Mount Dickerman demands the admiration of all who come to the North Cascades to conquer this summit. With panoramic views from the summit peaks and breathtaking views, this hike is a challenge of the mind, body and soul. All those stepping foot on the epic sentinel feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, pride and joy.
Come with me on a journey to Mount Dickerman! You don’t even need your hiking boots. In this blog we will cover how to access the trail, what to expect when hiking Mount Dickerman, necessary trail gear, and of course if Mount Dickerman should be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington.
Hike Completed: June 28th, 2023
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Map of Mount Dickerman Trailhead
Mt Dickerman is located on the ancestral lands of the Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Skagit, Tulalip, Stillaguamish, and Sauk Suiattle tribes. We are grateful for the stewards of this land past and present. We are honored to be and recognize that we are guests on this land.
General Trail Information
Region: North Cascades
Distance: 8.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,850 ft
Time: 6.5+ Hours
When to Go: July – Oct
Pass/Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs Allowed?: Yes- On Leash
How to Access Mount Dickerman
Unlike some of the other “100 Classic Hikes of Washington”, getting to the Mount Dickerman trailhead is relatively simple, but there are a couple of things to know prior to getting to the trailhead. This section covers all of that!
Getting to the Trailhead
The trailhead for Mount Dickerman is located off of the Mountain Loop Highway area, nearest to the town of Granite Falls. From the start of the Mountain Loop Highway to the trailhead, you will continue along the road for 48 miles. Don’t worry, the drive is BEAUTIFUL.
The trailhead parking area has a large lot to accommodate this popular hike. During peak hiking season and on weekends, it is recommended that you get to the parking lot early for a space. I also recommend carpooling.
The trailhead has two pit toilets, one of which was closed in June 2023. There are no pit toilets along the route to Mount Dickerman so get in line while you can! There are a number of picnic benches and trash receptacles.
There are two permits that are required to hike Mount Dickerman.
1. Northwest Forest Pass/America the Beautiful: This is the pass that you will need to keep in your car while you’re on the hike.
- The Northwest Forest Pass provides access to all National Forests operated in Washington AND Oregon. The pass is good for a year and costs $30 annually. Purchase Here.
- The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to ALL National Parks and Forests in the United States for a year. The pass costs $80. Purchase Here.
2. Registration: When you hike Mount Dickerman, you will need to sign-in at the trailhead and this will act as your registration for the trail with the forest service. This is used to track the traffic of the trail as well as aid in keeping track of people in case of an emergency.
Hiking Mount Dickerman
The trail can be broken into three sections: Forest Switchbacks, Alpine Stretch and Peak Slog.
After signing into the trail registry, the hike begins in dense forest covered in robust and vibrant ferns. There are large boulders covered in moss and massive trees stretched to the sky. Luckily enough, the switchbacks are long enough to minimize dizziness as the first two miles of the trail are non-stop switchbacks.
There were a number of fallen trees along the trail that were easy enough to climb over. With the steepness of the terrain and the tightness of the switchbacks, there were times when you’d find yourself climbing over the same tree multiple times as you made your way up the mountain.
After just under 3 miles of densely forested switchbacks, which I could compare to hiking Mount Si, the trail levels out into an alpine terrain with shorter and fewer trees. This is where the impacts of direct sun are felt. Crossing past a sturdy stream which apparently overflows due to the short muddy section parallel to it, this is the last water source that hikers will have access to going up to Mount Dickerman.
The alpine stretch also had a number of campsites near the stream with captivating views of Big Four and Vesper. It would be a truly memorable backpacking trip to bring your gear to Mount Dickerman.
As the trail nears a ridge, the first views of Mount Dickerman are in sight. If you’re me, you’ll find yourself questioning how it is you’re going to make it to the summit at this point. But the shade of the ridge line offers some relief which will allow you to compose yourself.
The meadow opens up and once again you’ll find yourself on a collection of switchbacks. During this ⅓ of a mile stretch of switchbacks, fully exposed to the heat of the sun, you’ll be in awe of the views surrounding you.
With a final push to the top, the exposed rock of the peak is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen until you look up and find yourself surrounded by all of the major peaks of the Northern Mountain Loop. The stunning peaks with glistening snow and a cascading waterfall make the hike worth it. There is a second vantage point for viewing and I highly recommend you take it all in before heading back down.
What to Pack
Mount Dickerman is a strenuous hike! It is extremely important to carry the 10 Essentials of Hiking with you.
When preparing for a hike up Mount Dickerman, it’s essential to pack the right gear and supplies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here’s a list of items you should consider bringing:
- Hiking Boots: Invest in sturdy and comfortable hiking boots that provide ankle support and have good traction to navigate the rocky and uneven terrain. This hike will have your feet THROBBING if they are not properly taken care of.
- Backpack: Carry a well-fitting backpack to hold your gear. Look for one with adjustable straps and multiple compartments for better organization. Please. Please. Please do not attempt this hike without a backpack or hip belt or something substantial to carry your gear.
- Clothing: Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Include moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabrics. Pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket and pants, as well as a hat and gloves for protection against wind or rain. I wore leggings and a sun shirt for this hike to protect myself from the extreme heat of the sun and I still felt crispy.
- Food and Water: Carry plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. It’s recommended to bring at least 2-3 liters of water per person. Pack energy-rich snacks and a packed lunch to fuel your body during the hike.
- Navigation Tools: Bring a map of the area, a compass, or a GPS device to ensure you stay on the right trail. Familiarize yourself with the route before starting the hike.
- First Aid Kit: Pack a basic first aid kit that includes bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need.
- Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF. Don’t forget to bring sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and eyes.
- Trekking Poles: Consider using trekking poles for added stability and to reduce strain on your knees during steep descents.
- Emergency Essentials: Carry a flashlight or headlamp, extra batteries, a whistle, and a multi-tool or pocket knife. These items can be invaluable in case of an emergency.
- Communication: Bring a fully charged mobile phone or a two-way radio for emergency communication. However, note that there might be limited or no cell service in some areas.
- Other Essentials: Pack insect repellent, a small roll of duct tape (handy for repairs), extra socks, and a lightweight tarp or emergency blanket.
Remember that these are general recommendations, and you should adjust your packing list based on your personal needs, hiking experience, and the specific conditions of the trail. Prioritize safety, be prepared, and always leave the trail as you found it by adhering to Leave No Trace principles.
Should Mount Dickerman be a 100 Classic Hike of WA?
Mount Dickerman should absolutely be a “100 Classic Hike of Washington”. This trail had some of the most spectacular views in the state and it felt magical to be up on the summit. The feeling of extreme accomplishment is unmatched.
I hope you find yourself on this hike someday and love it just as much as I did.
Happy Hiking and Be Safe!