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North Cascades National Park

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The North Cascades National Park Service Complex includes North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas.

North Cascades National Park contains some of America's most beautiful scenery -- jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 300 glaciers -- within its 505,000 acres (202,000 hectares). Ross Lake National Recreation Area (118,000 acres, 47,200 hectares) is the corridor for scenic Washington State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway, and includes three reservoirs: 12,000-acre (4,800-hectare) Ross Lake, 910-acre (364-hectare) Diablo Lake, and 210-acre (84-hectare) Gorge Lake -- water gateways to more remote areas.

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (62,000 acres, 24,800 hectares) rests in a glacially carved trough in the Cascades Range. Lake Chelan is one of the nation's deepest, reaching a depth of 1,500 feet (450 meters). It offers boating, fishing, and lakeshore camping. The average width is less than two miles (3.2 kilometers), but Lake Chelan extends 50 miles (83 kilometers) into the Cascade Mountains. The lake's northernmost four miles (6.4 kilometers) are in the National Recreation Area, including the remote community of Stehekin and the Stehekin River Valley.

Over 93% of the three areas comprising the Complex are included in the Stephen Mather Wilderness, established in 1988 (Public Law 100-668). This Wilderness was named in honor of the first director of the National Park Service.

   

CONTACTS

Email - NOCA_Interpretation@nps.gov

Fax- 360-856-1934

Write to
North Cascades National Park
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1239

Phone
Headquarters - 360/856-5700
Visitor Information - 360/856-5700

TRAVEL BASICS

Operating Hours, Seasons
The park and recreation areas are always open, but access is limited by snow in winter. Note that State Route 20 (North Cascades Scenic Highway), the major access to Ross Lake NRA, is partially closed from approximately mid-November to mid-April. Exact opening and closing dates depend on weather, snow depths, and avalanche hazards.

Getting There
PLANE - Nearest major airport is Seatac near Seattle, Washington. Chelan Airways (509/682-5555)provides floatplane access to Stehekin in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

CAR - Access to the North Cascades and Ross Lake area is from I-5 at Burlington, west of the mountains, and Twisp, on the east, following Washington State Route (SR) 20 with branch routes to Baker Lake (Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)and the Cascade River. The park and recreation areas are always open, but access is limited by snow in winter. Note that State Route 20 (North Cascades Scenic Highway), the major access to Ross Lake NRA, is partially closed from approximately mid-November to mid-April. Exact opening and closing dates depend on weather, snow depths, and avalanche hazards. Two roads, both gravel, enter North Cascades National Park itself: the Cascade River Road from Marblemount and the Stehekin Valley Road. Note that the latter does not connect to any roads outside the Stehekin Valley. There are no road connections to Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (access by trail, passenger ferry, and floatplane.) The only road access to the shore of Ross Lake is via the Silver-Skagit Road (gravel) from near Hope, British Columbia.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - The 'LINK' public bus system in Chelan County connects to the passenger ferry at Chelan (Lake Chelan Boat Company) which goes to Stehekin Landing in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area at the opposite end of the lake. The 'SKAT' public bus sytem in Skagit County once per day goes to Newhalem in Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Contact the park (360/856-5700 ext.515) for more information. Very little of the park is accessible via public transportation.

Weather & Climate
Generally, the best weather for visiting the North Cascades occurs between mid-June and late-September. Snow is usually off all but the highest trails by July (though this can vary greatly from year to year). Summer storms can be common: always be prepared for a few days of rain and wind. Particularly if you are going into high and remote areas, take good, light rain gear and a tent. Warm, waterproof clothing and a tent are virtually mandatory for spring, fall and winter trips into the backcountry. Heavy snow and rain, depending on elevation, characterize the North Cascades from fall into spring. Avalanches are common in winter and spring in the higher country and in places along the North Cascades Highway. The east side of the Cascade Mountains (such as Stehekin in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area) is drier and warmer in the summer than the west side (such as the portion of Ross Lake National Recreation Area along the North Cascades Highway). Summer temperatures at Stehekin reach the 90's F. Winter at Stehekin and at all elevations above the lowest throughout the park complex is snowy from fall into spring.

