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North Cascades National Park Travel Guide

  • Photo: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock

Plan Your North Cascades National Park Vacation

Countless snow-clad mountain spires dwarf narrow glacial valleys in this 505,000-acre expanse of the North Cascades, which encompasses three diverse natural areas. North Cascades National Park is the core of the region, flanked by Lake Chelan National Recreation Area to the south and Ross Lake National Recreation Area to the north; all are part of the Stephen T. Mather Wilderness Area.

It’s a spectacular gathering of snowy peaks, glacial meadows, plunging canyons, and cold, deep-blue lakes. Traditionally the lands of several American Indian tribes, it's fitting that it's still completely wild—and wildlife-filled.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Pure wilderness Nearly 400 miles of mountain and meadow trails immerse hikers in pristine natural panoramas, with sure sightings of bald eagles, deer, elk, and other wildlife.
  2. Majestic glaciers The North Cascades are home to several hundred moving ice masses, more than half of the glaciers in the United States.
  3. Splendid flora A bright palette of flowers blankets the hillsides in midsummer, while October's colors paint the landscape in vibrant autumn hues.
  4. Thrilling boat rides Lake Chelan, Lake Ross, and the Stehekin River are the starting points for kayaking, white-water rafting, and ferry trips.
  5. 19th-century history Delve into the state's farming, lumber, and logging pasts in clapboard towns and homesteads around the park.

When To Go

When to Go

The spectacular, craggy peaks of the North Cascades—often likened to the Alps—are breathtaking anytime. Summer is peak season, especially al...

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Fodor's Washington, D.C. 2015

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