Backcountry permit: required, free permit issued at Marblemount
Description of North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park is situated in Chelan, Skagit and
Whatcom counties in Washington, United States. North Cascades
National Park covers an area of 684,000 acres (1,069 sq mi). North
Cascades National Park is the largest of the three protected
reserves that make up part of the North Cascades National Park
Service Complex. Much of the area is dominated by glacier clad peaks
range from 7000 feet to 9000 feet above sea level. The mountains
here are non volcanic in origin. Instead they were formed from the
buckled seafloor of an ancient micro- continent. North Cascades
National Park is roughly dived into North and South region divided
by a narrow valley cut by the Skagit River. Prestine Ross Lake and
Lake Chelan National Recreational Areas are other notable bodies of
water. Limited road acces is the reason why North Cascades National
Park is one of the least visited national parks in the area.
Human presence in the region of North Cascades National Park date
back to 12,000- 10,000 years ago when the glacial covering began to
retreat due to warming of the global climate. As the area was
cleared from ice Native American ancestors of Skagit tribes settled
in the area. Numerous tools, arrowheads and other tools are commonly
discovered along the valley floor.
Cascade Pass Trail (North Cascades
Duration: 2 days Distance: 9.4 miles (15.1 km) Difficulty:
medium Starting/ Finishing point: Cascade Pass Trailhead
Closest town: Marblemount, Stehekin No public transport Nearby
Johannesburg Camp is located at the Cascade Pass Trailhead that can
be achieved by taking a Cascade River Road. It is situated at an
elevation of 3600 feet above sea level. The trail leads to the
Cascade Pass (elevation 5,384 feet) and technically ends at the
western corner of the Stehekin Valley at Pelton Basin Camp
(elevation around 4800 feet). However you can continue via Horseshoe
Basin Trail to the Stehekin river below.
Fees and permits
There are no fees to enter the North Cascades National Park.
Spending the night in the back country does require a free permit
obtained by registering at a ranger station. Campgrounds have
variable fees, often dependent on the time of year and popularity of
Where to sleep
Staying in the park means sleeping in a campground or in the back
country. For those who enjoy their amenities, however, there are
more posh accommodations in the countless towns one drives through
on the way to the park. One can find anything from hotel rooms to
chateaus with hot tubs.
Camping There are a number of
campgrounds throughout the park, administered by the National Park
Service. Most offer potable water, dump stations, and firewood.
Backcountry Most of the park would be classified as back
country. There are relatively few facilities outside of the
campground, baring a few composting toilets in more popular areas.