Accessibility
The North Cascades Visitor Center, Sedro-Woolley information station, and Wilderness Information Office are fully accessible. The approach to the Golden West Visitor Center is an unpaved, sloping path which can be negotiated with assistance. There is a ramp into the center itself. The Sterling Munro Trail at the North Cascades Visitor Center and the Happy Creek Forest Walk at milepost 135 on S.R.20 are fully accessible boardwalk paths. The latter is a 1/3 mile (1/2 kilometer) loop through ancient forest. The River Loop Trail, Linking Trail and Newhalem Creek Rockshelter Trail, all in the vicinity of the North Cascades Visitor Center, are accessible trails with good surfaces and less than 10% grade throughout. The Rockshelter Trail ends in a boardwalk providing a view and interpretation of an archeological site. East of Newhalem along the North Cascades Highway is the Gorge Overlook Trail, a portion of which is paved and fully accessible and the remainder of which is accessible at a challenge level or with assistance. There are accessible campsites and restrooms in the park's campgrounds along State Route 20 and an accessible picnic shelter near the Goodell Creek Campground.

Getting Around
The N. Cascades Hwy goes through Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Cascade River Road leaves S.R.20 at Marblemount, WA, to more trailheads. Bus services in the Stehekin Valley (Lake Chelan National Recreation Area)are provided by the NPS and the Stehekin Adventure Company. Service from Stehekin Landing to High Bridge (11 miles/18 km), is available May 19 through October 15, 2000. NPS bus service from High Bridge 4.6 miles to Bridge Ck (Pacific Crest Trail) begins June 16, snow and road conditions permitting. It is anticipated that the service will begin operating to Glory Mountain (20.1 miles from the Landing and the present end of the road) July 1. From there hike 11.2 miles (17.9 km)over Cascade Pass to the Cascade River Rd. There are many trailheads and camps along the Stehekin Valley Road. Reservations not needed for the Stehekin Adventure bus but highly recommended (required May 19 - June 15) for the NPS shuttle buses due to smaller capacity. To reserve, call (360) 856-5700 ext. 340, then 14. Reservations can also be made in person at visitor centers or when obtaining backcountry permits. For transportation schedule, see http://www.nps.gov/noca/focus/shuttlesched.htm. 93% of the park complex is Wilderness with 386 miles of trail.

FEES/PERMITS

Activity Fee

Between May 1 and October 31 each year, boaters must have a Dock Fee Permit in order to use the docks in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. This is the same permit needed for using the docks provided by the U.S. Forest Service along other parts of the Lake Chelan shoreline. Can be obtained at Chelan Ranger Station and several stores in Chelan and Stehekin, Washington.

NORTHWEST FOREST PASS

Pass required for parking anywhere along the North Cascades National Park portion of the Cascade River road or at the following trailheads in Ross Lake National Recreation Area: Thornton Lakes, Pyramid Lake, Ross Dam, East Bank, Panther Creek. The pass is also required for parking at trailheads in the adjacent national forests. It can be bought at park or forest stations or by calling 1/800-270-7504.

WILDERNESS PERMIT

A free Wilderness Permit is required for all overnight stays in the backcountry of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. The principal places to obtain these are the Wilderness Information Station in Marblemount, Washington, and the Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin, Washington.

CAMPING

Additional Campgrounds
Campgrounds in Ross Lake National Recreation Area and in nearby portions of the Okanogan and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests.
For More Information on this campground please call 360/856-5700 ext. 515

Colonial Creek Campground
Located in old growth forest on the shore of Diablo Lake. 162 sites, some fully accessible. Boat ramp. Dump station. Potable water. No firewood collecting but firewood can be purchased during summer. Trailhead (Thunder Creek Trail). Nightly amphitheater programs in summer.

Goodell Creek Campground
Open All Year
Located in old growth forest on the banks of the Skagit River. 21sites. Raft/kayak launch and covered picnic shelter naerby. Potable water from Spring into Fall. No firewood collecting but firewood can be purchased at nearby Newhalem Creek Campground during summer.
For More Information on this campground please call Not plowed in winter.

Newhalem Creek Campground
Just off the North Cascades Highway near milepost 120 and across the Skagit River. Visitor Center and complex of short interpretive trails nearby. Potable water, dump station. Firewood collecting prohibited. Firewood available for sale in summer. Ranger-presented evening programs in campground amphitheaters weekends in summer. Group camp (reservations needed and picnic area nearby).

