North Cascades National Park, Washington (with Map & Photos)

North Cascades National Park is famous for its snowy peaks and lakes with emerald water. And of course, glaciers and lakes are the lifeblood of Washington State. Water comes from glaciers, and dams are built on the lakes, which means that there will be electricity and the state of Washington will be clearly visible from space, sparkling in the dark on NASA images. But even in the light of day, with ordinary human eyes, it is worth considering in order to understand that it was not in vain that we climbed so far north during our trip by car across the United States. We were practically on the border with Canada and wanted to cross the Cascade Mountains to continue our journey through the national parks of America.

North Cascades National Park Washington State
North Cascades National Park Washington State

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades is a US national park in the Washington State, near the Canadian border. It has alpine landscapes - alpine meadows, coniferous forests, glaciers, mountain rivers and lakes. The North Cascades is the largest national park in the United States, with the exception of the state of Alaska. And the territories surrounding the North Cascades National Park have the status of National Forests.

The North Cascades National Park is primarily famous for its mountains. The most spectacular mountain pass we've seen is Washington Pass on the western border of the park. The highest point in the park is Mount Baker.

North Cascades National Park Washington State
North Cascades National Park Washington State

Not to mention the magnificent lakes of the Northern Cascades. There are a lot of them, and they are all very beautiful! With our own eyes we saw two lakes - Diablo and Gorj. But park visitors can also enjoy the views and trails around Lake Ross, which is so large that part of it is in Canada. And of course, the largest lake in the state is Chelan. It is also the third deepest in the US.

The first two places are occupied by Crater Lake in Oregon, followed by Tahoe in California. Both of these lakes are very beautiful and worth a visit.

In the north, the North Cascades National Park borders on the provincial parks of British Columbia (Canada) Skagit Valley provincial park and Chilliwack lake provincial park, and purely theoretically, you can start the track from the Canadian side and enter the USA if you have visas and opportunities. The dirt road crosses the border at Lake Ross at the Hozomeen visitor center.

North Cascades National Park Washington State
North Cascades National Park Washington State

So you can continue trekking already in the Northern Cascades - walk along the tracks in the United States that lead to the dam on Lake Ross. This requires a special permit obtained in visitor centers. I don’t know if citizens of other countries can cross the border between the USA and Canada in this way if they have visas from both countries, but American and Canadian wilderness trekkers certainly do this.

In the North Cascades National Park, we visited the following sites:

  • The magnificent Lake Diablo, formed by the Diablo Dam
  • Spectacular mountain pass Washington Pass in the eastern part of the park
  • South shore of Lake Chelan, which is the third deepest lake in America. The city of the same name is famous for the opportunity to spend a weekend outside the national park and ride on its yachts and boats.

How to get to the park

Highway 20, also called the North Cascades Highway, runs through North Cascades National Park in Washington State. If you are coming from Seattle or Canada, the park entrance is near Mount Vernon, and further east. And if you drive from the depths of Washington state, from Spokane, then you need to get to highway 20 by driving along highway 2, along 97th. turning at the town of Okanogan. This road is usually closed from November to April.

North Cascades National Park Map