National Park Guides

North Cascades National Park: Majestic Peaks and Emerald Lakes

POSTED ON June 6, 2023 BY Ralph S.


Welcome to the untamed paradise of North Cascades National Park, a gem in the heart of the Pacific Northwest’s North Cascades region. With its jagged peaks, alpine meadows, and vast wilderness, this park complex promises a breathtaking adventure like no other.

As you delve into this captivating blog post, prepare to be transported to a realm where nature reigns supreme. Let’s begin our journey by exploring the pristine waters of Ross Lake, a serene oasis that stretches across the park’s expanse. Marvel at its tranquil beauty while scanning the surrounding cliffs for the graceful presence of mountain goats effortlessly traversing the rocky terrain.

Our exploration continues to the Diablo Lake Vista Point, where vibrant turquoise waters shimmer under the sun’s gentle caress. Stand in awe of this picturesque vista, where the convergence of the Skagit River and nearby glaciers creates an otherworldly spectacle.

North Cascades National Park is not an isolated sanctuary; it is embraced by the embrace of adjacent national forests, creating a harmonious tapestry of natural wonders. Traverse the wild and scenic Skagit River as it winds through ancient forests and verdant valleys, enriching the region with its life-giving flow.

Beyond the awe-inspiring landscapes, North Cascades National Park boasts a rich cultural history. Discover the deep connection between the land and its indigenous peoples, whose ancestral presence can be felt in the remnants of ancient villages and traditional gathering sites. Immerse yourself in the stories and traditions that have shaped this land for generations.

From the rugged beauty of Gorge Lake to the pristine shores of Lake Chelan, prepare to be captivated by the park’s remarkable blend of untouched wilderness and profound cultural heritage —  The allure of North Cascades National Park beckons.

Ross Lake in North Cascades

History of North Cascades National Park

The history of North Cascades National Park is as diverse and fascinating as the landscapes it encompasses. Established on October 2, 1968, North Cascades National Park is part of the renowned National Park Complex, managed by the National Park Service. It is nestled within the majestic North Cascades mountain range in Washington State, where it shares borders with other protected areas such as the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and the Stephen Mather Wilderness.

The park’s centerpiece, Diablo Lake, with its stunning turquoise waters, is a result of the construction of hydroelectric dams in the 20th century. Today, it stands as a symbol of the delicate balance between conservation and development.

North Cascades National Park is home to a remarkable array of flora and fauna, including its iconic mountain goats, which gracefully navigate the steep slopes of the region’s steepest mountain ranges. The park also boasts old-growth forests that harbor incredible plant and animal species.

Visitors to North Cascades National Park can immerse themselves in its rich history and natural wonders through various visitor centers and interpretive programs. These centers serve as gateways to understanding the park’s unique ecosystem and cultural significance. From the North Cascades Visitor Center in Newhalem to the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount, these facilities provide valuable information for a fulfilling park experience.

North Cascades National Park is a well-preserved natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. It offers several recreational opportunities, including hiking trails that lead to breathtaking sights such as Gorge Lake and Blue Lake. The park’s rugged terrain also attracts mountaineers and climbers, who challenge themselves on the slopes of Washington Pass and other formidable peaks.

Beyond its wilderness splendors, North Cascades National Park is also intertwined with the local community. The park’s surroundings include small communities on the park’s border that have historically relied on the land and its resources. It is a place where humans and nature coexist, with a profound respect for the grizzly bears, elk, and other wildlife that call this region home.

North Cascades National Park is a testament to the tireless efforts of conservationists, forest service personnel, and the collective commitment to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the landscape. It is a treasured gem within Washington State, showcasing the splendor and diversity of the North Cascades region for generations to come.

Key Facts about North Cascades National Park

Size: Approximately 504,780 acres (204,586 hectares).

Number of visitors: Around 17,855 (2021).

Established on: October 2, 1968, by an act of Congress.

Length of Hiking Trails: Over 400 miles (644 kilometers).

Highest Point: The summit of Goode Mountain, at around 9,200 feet (2,804 meters) above sea level.

Lowest Point: The Skagit River, at approximately 400 feet (122 meters) above sea level.

