National Parks
Fun and Exciting Things to Do North Cascades National Park

Fun and Exciting Things to Do North Cascades National Park

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North Cascades National Park is located in the lovely state of Washington. Many people are attracted to this park because it has beautiful, rugged mountain peaks. This park is home to a variety of wildlife like wolves, lynxes, moose, wolverines, and many rare species. For those who like to learn about plants, there are thousands of different plant species. Mountain climbers, backpackers, and nature lovers are drawn to the area. There are many species of birds too. Bird watchers love to come here.

north cascades national park

Rugged mountain peaks attract serious climbers. The Complex boasts over 300 glaciers, numerous crystal clear mountain lakes, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and rustic log and frame cabins for the less adventurous.

Northern access to the Park begins at the west end from the town of Sedro-Woolley (east of Seattle), traveling east along picturesque Washington State Highway 20, commonly known as the North Cascades Highway, to the eastern edge of the Complex near Winthrop. Mount Shuksan, at the northwest corner of the Park, is considered by many photographers to be the most photographed mountain in this country. It isn’t even the highest peak in this majestic range. The pristine wilderness is unsurpassed in all aspects, with very little pavement off the main highway. Gravel roads lead to trailheads and scenery points. Ross Lake is a popular place for camping, canoeing, picnicking, and hiking.

Cascade Pass

One popular destination in this park is Cascade Pass. Cascade Pass was once used as a travel route by the Native American Indians. There is only one gravel road that enters the park and it is open to the public. The nearest town is located on the west side of the park. In 1971, this park was home to 317 glaciers, but due to climate change, some have already melted.

North Cascades National Park Cascade Pass

North Cascades National Park has so much natural beauty to offer. You and your guests can enjoy deep valleys and cascading waterfalls. This park is open 365 days a year. This park offers many educational opportunities for those who are interested in learning. Camping, hiking, boating, fishing, bird watching, and horseback riding are just a few fun things you can enjoy when you visit.

Ross Lake National Recreation Area is located nearby. In North Cascades Nation Park, there are many scenic trails and great places to picnic with your guests. In this park, you and your guests will have the chance to experience true wilderness and exciting adventures. People come to visit from all regions of the world. You and your guests are sure to take back with you a lifetime of memories.

North Cascades National Park Camping

Located in the heart of more than 2 million acres of federally-designated wilderness in north-central Washington State, North Cascades National Park is open year-round and charges no entry fee. Backpacking, biking, boating, climbing, fishing, hiking, and riding–all fitness-building opportunities–can be enjoyed in this park.

Drive-In Camping

The camping rates for North Cascade National Park’s five drive-in campgrounds range from free to $25 to $35 per night. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis although group reservations can be made at two of the drive-in campgrounds.

Backcountry Camping

North Cascades National Park

Campgrounds reached by boating and hiking require a back-country permit, which you must obtain in person from a ranger station up to 24 hours prior to entering the wilderness area of the park. There is no charge for the permit, but if you do not have and display one, you can be fined or forced to leave. The Wilderness Information Center and ranger station are in Marbelmount. Although there are no trailhead parking fees for trails that begin on National Park land, the U.S. Forest Service does require Northwest Forest Pass fees to be paid for trailheads that lead into the National Park. Dock Fee Permits are required for Lake Chelan docks.


The 400+ miles of trails in North Cascades National Park range from accessible and short to grueling and steep. The park’s 65 trails wind and loop through diverse habitats, glaciers, valleys, alpine lakes, and old-growth forests. The summer months are the most popular time for hiking. Trails through the higher elevations can be snow-covered as late as August, and access is often limited during the winter months.


Whether you want a one-night backpacking trip or a lengthier trek over several mountain passes, North Cascades National Park is noted for its mountaineering opportunities. Nearly 140 designated camping sites are located along and nearby the trails. Cross-country camping is permitted, but you are required to be at least half a mile from any trail and one mile from any designated camp. Camping near water sources, in alpine meadows, or on fragile vegetation is not permitted.


rock climbing

Boston Basin, Sulphide Glacier, and Eldorado cross-country zones are the park’s busiest climbing areas. Your chance of obtaining a back-country permit for these areas is better after Labor Day or midweek during the summer months. The North Cascade terrain can challenge climbers to their limits, but the view from the peaks is what brings climbers back time and time again to the national park.

Boating and Fishing

Rafting, kayaking, canoeing, paddling, and motor boating are permitted along the Skagit and Stehekin Rivers and Gorge Lake, Diablo Lake, Ross Lake, and Lake Chelan. Jet skis are not allowed. Washington State fishing regulations are enforced, and a valid fishing license is required in North Cascade National Park. Five salmon species, steelhead, freshwater, and cutthroat trout, and char inhabit the Skagit River. The Stehekin River offers rainbow and cutthroat trout. Rainbow trout can be fished from Ross, Diablo, and Gorge Lakes. Lake Chelan boasts trout, freshwater cod, and land-locked salmon (kokanee).

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Biking and Riding

You can rent bicycles, if you need them, by the hour or by the day in the Stehekin area. You can also take horses, mules, donkeys, and llamas on your wilderness camping expedition in North Cascade. If you don’t own a horse but want to ride one, you can enjoy a guided trail ride.

This park is really the perfect place to come and relax. You can explore the forests and meadows. The park is home to huge mountain goats and mountain lions as well. They are rarely seen, but they help keep the balance of nature in the area.

North Cascades National Park has a long history that dates back to the early 1800s. Many artists, writers, poets, and photographers come to explore the beauty of the park. The park became established in 1968. It spans an area of 684,000 acres. Visitor facilities are located nearby and they can provide maps of the area and useful information to make your tour a very enjoyable one.