LODGING

North Cascades Stehekin Lodge
Open All Year
Concession-operated lodge at Stehekin Landing near the head of Lake Chelan. Reached via passenger ferry, floatplane or trail. No direct road access. Rooms, restaurant, snack bar, small store. NPS visitor center and ranger station nearby.
For More Information on this lodging please call 509/682-4494

Ross Lake Resort
Open From 06/08/2001 To 10/28/2001
Concession-operated housekeeping cabins on floats moored near the lower end of Ross Lake. Rental canoes, kayaks, and small outboard motor boats. Fishing licenses available for purchase.
For More Information on this lodging please call (206) 386-4437

Stehekin Valley lodging on private lands
A variety of B&B's, cabins, and lodge accommodations are available on private property in the Stehekin Valley within Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Access to Stehekin is via passenger ferry or float plane from Chelan or by trail.
For More Information on this lodging please call No phones

FACILITIES

CHELAN RANGER STATION
Open All Year 7:45 am - 4:30 pm
Phone - 509/682-2549
Location - In Chelan, Washington, at the edge of Lake Chelan near the foot of the lake.
Closures - Closed weekends from September to mid-June.
Available Facilities - This is an office of the Wenatchee National Forest where information can be obtained concerning Lake Chelan National Recreation Area at the other end of 50-mile long Lake Chelan. Information counter. Sales of books, maps, and other items related to the national forest, park and recreation area.

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK HEADQUARTERS INFORMATION STATION
Open All Year 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location - In Sedro-Woolley, Washington, along the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) about 4 miles east of I-5. One and one-half hours north of Seattle.
Closures - Closed weekends from mid-October until Memorial Day weekend.
Special Programs - This station is operated jointly with the Mt. Baker District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, which adjoins North Cascades National Park to the west.
Exhibits - Relief map of the park and adjacent national forests.
Available Facilities - Information desk. Sales area with books, maps, videos, and other items related to the national park and adjacent national forests.

Visitor Centers
GLACIER PUBLIC SERVICE CENTER
Phone - 360/599-2714
Location - Just east of Glacier, Washington, on the Mt. Baker Highway (Highway 542).
Closures - Closed from Fall into Spring.
Exhibits - Relief map of Mount Baker and exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the Mt. Baker District, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Available Facilities - At this U.S. Forest Service station on the road to Mt. Baker and to trailheads accessing North Cascades National Park, backpackers and climbers can obtain the free Wilderness Permit required for overnight stays in the park's backcountry. Sales of books, maps, and other items related to the area.

NORTH CASCADES VISITOR CENTER
Open All Year
Phone - 206/386-4495 ext.11
Location - Across the Skagit River from the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) near milepost 120 and the town of Newhalem. Adjacent to Newhalem Creek Campground.
Closures - Open 9:00 am - 4:30 pm daily from Sept. 23 - Nov. 12. Open 9:00 am - 4:30 pm weekends only from mid-November to mid-April
Special Programs - Daily ranger talks, children's and other programs in summer. Special programs during Earth Week (April), International Migratory Bird Week (May), etc. Special presentations available for school and other groups.
Exhibits - Relief map of the park and surrounding area, exhibit room featuring multimedia exhibits on the park's natural and cultural history.
Available Facilities - Theater featuring large format slide program and video presentation. Several short, accessible interpretive trails, campground, group camp, and picnic area nearby. Restrooms.

PURPLE POINT INFORMATION STATION
Phone - 360/856-5700 x340 then 14
Location - At Stehekin Landing near the north end of 50-mile long Lake Chelan. Reached via passenger ferry, trail, or float plane. No road connections outside the area.
Closures - Closed from mid-October to mid-March. The Purple Point Information Station is a tempory facility during the renovation of the Golden West Visitor Center in 2001.
Special Programs - The Golden West Gallery, operated by the Arts & Humanities of Stehekin and located in the Purple Point Information Station this year is featuring an exhibit of work by local artists and crafts people.
Exhibits - Relief map and exhibits on natural and cultural history of the area.
Available Facilities - Information desk, sales of books, maps, and other items related to the area. Obtain free backcountry permits here for trips into the park's wilderness. Audiovisual program available throughout the day. Daytime short talks. In summer, daily children's programs and nightly evening programs.