Other interesting facts about North Cascades:

  • North Cascades National Park is part of the larger national park complex known as the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. It includes the national park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, which offers various recreational opportunities.
  • Cascade Pass, a renowned trail in the park, provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. It is a gateway to the park’s rugged backcountry and is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers.
  • The park boasts pristine old-growth forests, some estimated to be over 1,000 years old. These ancient forests support a rich biodiversity serving as critical habitat for numerous plant and animal species.
  • Lake Chelan, located on the eastern boundary of the park stretches for over 50 miles (80 kilometers) and is one of the deepest lakes in the United States. Its crystal-clear waters offer opportunities for boating, fishing, and lakeside relaxation.
  • Blue Lake, situated in the shadow of towering peaks, enchants visitors with its vibrant turquoise waters. This alpine lake is accessible via a moderate hike and rewards hikers with stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere.
  • Sourdough Mountain, an impressive peak within the park, stands at an elevation of 5,535 feet (1,687 meters). It attracts hikers and climbers seeking panoramic vistas and challenging adventures.
  • North Cascades National Park is known as the “American Alps” due to its jagged peaks, rugged landscapes, and glacial-carved valleys reminiscent of the European mountain range.
  • The park is home to over 300 glaciers, making it one of the most glacier-rich areas in the United States outside of Alaska. These frozen giants shape the landscape and provide a critical source of freshwater.
  • North Cascades National Park is part of the larger North Cascades ecosystem, which spans multiple protected areas and national forests. This interconnected landscape supports diverse wildlife, including black bears, elk, mountain goats, and more.
  • North Cascades National Park preserves the natural beauty and wildness of this remote corner of the Pacific Northwest, offering visitors a chance to experience an untouched wilderness far removed from urban areas.
  • The park’s stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and rich cultural history make it a haven for researchers and scientists studying glaciology, ecology, geology, and archaeology. It serves as an outdoor laboratory for understanding the intricate workings of our planet.

Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Climate and Weather

North Cascades National Park, with its diverse terrain and elevation range, experiences distinct climates and weather patterns throughout the year. Each season brings its own charm and outdoor opportunities. Let’s explore what you can expect each season in this remarkable park.

Spring (March to May):

As winter retreats, North Cascades National Park begins to awaken with the arrival of spring.

During this season, temperatures gradually begin to rise, with daytime temperatures ranging from the 40s°F (4-9°C) to the 60s°F (15-20°C) in May. So, it’s essential to be prepared for rain showers & snow melt during this season, as the park receives significant precipitation.

In addition, trails gradually become accessible, offering hikers the chance to explore the blooming old-growth forests and witness nature’s vibrant renewal. Remember to visit Diablo Lake, where the surrounding mountains are still capped with snow, creating a stunning contrast against the vivid blue waters.

Summer (June to August):

Summer months in North Cascades National Park bring warmer temperatures and longer days, making it an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Daytime temperatures range from the 70s°F (20-26°C) to the 80s°F (27-32°C).

The trails that wind through the park beckon hikers to explore its breathtaking landscapes. Popular treks leading to Desolation Peak or along Ross Lake provide panoramic views and opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of the alpine meadows. But check the National Park Service website for the trail’s current conditions and any potential wildfire alerts during this dry season. Also, remember to bring your camera to capture the jaw-dropping vistas of Diablo Lake, which often takes on an enchanting turquoise hue.

Fall (September to November):

September still offers pleasant temperatures, with daytime highs in the 60s°F (15-20°C), but temperatures gradually cool down as the season progresses. By November, daytime temperatures range from the 30s°F (0-5°C) to the 50s°F (10-15°C).

As autumn arrives, North Cascades National Park is painted in a tapestry of vibrant colors. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make fall a delightful time to visit. The old-growth forests within the park showcase a stunning array of golden hues and fiery reds.

Hiking trails are less crowded, providing a serene experience as you explore the changing landscapes. Consider embarking on a journey to Diablo Lake to witness the reflection of the colorful foliage mirrored in its tranquil waters.

Winter (December to February):

Winter transforms North Cascades National Park into a snow-covered wonderland. Daytime temperatures range from the 20s°F (-6 to -3°C) to the 40s°F (4-9°C)

The park receives heavy snowfall, especially at higher elevations, which may limit access to some specific trails. Fortunately, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to explore the park’s winter wonderland.

