The Northern Cascades National Park is a wild and rugged mountain range that rises high above the land with snow-capped peaks that never change.
It is a stunning natural wonder in Washington State, spanning 500,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The Northern Cascades National Park offers an array of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery.
Experience the stunning beauty of the Northern Cascades National Park! Take a trip to this breathtaking destination and see why it’s one of the most awe-inspiring places in the US.
This blog will provide you with everything including all the insider tips you need to make your visit to Northern Cascades National Park truly unforgettable.
1. Quick Facts
Size: Over 500,000 acres.
Nearest City: Seattle, Washington.
Establishment Year: 1968.
Attractions: Mountain peaks, glaciers, alpine meadows, and over 500 miles of hiking trails.
2. Cool Things to Do in Northern Cascades National Park
The Northern Cascades National Park (also known as Northern Cascades National Park) is a beautiful and majestic area of Washington State.
North Cascades is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the Pacific Northwest, including snow-capped mountain peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes.
2.1 Hit the Spectacular Trails
Take in sweeping views from high ridges or get up close to nature by exploring alpine meadows or old-growth forest groves.
Here are some of the best hiking trails:
Cascade Pass Trail
Cascade Pass Trail is a stunning trail located in the Northern Cascades National Park in Washington State. It is one of the most popular trails in the park, and it offers spectacular views of Sahale Arm, Johannesburg Mountain, and Mount Torment.
The trail begins at Cascade Pass Trailhead, which is located near Marblemount off WA-20. From there, you will ascend 3 miles to Cascade Pass at an elevation of 5400 feet.
Along the way, you will be surrounded by alpine meadows and old-growth forests full of Douglas fir trees and western hemlock trees. You can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from atop a rocky outcrop that overlooks valleys below.
Hidden Lake Lookout
Hidden Lake Lookout Trail in Northern Cascades National Park is a stunningly beautiful and rewarding 3.7-mile round trip hike that takes you to an amazing viewpoint of the surrounding mountains and valleys ( well managed by the National Park Service). The hike begins at the Hidden Lake Trailhead in Marblemount, Washington.
As you make your way up the moderately steep switchbacks, you will be able to take in stunning views of the North Cascades range and its many peaks.
After about two miles of hiking, you will reach a ridge where you can see both Hidden Lake below and Mount Shuksan towering above it.
From there, it’s just another 0.6 miles until you reach the summit of Hidden Lake Lookout with its 360-degree views of some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in all of Washington State!
Thunder Knob is a breathtaking site in Washington State’s Northern Cascades National Park.
It has a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as a tranquil ambiance.
2.2 Go Camping
Camping is one of the best ways to experience all that Northern Cascades has to offer! Pitch your tent at one of several campgrounds throughout the park or take a longer trek into more remote areas for an unforgettable wilderness adventure.
Here are some excellent campgrounds that you should not miss
Colonial Creek Campground
It is a popular destination for those looking to explore the park’s many hiking trails and stunning alpine scenery.
The campground offers over 100 sites with tent camping, RV hookups, and cabin rentals. The campground has access to several lakes where you can swim, fish, or kayak.
Goodell Creek Campground
Goodell Creek Campground in Northern Cascades National Park is an awesome place to go for an outdoor adventure. The campground features over 20 campsites, each with its picnic table and fire ring. There is also plenty of space for tents, RVs, and trailers.
The scenic views of the mountains are breathtaking and there are plenty of trails nearby for hiking and exploring. Fishing is allowed in Goodell Creek as well as other nearby streams and lakes. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound here too, so be sure to bring your binoculars!
2.3 Paddle around Diablo Lake
Paddling around Diablo Lake is a fantastic experience. The lake, located in the heart of the Northern Cascades National Park, is surrounded by towering mountains and lush green forests.
From the lake, you can enjoy stunning views of majestic peaks like Pyramid Peak, Colonial Peak, and Mount Shuksan.
The lake’s crystal-clear waters are ideal for canoeing or kayaking; you can explore secluded coves and hidden bays while taking in breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks reflecting off the still waters.
2.4 Enjoy Fishing
The Northern Cascades National Park is home to several species of fish, including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and kokanee salmon. Grab your rod and tackle box and spend a day out on the lake or river angling for dinner!
The Cascade River is one of the most popular spots for fishing in Northern Cascades National Park.
This river runs through a stunning section of mountainous terrain, offering you an opportunity to cast their lines into crystal clear waters that teem with trout, salmon, and other native species.
At Lake Chelan, you can take in stunning views while fishing for rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and other species. This lake is situated at an elevation of over 2200 feet above sea level.
2.5 Visit Ross Lake National Recreation Area
This picturesque area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation like boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains while you explore this beautiful region!
