ross Lake is East Bank Trail, another stretch of Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). Signage could have been better.

It’s important to be mindful of the rules within North Cascades NP and Ross Lake NRA. The campsites on the lake require Ross Lake NRA permits and are exclusive to boaters except for Devils Camp which is primarily for those using the ferry. There is no dispersed camping along East Bank Trail. The established sites require a North Cascades NP permit. 

It was quite warm and dusty descending from Dry Creek Pass on the Devils Ridge Trail to Ross Lake. By the time I got to this point, I was ready to jump in. Too bad there wasn’t easy access. This gorge was especially inviting. I was jealous of the kayakers I’d watched paddle under the bridge. 

A stunning rock wall along the East Bank Trail. 

Oh Ross Lake, how you taunt me. 

It was great to find this seeping wall since I hadn’t been able to access the lake. 

At Rainbow Point I was finally able to take a swim. 

Another surprise to me was that the East Bank Trail provided few glimpses of the lake and only two access points, Rainbow Point and Devils Creek. 

My campsite at Roland Creek was one of my all-time-favorite non-view sites. Bonus, I had the entire campground to myself.

Roland Creek was a great place to lollygag away my evening. LNT folks: no I didn’t make the cairns.

To complete the loop, I hiked past the East Bank Trailhead along Ruby Creek. According to my map, this is part of the East Bank Trail, but there was no signage and in fact a tree had recently crashed taking this sign with it. I resurrected the sign and notified the ranger station.

Soon this cabin will be absorbed by the woods. 

My version of Jack’s aka Devils Dome Loop. 

to be continued . . .

Trip Details

  • Dates Hiked: August 22-26, 2016
  • Mileage: Approximately 50 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: Approximately 16,000′
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Day 1 – B+, only a few down trees and eroded trail
    • Day 2 – C, scree field and steep eroded overgrown trail near North Fork Devils Creek
    • Day 3 – A-, better signage needed for Deception Pass, Devils Pass shelter and Devils Pass spring
    • Day 4 – C, steep and dusty descending from Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 5 – B, not too many down trees nor overgrowth but could use some love
  • Solitude Factor:
    • Day 1 – two groups of 2 people each hiking out (one of the groups was day hikers)
    • Day 2 – two tents at the Crater Mountain junction, one solo hiker hiking loop in opposite direction
    • Day 3 – two at Devils Dome, two at Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 4 – too many to count, probably at least 20 going the opposite direction up to Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 5 – didn’t see anyone
  • Bugs:
    • Day 1 – no skeeters or biting flies
    • Day 2 – bees taking care of the flowers in the subalpine areas
    • Day 3 – zip except bees minding their own business
    • Day 4 – another bug-free day
    • Day 5 – zip
  • Precipitation:
    • Day 1 – a few light showers
    • Day 2 – zip, just some nice clouds
    • Day 3 – zip
    • Day 4 – another shower-free day
    • Day 5 – zip
  • Temperature:
    • Day 1 – 36 overnight low
    • Day 2 – 40 overnight low
    • Day 3 – 40 overnight low
    • Day 4 – 59 overnight low

Loop Direction:

The positives of hiking counterclockwise are the initial climb is much more friendly with better switchbacks, trail is shaded, water is plentiful, and camping is available sooner. The positives of hiking clockwise is using the ferry to cut-off 15 miles of trail, or getting the permitted section out of the way first giving you freedom of campsites the remainder of the trip.


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