DescriptionNorth Cascades National Park can be reached via trails off the North Cascades Highway (SR 20), from Marblemount on the western side and from Mazama through Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on the eastern side. The highway is closed between Diablo Lake and Mazama from the first major snowfall until April or May. From Marblemount, Cascade River Road leads east for 22 miles and is the only accessible road into the park. The park also can be reached by boat via Lake Chelan or from Canada via Ross Lake.
The park embraces 505,000 acres in north-central Washington. Its northern and southern sections, separated by Ross Lake National Recreation Area, are bordered by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to the east and south, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area to the southeast and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the west.
Park terrain is the result of glaciation; more than 300 glaciers remain. Jagged peaks, sheer canyons and many rivers and lakes characterize the landscape.
Mountain goats, deer and black and grizzly bears are among the most common animals in the park. Cougars and wolverines are rarely-seen residents. Smaller mammals and a host of birds, including white-tailed ptarmigans, also inhabit the area. Hunting is prohibited. Several varieties of trout live in park waters.
General InformationNorth Cascades National Park is open daily 24 hours, year-round. Highway access is non-existent in winter; however, SR 20 is passable from mid-April to mid-November (weather permitting).
Hiking access and roadside views of the northwest corner of the park are offered from SR 542 east from Bellingham. Lake Chelan Boat Co. provides round-trip ferry service between Stehekin, in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and Chelan, at the southern end of Lake Chelan. Shuttle bus service transports visitors from Stehekin to High Bridge and Cottonwood, both in the remote southeast portion of the park, from late May through early October. One-way shuttle fare is $7; $4 (ages 0-12); phone (509) 682-4494.
Trails suitable for hiking and climbing wind through the back country. Primitive campsites are available by free permit issued at most ranger stations; the most developed sites are off SR 20 in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Summer activities, including evening programs and guided nature walks, are given at campgrounds in both recreation areas.
The park headquarters, adjoining SR 20 in Sedro-Woolley, is open daily 8-4:30, Memorial Day-Columbus Day; Mon.-Fri. 8-4:30, rest of year. The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, just west of Newhalem off SR 20, has exhibits and films that focus on the park's natural and cultural history. A short walk from the center's rear deck leads to an excellent view of the rugged Picket Range in the wilderness heart of the park. The center is open daily 9-6, late May-late Sept.; Sat.-Sun. 9-5, early-late May and in Oct. Phone (206) 386-4495, ext. 11.
Weather forecasts, trail conditions and free permits for back-country camping are available at the Chelan, Marblemount, Newhalem, Winthrop and Stehekin ranger stations; for details phone (509) 682-4900 in Chelan, (360) 854-7245 in Marblemount, or (206) 386-4495, ext. 11 in Newhalem.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the park is free.
PETSPETS are permitted in the Lake Chelan and Ross Lake national recreation areas only if they are on a leash or otherwise restricted at all times. Dogs and cats are not permitted on the trails or in buildings.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Park Superintendent's Office, North Cascades National Park, 810 SR 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284; phone (360) 854-7200.