The Rose Dam is hard to miss as you drive along Highway 20 near Ross Lake National Recreation Area. It’s worth stopping off here just to admire its size and engineering feat!
2.6 Climb Mount Shuksan
Climbing Mount Shuksan, located in the North Cascades Range of Washington State, is an experience you will never forget.
Towering over 9,131 feet above sea level, it provides stunning views of the nearby peaks. The climb requires technical proficiency as you ascend icy snow slopes, glaciers, and rocky ridges.
Upon reaching the summit, you will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of glaciers and mountains that stretch for miles.
2.7 Take a Scenic Drive along Highway 20
Exploring the scenic views of Northern Cascades National Park through a drive on Highway 20 (Cascade River Road) is an awe-inspiring experience. As you traverse through the mountains, you will be surrounded by grandiose peaks and lush evergreen forests.
You can admire glaciers, alpine meadows, and glimmering lakes along your journey as well as spot wildlife like deer, elk, or mountain goats. The road also passes by several quaint towns where you can pause to explore some shops and eateries or take a break from driving.
2.8 Explore Stehekin Valley
The secluded Stehekin Valley, situated in Northern Cascades National Park, is a picturesque paradise. Its remote location at the head of Lake Chelan – reachable only by boat or plane – makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hectic urban lifestyle.
Although there are no roads into the valley, you can take a shuttle bus from nearby towns or drive to High Bridge Trailhead and hike in. With its stunning scenery and abundance of recreational opportunities, Stehekin Valley has something for everyone to enjoy.
2.9 Go Bird Watching
Northern Cascades National Park is a renowned site for bird watching in Washington State, boasting an array of habitats that attract an assortment of species.
Diablo Lake is a popular spot to witness ospreys, bald eagles, and other raptors soaring through the sky. Warblers and thrushes are also frequent visitors to the area.
Along the Skagit River Trail, waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and swans can be seen gliding across the surface.
2.10 Watch Mountain Goats
A trip to the North Cascades region provides an excellent opportunity to witness mountain goats in their native habitat. These animals are often seen from the North Cascades Highway, and they can be spotted standing on rocky outcrops, taking in the view.
With thick fur that keeps them warm during cold winters and tough hooves that help them traverse steep terrain, these creatures are well-suited for their environment.
Hiking through the Northern Cascades National Park is an amazing way to get close to these majestic animals and appreciate their beauty and strength as they make their way across the rugged landscape.
2.11 Visit Newhalem
This small town located at the entrance to Northern Cascades National Park is worth checking out for its scenic views, interesting history, and unique shops and restaurants.
You can explore the old-fashioned buildings of Newhalem or take a guided tour of the nearby Gorge Powerhouse and Diablo Lake overlook.
2.12 Go Whitewater Rafting
The Skagit River in North Cascades has some spectacular rapids that will get your pulse pounding! Join a guided trip or rent your equipment for an unforgettable adventure!
3. Breathtaking Attractions to see in Northern Cascades National Park
I’m not sure why Northern Cascades National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the national park system. It is a spectacularly gorgeous and extensive National Park complex in Washington State’s Pacific Northwest.
Here are some of the most beautiful attractions in Northern Cascades National Park:
3.1 The North Cascades Visitor Center
The North Cascades Visitor Center, located in the little town of Newhalem, is an excellent site to begin your adventure.
You may read about the park’s history, geology, and fauna, as well as obtain maps and other information, at this location. Don’t rely just on Google Maps!
3.2 Diablo Lake Vista Point
Diablo Lake Vista Point in Northern Cascades National Park is a breathtaking viewpoint with panoramic views of the lake, surrounding mountains, and glaciers. This location is conveniently accessible and will give you a beautiful experience. It is located along the North Cascades Highway.
The lake has an emerald green color because of glacial flour from adjacent glaciers, giving it an unearthly appearance.
Ross Dam, which produces the reservoir for Seattle’s hydroelectric power source, may also be seen from Diablo Lake Vista Point. It’s incredible to take in all of these things at once: the vibrant hues of the lake, the snow-capped hills, and the thundering waterfalls.
3.3 The Ross Lake Overlook
The Ross Lake Overlook in Northern Cascades National Park complex is a beautiful overlook with views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. This viewpoint, located on the park’s western boundary, offers a superb vantage point for seeing the Cascade Range.
You can see the towering peaks, deep valleys, and glacial-fed lakes that make up this spectacular environment from here. On clear days, animals like mountain goats and bald eagles may be seen from this vantage point. The Ross Lake Overlook may be reached by automobile or on foot via a short route from adjacent Highway 20.
3.4 Gorge Lake
Gorge Lake is a magnificent alpine lake in Washington’s Northern Cascades National Park. It is surrounded by beautiful green woods and tucked among the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains.
