• 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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  • State Route 20 closed at Mile Post 134, Ross Dam

    After a brief closure at Newhalem due to an avalanche and unstable conditions, SR 20 has re-opened to its normal winter closure point at MP 134, Ross Dam. The highway will remain closed from Ross Dam to MP 171 (Silver Star Creek) until spring re-opening. More »

  • Ross Dam Haul Road Closure Continues

    A short segment of the Ross Dam Haul Road between the Diablo Lake suspension bridge and the tunnel remains closed to public use due to continued recovery following a March 2010 landslide. The closure will remain in effect through 2014. More »

  • Notice of planned work for the Cascade River Road, fall 2014

    Visitors planning to access the park via the Cascade River Road after Labor Day should be advised that the Park Service is planning a fall closure of this road at Eldorado Creek (3 miles before the end of the road) in order to perform permanent repairs. 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?

lupine is a common flower in dry sunny areas

In addition to Wilderness, Recreation Areas and National Park designations there are also five Research Natural Areas in the complex: Silver Lake, Pyramid Lake, Boston Glacier, Stetattle Creek and Big Beaver Valley.