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North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park




Location: Bellingham  Map

Area: 684,000 acres (1,069 sq mi)

Official site

North Cascades National Park information center:

Tel: (360) 873 4500x39

When to come:

late July to October

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 National Park)

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 the campground.



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.

There are a number of campgrounds throughout the park, administered by the National Park Service. Most offer potable water, dump stations, and firewood.

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.




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