The glistening snow-draped peaks and frozen landscapes create a serene atmosphere. Don’t miss to glimpse at the beauty of the frozen Diablo Lake, where the surrounding mountains provide a majestic backdrop.

No matter the season you choose to visit North Cascades, be sure to plan ahead, check weather forecasts, and consult the National Park Service website for up-to-date information. Prepare accordingly, pack essential gear, and embrace the unique experiences that each season brings in this awe-inspiring natural haven.

Here are links to the accurate weather forecast conditions in the park.

  1. Current Western Slopes forecast
  2. Current Eastern Slopes forecast

Diablo Lake Vista Point

Best Time to Visit

Ultimately, the best time to visit North Cascades National Park depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. Whether hiking the Cascade Pass Trail in summer, enjoying the vibrant fall foliage, or embracing the winter tranquility, the park promises an unforgettable adventure amidst its captivating landscapes and ancient old-growth forests.

North Cascades National Park is a year-round destination, each season offering distinct charm and outdoor opportunities. To help you plan your visit, let’s explore the best times to experience some of the park’s highlights and popular trails.


Spring is an ideal time to witness the park’s awakening from winter slumber.

As the snow melts, the Cascade Pass Trail gradually becomes accessible, offering hikers a chance to embark on a memorable adventure. The trail rewards visitors with breathtaking views of rugged peaks and verdant valleys.

The Ross Lake Overlook is a must-visit spot during spring, providing panoramic vistas of the pristine Ross Lake and surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the serene Cedars Nature Walk, immersing yourself in the park’s ancient old-growth forests.


Summer months are the peak season for North Cascades National Park.

The Cascade Pass Trail is at its prime, with wildflowers adorning the alpine meadows and wildlife sightings, including the majestic mountain goat.

For awe-inspiring views, head to the Diablo Lake Overlook, where the turquoise waters contrast with the evergreen forests. Lake Chelan, located near the park’s border, also offers a refreshing escape for water-based activities and relaxation. Explore the Stehekin Valley, accessible by ferry, for a tranquil experience surrounded by nature’s splendor.


Fall brings a breathtaking display of colors to North Cascades National Park.

The Cascade Pass Trail dazzles with vibrant foliage, creating a picturesque hiking experience. The Ross Lake Overlook takes on a new dimension as the surrounding landscape transforms into a tapestry of golden hues.

Fall is also an ideal time to visit the park’s visitor centers for educational exhibits and information about the park’s cultural and natural history.


Winter is a magical time to visit North Cascades National Park. While a few specific trails might be inaccessible due to snow, the park’s west side offers cross-country skiing opportunities and snowshoeing adventures.

The Ross Lake area with its snow-covered landscapes, becomes a serene wonderland. Be sure to check with visitor centers for current winter conditions and to explore the park safely.

Here is our guide to winter hiking and how to stay safe.

Recommended Gear

When planning your visit to North Cascades National Park, having the right gear is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Whether you’re exploring the park’s stunning trails, visiting the North Cascades Visitor Center, or navigating the wilderness, here are some recommended items to consider for each season:

River in North Cascades National Park


  • Waterproof hiking boots: With melting snow and occasional rain, sturdy waterproof footwear will keep your feet dry and comfortable on muddy trails.
  • Layered clothing: The weather in spring can be unpredictable, so dressing in layers allows you to adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day.
  • Rain gear: Carry a waterproof jacket and pants to protect yourself from spring showers.
  • Maps and compass: While digital maps like Google Maps are handy, having a physical map and compass ensures you won’t lose your way in case of a technology glitch.
  • National Park Service guidebooks: These informative resources available at the North Cascades Visitor Center will enhance your understanding of the park’s history, trails, and wildlife.


  • Sun protection: Remember to carry essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield yourself from the sun’s rays during long summer days.
  • Lightweight, breathable clothing: Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you cool and comfortable during warmer temperatures.
  • Insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other insects can be prevalent, especially near lakes and meadows, so carry insect repellent to ward them off.
  • Water and hydration system: Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle and consider a hydration bladder for longer hikes.
  • Trail maps and guidebooks: Utilize digital maps and paper maps for reference, ensuring you can navigate trails


  • Warm layers: As temperatures drop, pack warm clothing such as insulated jackets, hats, and gloves for chilly mornings and evenings.
  • Sturdy backpack: A reliable backpack is essential for carrying extra layers, snacks, and water during fall hikes.
  • Headlamp or flashlight: With shorter daylight hours, a portable light source will prove valuable, especially if you plan to venture out early or stay out late.
  • Portable charger: Keep your electronic devices charged to access digital maps or use Google Maps for navigation.


