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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

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  • Lone Mountain Fire - Trail Closures

    The Lone Mountain Fire in North Cascades National Park is approximately 5 mi NW of Stehekin in the Boulder Creek drainage. Boulder Creek and War Creek Trails are closed. Rainbow Loop Trail is in-use as a staging area and closed to public use. More »

  • USFS closes Easy Pass Trail from State Route 20

    Due to fire activity near the trail, the US Forest Service has closed the Easy Pass trail and trailhead on State Route 20. This area has been receiving precipitation. The highway remains open.

Air Quality

Views from Thornton Lakes and Trapper's Peak. Photo Credit: NPS/NOCA Staff

Looking down into a hazy Skagit Valley from Trappers Peak.


Recognizing the value of the fresh mountain air of the North Cascades, Congress designated North Cascades National Park as a Class I area, affording it the highest degree of air quality protection. Unfortunately, the park lies in the path of prevailing westerly winds blowing from rapidly growing urban-industrial and agricultural areas in Puget Sound. The mark of humankind's activity can be found everywhere within the park. Windborne pollutants are deposited on glaciers in the park via precipitation. As the ice melts, water carries the pollutants into the food chain, moving from tiny aquatic insects called macroinvertebrates to fish to land mammals and eventually even back to humans.

Consequently, park managers are cooperatively involved with the US Geological Survey, the National Park Service's Air Resources Division and others to assess air pollution impacts and protect air quality related resources. The air resources management program at North Cascades includes monitoring, research and data dissemination. Pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, acid deposition, mercury and pesticides have been monitored in the park. The park and cooperators have also studied the impact of those pollutants on visibility, water quality, vegetation and wildlife. Data are used to inform management strategies and regulatory activities that affect park air quality.

Did You Know?

Cascading stream

The North Cascades are well known for the abundant waterfalls that lace the mountains. Two of the best known waterfalls are Gorge Falls between Newhalem and Diablo along State Route 20 and Rainbow Falls in the Stehekin Valley.