• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Highway 20 Will Be Closed East of the Park For Culvert Repairs On Oct 21 & 22.

    Highway 20 will be completely closed between mileposts 147 & 157 (Granite Creek to Rainy Pass) from 6 a.m. Oct. 21 to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. The Easy Pass trailhead will be inaccessible during this time. More »

  • Diablo Lake To Be Drawn Down Three Feet in Oct., Trailer-Launched Boats Affected

    Diablo Lake will be drawn down 3 vertical feet for facility repairs from October 8-17. During the drawdown, boats with trailers will not be able to launch or take boats off the water. Hand-launched vessels will still be able to launch. More »

  • Cascade River Road will be open as normal through fall/winter 2014

    Cascade River Rd. will be open in 2014 until snow conditions make it impassable to vehicles, as normal. The road closure that was planned to begin September 8 has been postponed beyond 2014 due to unforeseen circumstances. More »

Fur Traders

Fur traders, traveling on foot and by canoe, were among the first Euro-Americans to venture into the North Cascades wilderness in the late 1700s.
trapper at Rock Cabin
All those who have lived in the North Cascades have made use of the many natural resources. Commercial exploitation begun with fur trappers of the early nineteenth century and was continued by the miners, loggers and dam builders of the 1900s.

Fur traders, traveling on foot and by canoe, were among the first Euro-Americans to venture into the North Cascades wilderness in the late 1700s. Seeking to follow the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, these explorers entered only the lower reaches of the North Cascades. The earliest recorded crossing of the North Cascades by a Euro-American occurred in 1814. Alexander Ross, a fur trader, crossed Twisp Pass and descended Bridge Creek to the Stehekin River, which he then followed upstream. Finally crossing Cascade Pass, he traced the Cascade River downstream to its confluence with the Skagit River. Maps of Washington Territory in 1860 show large areas still labeled "unexplored."

Many of the early settlers trapped to supplement their income. Trapping was primarily a winter activity -- the most difficult season to be afield in the mountains. The Weaver brothers came to Stehekin primarily to trap animals for a living. They were so successful that they opened a taxidermy business across the river at what is now called Weaver Point. John McMillan, a miner, ran traplines along Big Beaver Creek and the upper Skagit River in the late nineteenth century. Beaver, bear, cougar, wolf, lynx, fisher, marten and fox were all sought by trappers in the North Cascades.
(Adapted from "Sharing the Skagit: An Educator's Guide to the Skagit River Watershed" from the North Cascades Institute. © 1993.)

Did You Know?

Grizzly bear track in North Cascades National Park (1989). Photo Credit: NPS/NOCA/Roger Christophersen

Grizzly bear tracks can be a reliable indicator of species? Grizzly bear and black bear forepaw tracks are distinct from one another and often times better than a photo of the bear to confirm an observation. So don't just look up, look down.