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North Cascades Region
North Cascades National Park
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North Cascades National Park © Alpine Adventures
North Cascades National Park © Alpine Adventures
North Cascades National Park © Alpine Adventures
North Cascades National Park Diablo Lake © Jeanie Drake
September 4, 2008 The Glacier Lake is an unbelievable blue. Beautiful
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North Cascades National Park
Sedro-Woolley, Washington   98284-1239
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The North Cascades have long been known as the North American Alps. Characterized by rugged beauty, this steep mountain range is filled with jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and glaciers. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three park units which are all managed as one and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Each area offers different experiences and contains wilderness. Over 93% of the park complex is managed as the Stephen T. Mather Wilderness, which was established by Congress in 1988. The wilderness area was named in honor of the first director of the National Park Service.

Long before North Cascades National Park Service Complex was established in 1968, this area was a home. Not only to an astounding diversity of plants and animals, it was the home to Native Americans and a trade gateway between the Plateau tribes to the east and the Coast Salish tribes to the west for over 8,000 years. More recent settlers came in the nineteenth century to establish homesteads in places like the Stehekin Valley, or to mine elusive minerals ? like gold, or to trap furbearing animals such as the beaver, otter, and marten. Now it is preserved as a national park for all to enjoy.

Please explore this website to learn more about the history, natural resources, and visitor services offered here at North Cascades. We look forward to welcoming you!
 Hiking Trailyes
Additional Campgrounds, Open From 05/20/2005 to 10/02/2005, Phone 360/856-5700 ext. 515

Details : Campgrounds in Ross Lake National Recreation Area and in nearby portions of the Okanogan and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. Many sites outside the park and large group sites within Ross Lake NRA are reservable through or call toll-free: 877-444-6777

Colonial Creek Campground, Open From 03/1/2005 To 10/16/2005, Phone 360 856-5700 ext. 515

Details : Located in old growth forest on the shore of Diablo Lake. 101 sites. First come, first served. No reservations. Water off and no fee trough winter. New fully accessible fishing pier and trailside camping. Boat ramp. Dump station. Potable water. No firewood collecting. Firewood in communities west or east of the park. Bridge along Thunder Creek Trail is being constructed but, several short walks are still possible from the campground.

Goodell Creek Campground, Open All Year, Phone 360 856-5700 ext. 515

Details : Located in old growth forest on the banks of the Skagit River. 21 sites. Raft/kayak launch and covered picnic shelter. Fee: $10/night. First come, first served. No reservations except for group camps located nearby. Call 1-877-444-6777 to reserve Upper or Lower Goodell Group Camps through No firewood collecting but firewood can be purchased at communities near the park (Marblemount is 16 miles west).

Hozomeen Campground, Open May 20- October 16, Phone 360 856-5700 ext. 515

Details : Rustic camping near the US-Canadian border at the north end of Ross Lake. First come, first served (no reservations.Potable water, boat ramp, no garbage service(pack it out). Firewood collecting prohibited.

Newhalem Creek Campground, Open From 04/16/2005 to 10/13/2005, Phone 360 856-5700 ext.515

Details : Just off the North Cascades Highway near milepost 120 and across the Skagit River. Visitor Center and variety of short interpretive trails nearby. Nightly fee: $12. First come, first served. Potable water, dump station. Firewood collecting prohibited. Firewood available in local communities outside the park. Ranger programs in campground and at the Visitor Center during summer. Most sites are still first come - first served. Group camp reservations needed for Newhalem group area and Loop C only (call 1-877-444-6777 or on-line
North Cascades Stehekin Lodge, Open All Year

Reservations Online, Phone 509/682-4494

Details : 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.

Ross Lake Resort, Open From 06/07/2003 To 10/26/2003

Reservations Online, Phone (206) 386-4437

Details : 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.

