North Cascades National Park in Washington - My Olympic Park

North Cascades National Park in Washington

Author:
Publish date:
Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park has a northern and a southern district or unit, separated by Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Of the three parks that make up the North Cascades National Park Complex, the national park is the largest but least visited. Several national wilderness areas and British Columbia parkland also adjoin the National Park making a huge protected area north of Seattle.

The vast majority of visitors come to Ross Lake National Recreation Area which is easily accessible on Washington State Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, and the only road which bisects the park complex.

Map of Ross Lake National Recreation Area at North Cascades National Park

Map of Ross Lake National Recreation Area bisecting North Cascades National Park into two halfs.

Download PDF Map of North Cascades National Park Complex

Things to do in the North Cascades

Outdoor activities, scenic vistas, and educational opportunities abound. Watch birds and wildlife. Go for a horseback ride. Learn from an expert at a ranger talk or walk, or take a class at the North Cascades Institute's new Environmental Learning Center.

One of the most popular activities is hiking. From accessible trails and short, scenic strolls to steep, grueling hikes that will make your legs burn but your heart sing, there is a trail here that will suit your mood. The extreme gradients of climate and topography contribute to an impressive diversity of habitat and species. To navigate the incredibly steep elevational relief, the nearly 400 miles of trails often follow the long, forested, valley bottoms, then switchback up to the steep passes or ridges. (Hiking Guide on NPS Website)

View of Arnica and Patterson Mountain in North Cascades National Park

View of Arnica and Patterson Mountain in North Cascades National Park

Of course going out on the water on the large lakes is also a popular activity. Kayaking, canoeing, and motor boating are options, pulling an inner tube or skier is prohibited. The Ross Lake Resort rents motorboats, kayaks, canoe, and other equipment for Ross Lake and limited paddle rentals are available at Stehekin on Lake Chelan. Ramps and launches are located at Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, Lake Chelan and the north end of Ross Lake at Hozomeen.

Remote Village of Stehekin

Those seeking a peaceful vacation home base can ride the Lady of the Lake (the boat, not the Olympic legend) to the historic and unique town of Stehekin. The town's name is aptly based on a Salishan word meaning "the way through" and you can only reach it by foot, boat, or plane. Stehekin offers vistors an escape from the hustle of the modern day world. Nestled at the headwaters of Lake Chelan, the third deepest lake in America, the Stehekin community lives life a little slower.

Getting to North Cascades National Park from Olympic

4-hour drive northeast from the north or south entrance

Take our Vancouver to Olympic Road Trip including North Cascades

Related