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Contact Info
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Campgrounds Nearby
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Weather
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OUTDOORS
These outdoors activities are available near North Cascades National Park.
 Campgrounds Near North Cascades National Park:
Riverfront RV Park, Clearlake, 3 miles away
Walker Valley Trailhead, Clearlake, 7 miles away
Big Lake Resort, Mount Vernon, 8 miles away
Lake Associates Recreation Clb, Mt Vernon, 9 miles away
Riverview Park, Acme, 9 miles away
Lake Associates Recreation Clb, Mount Vernon, 9 miles away
Pilchuck Bridge Campground, Skagit County, 10 miles away
 Hotels Near North Cascades National Park:
Fairfield Inn & Suites Burlington, Burlington , 11 miles away
Candlewood Suites BURLINGTON, Burlington , 11 miles away
Hampton Inn - Suites Burlington, Burlington , 11 miles away
Days Inn Mt. Vernon, Mount Vernon , 11 miles away
Best Western Plus Skagit Valley Inn And Convention Center, Mount Vernon , 11 miles away
Holiday Inn Express & Suites BURLINGTON, Burlington , 12 miles away
Tulip Inn Mt Vernon, Mount Vernon , 12 miles away
 Ski Areas Near North Cascades National Park:
Mt.Baker, Washington , 39 miles away, 1500 foot drop, 8 lifts, 38 runs
Mount Seymour, British Columbia , 66 miles away, 1083 foot drop, 5 lifts, 23 runs
Alpental, Washington , 72 miles away, 2280 foot drop, 5 lifts, 19 runs
Stevens Pass, Washington , 72 miles away, 1800 foot drop, 10 lifts, 37 runs
Grouse Mountain, British Columbia , 73 miles away, 1260 foot drop, 5 lifts, 26 runs
Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington , 74 miles away, 2280 foot drop, 26 lifts, 96 runs
Cypress Mountain, British Columbia , 81 miles away, 2410 foot drop, 9 lifts, 52 runs
Crystal Mountain, Washington , 87 miles away, 3100 foot drop, 11 lifts, 50 runs
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia , 90 miles away, 5280 foot drop, 33 lifts, 200 runs
Hurricane Ridge Ski Lodge, Washington , 96 miles away, 800 foot drop, 3 lifts, 10 runs
 Whitewater Near North Cascades National Park:
Skookum Creek, Whatcom County , 8 miles away, Class IV-V - 1.25 miles long (Above lower gorge to South Fork of Nooksack)
Pilchuck Creek, Snohomish County , 10 miles away, Class III-IV(V) - 5.5 miles long (Pilchuck Creek Campsite to Highway 9 Bridge)
Pilchuck Creek, Snohomish County , 12 miles away, Class II-III - 6.1 miles long (Highway 9 Bridge to I-5 Bridge)
Nooksack River - South Fork, Whatcom Skagit County , 12 miles away, Class II-III - 12 miles long (River Mile 25 to Saxon Road)
Pilchuck Creek, Snohomish County , 12 miles away, Class IV - 4.4 miles long (Lake Cavanaugh Road to Pilchuck Creek Campsite)
 Public Lands Near North Cascades National Park:
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Sedro-Woolley - WA , 0 miles away
Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Sedro-Woolley - WA , 0 miles away
Wenberg State Park, Washington , 19 miles away
Bay View State Park, Washington , 21 miles away
Larrabee State Park, Washington , 22 miles away
Saddlebag Island State Park, Washington , 26 miles away
 Golf Courses Near North Cascades National Park:
Overlook Golf Course, Mount Vernon , 7 miles away
Eaglemont Golf Club, Mount Vernon , 9 miles away
Avalon Golf Links Burlington WA, Burlington , 10 miles away
Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club, Bellingham , 13 miles away
Skagit Golf & Country Club, Burlington , 14 miles away
 Lakes Near North Cascades National Park
Lake Cavanaugh, Skagit County , 15 miles away
Crabapple Lake, Snohomish County , 19 miles away
Lake Howard, Snohomish County , 19 miles away
Lake Whatcom, Whatcom County , 20 miles away

Copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. - Pictures of park and text about park by the US National Park Service. Operating hours and fees are valid at the date of publishing and are subject to change, please contact park directly for current information.