Stehekin Valley lodging on private lands

Reservations Online, No Phone Number Available

Details : 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.
Two graded-cement boat ramps at Hozomeen (Ross Lake) are normally usable from mid-June through September. Canoes, kayaks and small craft can be launched at Colonial Creek Campground and boated five miles to the end of Diablo Lake. Boats and gear must be portaged around Ross Dam over a mile long gravel road with 600 foot elevation gain. For a fee, Ross Lake Resort will haul canoes or motorboats under 14-feet over the portage (see phone number below).

Numerous boat landing sites exist on Lake Chelan, including the Stehekin Landing.

Safety : Even in summer, the water temperature in Ross Lake seldom gets above 50?F (10?C). Falling in the lake or getting caught in a sudden storm can rapidly bring on hypothermia, the lowering of body temperature to a point at which the body can not maintain its own heat. Always carry raingear and extra food, and be prepared to make an emergency camp or for sudden weather changes.

Water taken from the lakes and nearby streams may contain micro-organisms such as giardia which can cause serious intestinal disorders. Always boil or treat drinking water.

All federal and state boating regulations are enforced on the lakes. Approved life jackets, oars, bailing buckets and running lights are all required. Check your boating gear before leaving home.

Ross Lake water level is generally full from late June through mid-September. During other months of the year, drawdowns of the reservoir expose rocks, snags and other underwater hazards. Watch for floating logs, debris, shallows and submerged obstacles at all times.

Strong gusty winds and whitecaps occur frequently and with warning. It is safest to travel along the eastern shore of both Ross Lake and Lake Chelan where there are more landing sites, camps, and trail access. On Ross Lake, it is frequently calm in the morning with breezy south winds from afternoon to early evening. A comfortable paddling distance for most groups is 5-7 miles per day.

Camping : Numerous boat-in campsites are available in Lake Chelan and Ross Lake National Recreation Areas.

From May 1 through October 31, it is necessary to have a Dock Fee Permit to use the National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service docks on Lake Chelan for day or overnight use. Day and annual permits may be purchased at the USFS Chelan Ranger Station, at various vendors in Chelan, and at two outlets at Stehekin Landing.

A backcountry permit is required for any overnight camping at these sites. Permits are best obtained at Marblemount, Hozomeen, Chelan, or Stehekin; on a first-come, first-served basis. All Ross Lake campsites are equipped with fire-rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets.

Although most people never seen them, grizzly and black bears, mountain lions, and wolves can be encountered along the lakeshore. Store food out of reach of bears. Use the 4-10 rule: 4 feet (1.2m) from the trunk of trees and at least 10 feet (3m) off the ground. Keep all wildlife healthy and self-reliant by not feeding them. Special food storage containers are available at selected camps. Portable canisters may be checked out from permit offices to store food safely and effectively away from animals.

Carry out all trash and keep a clean camp. Use driftwood for firewood. The cutting of any standing tree (living or dead) is prohibited.

Archaeological records prove humans have been fishing in the Cascade Mountains for at least 8,000 years. The rivers, streams, ponds, and alpine lakes of North Cascades National Park and Lake Chelan and Ross Lake National Recreation Areas provide opportunities to fish in the spectacular and unspoiled environment of the Cascades.

Native Rainbow, Cutthroat and Eastern Brook trout are the most commonly caught fish in Ross Lake. A Washington State fishing license is required for the Ross Lake fishing season of July 1 - October 31. A limit of three Rainbow trout at least 13" applies. Closed waters on Ross Lake include all of Ruby Creek, 1/4 mile upstream from closed markers at the mouth of Big Beaver, and one mile up stream on all other tributaries.

Bull Trout : Bull trout have disappeared from most of their former range. Their numbers have dwindled to the point where they are in danger of extinction. This trout has been red-tagged a species of concern by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and has been declared a threatened species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in part of its range and proposed threatened in the remainder. Restrictive fishing regulations are in effect in most places for bull trout to help restore a wild and healthy population. These regulations also apply to Dolly Varden trout, because they are difficult to distinguish from bull trout.

