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 »
Settlers and Explorers
In the mid- to late-1800s, many expeditions penetrated the heartland of the North Cascades, including Lieutenant Henry Pierce who discovered gold-bearing quartz near Eldorado Peak in 1882.
Early settlers faced many challenges in the rugged environment. Nonetheless, settlements occurred in the Cascade, Skagit, and Stehekin River valleys, including the 25-room Fields Hotel in Stehekin which was dismantled in 1926.
Settlement along the three major river systems, the Stehekin, Cascade and Skagit, continued through the 1880s. Early settlers faced many challenges, for the rugged environment made this a harsh land to live in. The majority of early settlers were not farmers but shopkeepers and innkeepers who came to sell goods and services to the trappers and prospectors who first ventured up the rivers. Close to the mouth of the Stehekin River was the final stop for steamboats bringing prospectors and their supplies up Lake Chelan. Prospectors stayed in a small boarding house called the "Argonaut" before venturing into the mountains. The boarding house was sold in 1892 to M. E. Field who eventually transformed it into a 25-room hotel. By 1902, the town of Stehekin had formed with a post office and schoolhouse. Marblemount, at the confluence of the Cascade and Skagit rivers, was established as a base for miners; the first wagon road was built into the area in 1892.
Did You Know?
Stephen Mather Wilderness comprises 93% of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. About 400 miles of trail provide access to this rugged Wilderness.