The lake is fairly enormous, being around 1.5 miles long and 0.75 miles broad, with a depth of 65 feet on average.
3.5 Blue Lake
Blue Lake is a stunning alpine lake in Northern Cascades National Park. It features beautiful crystal-clear water that reflects the surrounding mountains and vegetation. The lake is bordered by beautiful green meadows and rugged cliffs dotted with stones.
Several routes go up to the lake, some of which can be difficult due to the height shift and steep terrain. From the summit, you can see Blue Lake as well as adjacent summits including Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Shuksan.
3.6 Rainy Pass Trail
Enjoy a moderately strenuous 7-mile circle with beautiful vistas and potential animal encounters such as mountain goats, marmots, and black bears!
3.7 Hozomeen Mountain
Climb to 8,000 feet for breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas of Northern Cascades National Park!
4. Top 3 Insider Tips You must Look for Before Heading!
- Highway 20 is the only paved access route to Northern Cascades National Park.
- Technically, Washington Pass Overlook is situated outside of the national park. It is situated on the east side of the National Park.
- Winthrop is a beautiful town. Rose Lake is about an hour away by car, and the picnic area at Rainy Lake is around 40 minutes away.
5. What is the Best Time to Visit Northern Cascades, National Park?
Because of the warm weather and wildflowers, the Northern Cascades National Park is a popular springtime trip.
You may take advantage of the longer days and more daylight hours to explore the National Park complex including snow-capped mountains, gushing waterfalls, and lush woods.
Summer is an excellent season to visit the Northern Cascades National Park for camping or trekking! You’ll have enough to do with its pleasant temps and a variety of activities such as fishing, boating, kayaking, bicycling, rock climbing, and more.
Furthermore, because the days are long during this season, you may wake up early for sunrise walks or remain out late under the starry night sky, making your trip even more enjoyable!
Fall offers milder weather, which makes it excellent for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. The shifting foliage provides a magnificent scene of reds, oranges, and yellows.
It’s also a great time to see wildlife migration in the Northern Cascades National Park as animals look for food or new habitats.
The Northern Cascades National Park complex is especially beautiful in the winter. The park is completely covered with snow and ice, making it ideal for sports like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Use the shorter days to your advantage by exploring trails in the mornings and then going home for pleasant nights around a fire. You will be rewarded with spectacular sights and unique experiences no matter when you visit the Northern Cascades National Park!
6. How to Reach Northern Cascades, National Park?
Which are some of the ways to reach Northern cascade National park? Explore the answer to this question by reading the following points.
One of the easiest and most common ways to get to Northern Cascades National Park is by car. Seattle, the closest major city, is only two hours away from Marblemount, the park entrance.
You can also drive from Portland or Spokane with beautiful stops on the way. Once you’re in the park, roads will lead you through some of its most iconic views such as Diablo Lake and Ross Lake.
If you are limited on time or don’t want to drive for a long distance, flying is your best choice for getting to Northern Cascades National Park.
The nearest airport is in Bellingham, which is approximately one hour away from Marblemount by car. From there, you can rent a vehicle and continue your journey to the Northern Cascades National Park.
6.3 Take a Bus
If you’re searching for a cost-effective way to get to Northern Cascades National Park, taking the bus is an excellent choice.
Multiple routes from Seattle go directly to Marblemount which is situated at the entrance of the park. These buses usually depart in the morning and arrive in the evening, making it a convenient day trip from Seattle.
7. Top Stays in & around Northern Cascades National Park
Are you planning on staying in Northern Cascades National park? Then check out the following lodges.
7.1 North Cascade Lodge
This lodge in Stehekin, Washington provides cozy rooms with incredible mountain views. It has an outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a restaurant serving regional cuisine.
It’s only minutes away from the park entrance, making it ideal for those who want to explore Northern Cascades.
7.2 Cascade Mountain Lodge
This rustic lodge in Marblemount, Washington offers comfortable rooms with stunning views of the North Cascades mountains and valleys.
Spend your days exploring the area on guided hikes or horseback rides, then relax by the fireside lounge or outdoor hot tubs in the evening.
In conclusion, Northern Cascades National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
It is a must-visit to experience the true majesty of nature. The park is home to glaciers, waterfalls, and towering peaks, and it is sure to leave you with beautiful memories.
Read more from us here.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Q1. How far is Olympic National Park from Northern Cascades National Park?
Olympic National Park is approximately 100 miles (161 km) from Northern Cascades National Park.
Q2. How many visitors does Northern Cascades National Park have each year?
Approximately 30,000 visitors come to explore and enjoy the beauty of Northern Cascades National Park each year.
Q3. Are pets allowed in the park?
Pets are allowed in some areas of the park but must be kept on a leash at all times.