  • Insulated clothing: Dress in layers, including a warm base layer, insulating mid-layer, and a waterproof outer shell to protect against cold temperatures and snow.
  • Winter boots: Invest in insulated, waterproof boots with good traction and the correct hiking socks to navigate snowy trails safely.
  • Trekking poles: Trekking poles provide stability and support while walking on icy or slippery terrain.
  • Avalanche safety gear: If venturing into backcountry areas, be prepared with avalanche safety equipment such as a beacon, shovel, and probe.
  • Winter traction devices: Carry traction devices like crampons or ice cleats for added grip on icy surfaces.

Remember to check with the National Park Service for additional gear recommendations or restrictions based on your planned activities. Also, utilize resources like the North Cascades Visitor Center and online maps, including Google Maps, to enhance your navigation and understanding of the park’s incredible landscapes.

What to Do in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park offers an array of captivating experiences and breathtaking vistas that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. From scenic overlooks to challenging hikes, there is something for every adventurer.

Here are some of the must-do activities and iconic sights that should be on your itinerary:

Mount Shuksan in North Cascades National Park

Hiking and Backpacking

Hiking and backpacking in North Cascades National Park is an unforgettable experience. With more than 400 miles (643 km) of trails, from easy strolls around the lakes to strenuous all-day treks to remote mountaintops, there’s something for everyone.

Highlights include Ridge Lake Loop near Washington Pass Overlook, Boulder River Trail through lush old-growth forests, Sahale Arm Trail with stunning views of Mount Shuksan, and the challenging but rewarding Maple Pass Loop. Backpacking trips can also take adventurers to secluded alpine meadows like Newhalem Creek Camp or Dome peak camp on the flanks of Desolation Peak.

For those looking for a unique perspective on the park’s beauty, consider climbing up Thunder Knob or Sourdough Mountain to take in spectacular views of the North Cascades.

Sourdough Mountain in North Cascades National Park

Best Hikes in North Cascades National Park

  1. Ross Lake Overlook Trail: This moderate hike in the North Cascades National Park Complex offers mesmerizing views of the expansive Ross Lake. The 3.5-mile (5.6 km) round trip trail begins at the Diablo Lake Overlook and follows a well-maintained path through old-growth forests. It takes approximately 3 hours to complete, and the rewarding Ross Lake Overlook provides a stunning vantage point to admire the turquoise waters set against the surrounding peaks.
  2. Diablo Lake Overlook Trail: Located near the Diablo Dam, this easy 7.6-mile (12.2 km) out-and-back trail offers panoramic vistas of Diablo Lake. The well-marked path winds through lush forests, and the hike typically takes around 3-4 hours to complete. Be prepared to be captivated by the striking emerald color of the lake as it winds through the rugged landscape.
  3. Blue Lake Trail: A popular hike in the Cascades National Park Complex, the Blue Lake Trail is a moderate 4.4-mile (7 km) round trip with a gradual elevation gain. Beginning at the Rainy Pass picnic area, the trail takes you through enchanting old-growth forests before revealing the stunning Blue Lake, framed by towering peaks. Plan for approximately 3 hours to complete the hike, allowing ample time to soak in the serene beauty of this alpine lake.
  4. Maple Pass Loop: Offering a more challenging adventure, the Maple Pass Loop is a 7.2-mile (11.9 km) loop trail that provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area. This moderate to strenuous hike takes you through vibrant meadows, fragrant alpine flowers, and panoramic vistas of the North Cascades. Allow 5-6 hours to complete the loop, including stops to marvel at the cascading waterfalls and the majestic Washington Pass Overlook.
  5. Thunder Knob Trail: Located near the small community of Newhalem, the Thunder Knob Trail is a moderate 3.6-mile (5.8 km) loop hike that showcases the beauty of the old-growth forests and offers stunning views of Diablo Lake. With an elevation gain of 425 feet (129 meters), the hike typically takes around 2 hours to complete. Take your time at the summit to savor the panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and the azure waters of Diablo Lake.
  6. Desolation Peak Trail: For a challenging and rewarding experience, consider hiking to Desolation Peak. This strenuous 6.8-mile (11 km) round trip trail begins at the trailhead near Ross Lake, leading to the summit where you can take in breathtaking vistas of the surrounding peaks, Ross Lake, and even as far as the Picket Range and Mount Terror. The trail gains approximately 4,000 feet in elevation, and hikers should plan for a full day to complete the trek.
  7. Sourdough Mountain Trail: Situated on the east side of the North Cascades National Park, the Sourdough Mountain Trail is a challenging 16.2-mile (26 km) out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of approximately 4,500 feet (1371 meters). This strenuous hike rewards intrepid adventurers with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Be prepared for a long day on the trail, allowing 8-10 hours to reach the summit and soak in the stunning vistas.

