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North Cascades National Park

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

395 mi 636 km of trail 3 Featured Hikes

Gems 2 Gems Easy Trails 17 Trails Intermediate Trails 38 Trails Hard Trails 24 Trails

Located just three hours northeast of Seattle, the alpine landscape of North Cascades National Park invites visitors to explore. Considered the "American Alps", this mountainous park holds countless serrated peaks ensconced by over 300 glaciers. It's these persistent bodies of ice that produce the eponymous cascades this park is best known for. If you listen closely, you'll hear the North Cascades calling... and you must go.

To learn more about North Cascades National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Opening and closing dates and hours vary seasonally for visitor centers at North Cascades. Check the park's website for current operating hours.

  • North Cascades Visitor Center: Hours vary by season. Closed September 28 to October 2 and November 1 to April 16.
  • Park and Forest Information Center: Hours and closures vary by season.
  • Wilderness Information Center: Hours vary by day of week and season. Closed October 12 to May 8.
  • Golden West Visitor Center: Hours and closures vary by season.
  • Chelan Ranger Station: Open 7:45 am to 4:30 pm, year round (closed federal holidays).
  • Glacier Public Service Center: Open 9 am to 3 pm, weekends year round.
  • Methow Valley Ranger District*: Open 7:45 am to 4:30 pm, weekdays year round (closed federal holidays). *Late June to September: may be open on weekends and holidays (call 509-996-4003 for details).
  • Skagit Information Center: Hours vary by season. Closed September 28 to late May.

Visiting Tips

North Cascades National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, winter weather tends to dictate when certain facilities and roads are open. From late May to October, campgrounds, visitor centers, and roads are generally open. For a listing of current road closures, as well as campground and trail conditions, please visit the park's website.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, permits, and reservations, click here.

Camping & Lodging

North Cascades National Park offers guests a spectrum of camping experiences. Whether your idea of camping is from a car, RV, boat, or a trek into the wilderness, there is something for you. For more information on amenities, current conditions, making reservations, and seasonal closures, visit the park's website.

Car Camping:
  • Goodell Creek Campground: Open year round.
  • Newhalem Creek Campground: Open May 26 through the fall. Group sites available.
  • Gorge Lake Campground: Open year round.
  • Colonial Creek Campground: Open May 22 to Sept. 20. Group sites available.
  • Hozomeen Campground: Open May 22 to Oct. 31.

Boat-in Camping:
  • Diablo Lake: 7 sites
  • Ross Lake: 60 sites
  • Lake Chelan: 24 sites

To learn more about boat-in camping in North Cascades, click here.

Wilderness Camping:
A backcountry permit is required, and permits for specific areas are limited. To maximize your chances, visit high-use areas midweek or after Labor Day, and always have a backup itinerary planned. For information on obtaining a backcountry permit, click here.

Lodging:
In addition to the multitude of camping experiences North Cascades has to offer, there are also other more established overnight accommodations and lodging. To learn more about these opportunities, click here.

Food & Drink

If you're in the mood for a hearty meal and happen to be in the Stehekin area, be sure to check out the North Cascades Lodge. The dining room is the only full-service restaurant in Stehekin and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner May 15 through October 15. If you're craving something a little sweeter, pop into the Stehekin Pastry Company. They offer a variety of baked goods as well as espresso, ice cream, and a limited breakfast and lunch menu.

While visiting the Newhalem area, be sure to stop by the Skagit General Store. Established in 1922 as an employee commissary to serve the needs of the workers and their families on the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project, the original building is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was opened to the public in the 1940s. Today, employees and visitors alike can purchase milk, soda, snacks and unique hand crafted gifts, plus camping and picnic supplies.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

North Cascades National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

In addition to the free ranger-led programs, be sure to check out Skagit Tours for one of their three recreational and educational journeys. You can find more information about them here. Lastly, if you're interested in exploring the "American Alps" with a knowledgeable guide, take a look at the programs offered by the North Cascades Institute. You can find a list of their experiences here.

For more general information on the tours offered in North Cascades National Park, visit the park's website.

Other Activities

Those looking for other ways to explore the area in and around North Cascades National Park will not be disappointed by the variety that it offers. Road biking, climbing, fishing, horseback riding, backcountry camping, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing are among the many activities people enjoy in the summer. In the winter, you can continue your exploration by snowshoeing or cross country skiing on most of this area's summer trails.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in North Cascades National Park - 2

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Cold and windy late August sunset at Sahale Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park.

Sahale Arm

(2) Diablo, WA
gem Favorite Fire over Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park Complex.

