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North Cascades National Park is one of Washington State’s national parks. This remote park is one of the lesser known parks in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make for an amazing visit. The National Park forms part of the North Cascades Complex, which also includes Ross Lake National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. If you’re looking to explore, here are six great things to do.
4. Visit Lake Diablo
Diablo Lake is a gorgeous body of water known for its brilliant turquoise colors. Located off Highway 20 – the only paved road through the park, this is a great option for those who want to see the area but also not go too far off the beaten path. It’s also a great option for both cars and hikers of all abilities – no need to worry about bumpy dirt roads or have professional hiking gear. You can view the lake from a lookout point off Highway 20. If you’re looking to get your steps in, there’s also a 7.6-mile round-trip lakeshore hike that’s popular year-round.
2. Consider a Backpacking Trip
Here’s an option for the more desert-savvy visitor! Due to the remote location of the North Cascades, it is not recommended to go backpacking unless you are prepared and have a solid plan. If you are, however, the park offers countless options ranging from short overnight trips – consider hiking up to Diablo Lake and camping at one of the campgrounds there for the night before returning the next morning – to longer trips. long. There are also a few options for backcountry park rides, though you should be sure to check what permits are needed and what the conditions are like—some areas remain snowy year-round.
3. Go on a scenic drive
Looking to enjoy the beauty of the North Cascades from the comfort of your car, or catch your breath after exploring? Consider a scenic drive down Highway 20. Although that alone probably isn’t a good reason to go to the park—it will take less than an hour to drive through that stretch of road. Still, it’s a great addition to the trip to see a bit more of the park even if you don’t have time to explore more. In addition, there are several scenic overlooks along the way, including the Ross Lake Overlook.
4. Go camping
One of the best ways to experience the area is camping there! There is a wide variety of camping options when it comes to the North Cascades complex. If you’re looking for a place to drive, there are several located off Highway 20, which runs through the park. Such campsites, which include Newhalem Creek Campground, can be booked online. While the park may be less popular than some other national parks, it is recommended that you make plans as far in advance as possible to ensure you have time to obtain any necessary reservations or permits.
5. Go Hiking
It should come as no surprise that the North Cascades are home to countless hiking opportunities. Despite the park’s remote location, it offers a wide variety of hikes for almost all skill levels. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly hike that will offer great views along the way, check out the Happy Creek Forest Walk. The first part of the walk is 0.3 miles long and is wheelchair accessible thanks to boardwalks. You can then choose to continue on for an additional 2-mile round trip that will take you past a beautiful waterfall with minimal incline – perfect for hikers of all levels.
6. Go by boat
One last thing to do in the North Cascades is go boating! There are several stunning lakes in the area, including the previously mentioned Ross Lake and Diablo Lake. Kayaking and canoeing are both popular at Diablo Lake, and there are even some people who choose to boat over to their campsite. However, if you don’t have a boat of your own, you’re not out of luck. Rentals are available from Ross Lake Resort.
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