You can check the alphabetical listing of all the trails in the park complex. Also, visit the Stehekin page for hikes in the Stehekin area.


North Cascades National Park offers a range of camping opportunities amidst its awe-inspiring landscapes. Whether you prefer established campgrounds or backcountry camping, there are options to suit every adventurer.

Here are some of the available campgrounds and the necessary permits for camping in the park:

  1. Colonial Creek Campground: Located along State Route 20, the Colonial Creek Campground is nestled in a pristine old-growth forest near Diablo Lake. This popular campground offers stunning views, picnic areas, and easy access to hiking trails. Reservations can be made through the National Park Service website.
  2. Newhalem Campground: Situated near the small community of Newhalem, the Newhalem Campground provides a tranquil camping experience. Surrounded by towering trees, the campground offers proximity to the beautiful Cascade River Road and other nearby attractions. Reservations can be made through the National Park Service website.
  3. Backcountry Camping: For those seeking a more adventurous camping experience, backcountry camping is available in North Cascades National Park. Obtain a backcountry permit from the National Park Service before embarking on your journey. This permit allows you to camp in designated backcountry sites along trails such as the popular Blue Lake Trail, the Stehekin Valley, and Washington Pass Overlook.

It’s important to note that camping permits are required for backcountry camping to preserve the park’s pristine wilderness. These permits can be obtained through the National Park Service website or at designated visitor centers.

When camping in North Cascades National Park, practice Leave No Trace principles, respecting the natural environment and minimizing your impact. Follow all campground regulations and guidelines to help preserve the park’s beauty for future generations.

You can check out other camping options at the park’s official camping page. Also, all drive-in campgrounds along State Route 20 are on a reservation system through

Camping in North Cascades National Park


With its rugged and dramatic peaks, North Cascades National Park is a paradise for climbers. From beginners to experienced mountaineers, there are several routes suitable for all skill levels. The park’s southern and northern ends provide ample climbing opportunities for climbers to challenge themselves and experience the thrill of scaling the majestic mountains.

Fishing and Boating

The park’s pristine lakes and rivers are perfect for fishing and boating enthusiasts. Cast your line into the crystal-clear waters of Blue Lake or explore the park’s scenic rivers, such as those along the park border. Whether you are angling for trout or simply enjoying a peaceful boat ride, these waters offer a serene escape.

But note that the Washington State fishing licenses are not sold at any visitor/ information station in the park complex, and you must obtain them before visiting. Moreover, visit the NPS Fish and Fishing website for more information on fishing regulations in national parks.

Check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for state fishing regulations.

Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Scenic Drives

Take a leisurely drive through the park and revel in the breathtaking vistas along scenic drives. The journey through the park’s southern and northern ends offers mesmerizing views of the towering peaks, dense old-growth forests, and cascading waterfalls. Immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty while cruising along the winding roads.

Winter Sports

North Cascades National Park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts. Strap on your skis or snowshoes and explore the park’s snowy landscapes. The southern and northern ends of the park provide comfortable terrain for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking, allowing you to appreciate the park’s serene beauty in a different seasons.

Winter in Cascades National Park

Wildlife Viewing

Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife, including elusive creatures such as black bears, mountain goats, and elk. The dense old-growth forests provide a haven for these animals, and with patience and some luck, you may spot them in their natural habitat. Remember to maintain a safe distance and respect their space. Here is our guide about wildlife safety and tips for wild animal encounters on trails.