Diablo Lake Overlook

(9) Diablo, WA

Featured Hikes in North Cascades National Park - 3

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Favorite Cold and windy late August sunset at Sahale Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park.
Intermediate/Difficult

Cascade Pass to Sahale Arm

11.5 mi 18.5 km • Out and Back • 3,873 ft Ascent 1180.34 m Ascent

(33) Stehekin, WA
Favorite Itswoot Ridge, White Rock Lakes, and Dome Peak along the Ptarmigan Traverse
Extremely Difficult

Ptarmigan Traverse

34.7 mi 55.8 km • Point to Point • 11,003 ft Ascent 3353.7 m Ascent

(2) Diablo, WA
Favorite Enjoy this stellar view before descending to Thornton Lake.
Difficult

Thornton Lakes

9.5 mi 15.4 km • Out and Back • 3,067 ft Ascent 934.74 m Ascent

(9) Diablo, WA

Trails in North Cascades National Park - 76

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

9.2 mi 14.9 km #1Sourdough Mountain Trail
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
9.2 mi 14.9 km Stehekin, WA 11 
15.4 mi 24.7 km #2Cascade Pass Trail
Intermediate
Stehekin, WA
Intermediate
15.4 mi 24.7 km Stehekin, WA
2.3 mi 3.7 km #3Sahale Arm
Intermediate/Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Intermediate/Difficult
2.3 mi 3.7 km Stehekin, WA
14.4 mi 23.2 km #4Copper Ridge Trail
Difficult
Diablo, WA
Difficult
14.4 mi 23.2 km Diablo, WA
0.7 mi 1.1 km #5Trappers Peak
Difficult
Diablo, WA
Difficult
0.7 mi 1.1 km Diablo, WA
4.6 mi 7.5 km #6Desolation Peak Trail
Difficult
Peaceful Valley, WA
Difficult
4.6 mi 7.5 km Peaceful Valley, WA
1.6 mi 2.6 km #7Horseshoe Basin
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
1.6 mi 2.6 km Stehekin, WA
1.1 mi 1.8 km #8Tapto Lakes
Difficult
Diablo, WA
Difficult
1.1 mi 1.8 km Diablo, WA
2.4 mi 3.9 km #9Agnes Gorge
Easy/Intermediate
Stehekin, WA
Easy/Intermediate
2.4 mi 3.9 km Stehekin, WA
0.5 mi 0.8 km #10Doubtful Lake
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
0.5 mi 0.8 km Stehekin, WA
19.4 mi 31.2 km #11Devils Ridge Trail
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
19.4 mi 31.2 km Stehekin, WA
4.8 mi 7.7 km #12Rainbow Lake
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
4.8 mi 7.7 km Stehekin, WA
5.0 mi 8.0 km #13McGregor Mountain
Difficult
Stehekin, WA
Difficult
5.0 mi 8.0 km Stehekin, WA
18.9 mi 30.4 km #14Thunder Creek Trail
Intermediate
Diablo, WA
Intermediate
18.9 mi 30.4 km Diablo, WA
0.8 mi 1.3 km #15Trail of the Cedars
Easy
Diablo, WA
Easy
0.8 mi 1.3 km Diablo, WA
10.3 mi 16.6 km #16Fisher Creek Trail
Intermediate
Diablo, WA
Intermediate
10.3 mi 16.6 km Diablo, WA
1.9 mi 3.0 km #17Thunder Knob Trail
Intermediate
Diablo, WA
Intermediate
1.9 mi 3.0 km Diablo, WA 13 
9.6 mi 15.4 km #18Chilliwack Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Hope, BC
Easy/Intermediate
9.6 mi 15.4 km Hope, BC
11.8 mi 18.9 km #19Hannegan Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Peaceful Valley, WA
Intermediate/Difficult
11.8 mi 18.9 km Peaceful Valley, WA
17.2 mi 27.7 km #20Chelan Lake Shore
Intermediate
Stehekin, WA
Intermediate
17.2 mi 27.7 km Stehekin, WA

Photos of North Cascades National Park - 148

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Cold and windy late August sunset at Sahale Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park.
Sep 5, 2017 near Diablo, WA
Kool Aid Lake Bivouac site on the Ptarmigan Traverse.  Johannesburg in the right side background.
Oct 11, 2016 near Diablo, WA
Kool-Aid Lake, Arts Knoll and Mt. Formidable.  Taken from the bivouac site at Kool Aid lake on the Ptarmigan Traverse.
Oct 11, 2016 near Diablo, WA
Cascade Pass.  On the Ptarmigan Traverse, this point is where you turn photo-right and start route-finding off the trail.
Oct 11, 2016 near Diablo, WA
Approach to Sahale, Torment-Forbidden Traverse behind the Clouds
May 12, 2019 near Diablo, WA
Looking at Johannesburg Mountain
May 12, 2019 near Diablo, WA
View of Ross Lake looking south from ridge line leading to the summit.
Jul 15, 2016 near Hope, BC
Mt. Formidable.  The Red ledges on the left in the shadows
May 12, 2019 near Diablo, WA

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