National Recreation Areas
National Wilderness Areas
The North Cascades National Park lies in the northernmost region of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, amid wild, forested, nearly impenetrable mountains remarkable because of their numerous glaciers, permanent snowfields, and sheer-walled cliffs, spires, and pinnacles.
These wild and dramatic mountains with their deep valleys and steep slopes are so formidable that their individual peaks inspired such names as Mt Terror, Mt Challenger, Mt Fury, Mt Despair, Mt Torment, and Desolation Peak.
Beyond the park's boundaries lie adjoining national forest lands, and provincial park, recreation areas, and Crown lands to the north.
The park complex receives some 500,000 visitors per year and is popular with local hikers, backpackers and mountain climbers.
The Ross, Diablo and Gorge dams along the upper Skagit River which cuts across the park have created lakes ideal for fishing and boating, and with hiking trails along their shores. Popular family-style walks include the Trail of the Cedars near Newhalem, Happy Creek Trail near Diablo Lake, and the Washington Pass Overlook loop.
The park is one of three units in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex which was established on October 2, 1968 by the signing of the North Cascades Act by Lyndon B. Johnson. This act is composed of:
This same act also created the adjacent Pasayten Wilderness of 550,000 acres and enlarged the Glacier Peak Wilderness to 464,000 acres. In 1988 Congress designated approximately 93 percent of the three areas as the Stephen Mather Wilderness to provide additional legislated protection.
The park complex is about a three hour drive north from Seattle on I-5. The main routes include the Interstate I-5 corridor, running north and south from the Canadian border to the Oregon border; and the North Cascades Highway, running east and west and cutting through the North Cascades Park as State Route 20.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is about 120 miles to the south on I-5 near Seattle and is served by some 30 major airlines.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Moon Spotlight Washington's Northern Cascades Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra and Scott Leonard. This compact guide covers the region's camping and hiking sights with at-a-glance icons for the nearby activities. Hiking descriptions, easy-to-follow maps, and clear driving directions are included for each camp. Order now...
Day Hike! North Cascades, 3rd Edition: The Best Trails You Can Hike in a Day by Mike McQuaide. Explore the scenic North Cascades National Park by hiking. This guide covers 59 hikes and rates each trail. Photographs, topographical maps and trail descriptions are all included. Order now...
Hiking the North Cascades, 2nd Edition by Erik Molvar. This comprehensive guide is your passport to one of the most beautiful and truly wild reaches of North America describing 105 of the region's best and most varied hikes, from a few choice short excursions to a whole host of day trips and overnight treks. Order now...
Day Hiking North Cascades by Craig Romano. This compact guide covers t a broad range of hiking options. This is the most up-to-date guide for the area, organized along highway and other travel corridors with an emphasis on trails that are 12 miles or less, round-trip. Order now...
Fodor's Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West, 4th Edition by Fodor's. This guide provides information on 36 national parks in the northwest including an overview of each park, illustrated features, trip planning tools, outdoor recreational activities, recommendations and advice. Order now...
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