North Cascades National Park is

Rock Climbing and Rappelling
Rock and weather conditions are both severe in the North Cascades. The shear number of peaks and diversity of climbs challenge many mountaineers. Hazards of unfamiliarity confront even seasoned climbers on their first North Cascades climbs. Mountain climbing here requires previous experience; safe, adequate, tested equipment and gear; the best current, local information on weather and conditions that you can obtain; and good technical skill matched by caution and commonsense.

Please remember that all overnight climbing trips require that you get a free backcountry use permit. The Wilderness Information Station in Marblemount is the backcountry and climbing information station for the park.

Also note that trailhead parking passes are required at entry points in adjacent National Forests including access to Mt Shuksan (ie. Shannon Ridge and Lake Ann), and other peaks. The Northwest Forest Pass is available at Ranger Stations.
There are 386 miles of maintained trails, many taking you steeply to absolutely breathtaking alpine scenery, and over 200 designated backcountry campsites.Lower elevation trails are usually accessible from early April through mid-October. Higher elevation trails (which is most of the North Cascades backcountry), however, do not open until mid-July and remain accessible through late September.

Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Camping is only permitted at designated campsites or in a cross-country manner (which requires you to be more than 1/2 mile (.83 km) from trails and more than one mile (1.7 km) from designated campsites). Party size is limited to 12 (6 in cross-country zones) and campfires are prohibited in subalpine areas. Pets are not allowed on any trail in North Cascades National Park except the Pacific Crest Trail, where they must be on a leash. Leashed pets are allowed on trails within Ross Lake and Lake Chelan NRA.

A Wilderness Trip Planner is available that will help you plan your wilderness trip.

The Pacific Crest Trail, a designated National Scenic Trail extending from the California/Mexico border to the Washington/Canada border, passes through North Cascades National Park and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area coinciding with the Bridge Creek and other trails. For more information about the Pacific Crest Trail, contact the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

The 60-mile portion of the Pacific Northwest Trail which passes through North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area is a designated National Recreation Trail. The Pacific Northwest Trail stretches from Glacier National Park in Montana to Cape Alava on the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park. The portion in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex skirts Ross Lake, goes up the Big Beaver Trail into the Little Beaver drainage and continues west over Whatcom and Hannegan Passes. For more information about this trail contact the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.
Area Attractions
Mount Rainier National Park, 199 miles.

Olympic National Park, 148 miles.

Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, 103 miles.

Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle Unit National Historical Park, 123 miles.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, 166 miles.

San Juan Island National Historical Park, 123 miles.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, (360)856-5700 ext. 515

Wenatchee National Forest, (509)662-4335

Skagit Valley Provincial Park, (604)924-2200

Okanogan National Forest, (509)996-4000

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

Car : Primary access to the North Cascades and Ross Lake National Recreation Area is off of State Route (SR) 20, which connects to I-5 at Burlington. Branch routes lead to Baker Lake (Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest) and the Cascade River. In winter SR 20 is closed at Washington Pass beyond Ross Lake. There is no car access to the Stehekin Valley and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Take Highway 2 to the town of Chelan where passenger ferry and plane access is available. There is also trail access off of SR 20. The only road access to the shore of Ross Lake is via the Silver-Skagit Road (gravel) from near Hope, British Columbia.

Bus : Greyhound(1-800-229-9424)offers transport along the I-5 corridor in Western Washington and to Wenatchee in Eastern Washington. Connections to county bus systems for Skagit and Whatcom Counties (SKAT and WTA)are possible but do not reach into the park complex on the westside of the mountains. From Wenatchee, the "LINK" public bus system (no Sunday service)in Chelan County (1-509-662-1155)connects to the passenger ferry at Chelan allowing foot passengers to visit Stehekin by boat. A van shuttle is available in the valley from the Stehekin Landing.

Public Transportation : Amtrak (1-800-872-7245) and Greyhound(1-800-229-9424)offer transport along the I-5 corridor in Western Washington and to Wenatchee in Eastern Washington. 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. Contact the park (360/856-5700 ext.515) for more information. Very little of the park is accessible via public transportation.

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Washington State Parks