North Cascades National Park offers endless opportunities for photographers to capture the park’s stunning landscapes. From the towering peaks to the enchanting old-growth forests, every corner is a photographer’s dream. Blue Lake and the park’s southern and northern ends provide photogenic settings that showcase the park’s natural beauty.

Where to Stay

Plenty of lodging options are available within the park and nearby towns for those planning a visit to North Cascades National Park. Whether you prefer rustic camping, cozy cabins, or comfortable hotels, you’ll find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate during your stay.

Here are some options to consider:

  1. Camping in North Cascades National Park: Immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty by camping at one of the established campgrounds, such as Colonial Creek Campground or Newhalem Campground. These campgrounds offer basic amenities, including restrooms and picnic areas, allowing you to fully experience the park’s serenity and proximity to scenic wonders.
  2. Ross Lake Resort: Located within the park, Ross Lake Resort offers a unique accommodation experience. Stay in one of their floating cabins or enjoy a cozy lodge room overlooking the picturesque Ross Lake. Wake up to stunning views, rent a kayak or canoe to explore the lake, and indulge in the tranquility of this remote setting.
  3. Nearby Towns: If you prefer the comfort of a town setting, there are several options within North Cascades National Park. The small community of Newhalem, located at the southern end of the park, offers a lodge-style inn with comfortable rooms. This is a convenient choice for those exploring the park’s southern region.
  4. Olympic National Park: Consider staying in nearby towns outside North Cascades National Park for more accommodations. The Olympic National Park area, located west of North Cascades, offers a variety of lodging options, including hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals. This is an ideal choice for those planning to explore both parks and experience the diverse beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

As you plan your stay, remember to check availability, make reservations in advance, and review any guidelines or restrictions set by the National Park Service or individual accommodations.

How to Get There and Getting Around

Getting to North Cascades National Park is a journey in itself, with scenic drives and breathtaking views along the way. Whether driving from a nearby city or flying afar, the park’s natural wonders await your exploration. Embrace the serenity of the old-growth forests, marvel at the rugged peaks, and immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of North Cascades National Park.

Here’s a guide on how to get there and navigate its scenic landscapes.

Nearest Airports:

The nearest airports to North Cascades National Park are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Both airports offer domestic and international flights, providing convenient access to the park.

From Seattle-Tacoma International Airport:

  1. Rent a Car: Renting a car is the most convenient way to reach North Cascades National Park from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From the airport, take I-5 North and follow signs for North Cascades Highway (State Route 20). This scenic drive will take you through the heart of the park.
  2. Public Transportation: Although public transportation options to the park are limited, you can combine public buses and shuttles to reach the North Cascades region. Check with the local transit authorities for the most up-to-date schedules and routes.

From Vancouver International Airport:

  1. Rent a Car: Renting a car is also convenient if you’re flying into Vancouver International Airport. Take BC-99 South, cross the border into the United States, and continue onto State Route 20 (North Cascades Highway) to reach the park.

Getting Around:

There are several ways to explore its scenic beauty after arriving at North Cascades National Park:

  1. North Cascades Highway: The North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) runs through the park, providing a scenic drive that showcases the park’s awe-inspiring landscapes. Enjoy breathtaking views of rugged peaks, deep valleys, and dense old-growth forests as you navigate this iconic highway.
  2. Hiking and Walking: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the park on foot. North Cascades National Park offers multiple hiking trails, ranging from short nature walks to challenging multi-day treks. Immerse yourself in the park’s natural wonders, including glaciers, alpine meadows, and cascading waterfalls.
  3. Park Shuttles: During the peak season, the National Park Service operates shuttle services along North Cascades Highway, allowing visitors to hop on and off at various points of interest. This convenient option provides flexibility for exploring different sections of the park.

As you plan your visit, check the National Park Service website for road closures or updates on access to certain areas.

Here are some links to make your visit convenient:


North Cascades National Park is a must-see destination with its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and plentiful recreational opportunities.

As you make your way across the Pacific Northwest, take some time to explore the spectacular beauty of North Cascades National Park – you won’t regret it. This park offers something for everyone—from the majestic peaks of the Cascade Mountains to the tranquil lakeside forests.

So don’t wait any longer – start planning your adventure and experience everything that this incredible national park is offering firsthand.


Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

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