• 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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  • 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 »


Salamanders, frogs and toads thrive in North Cascades National Park. Twelve species of amphibians can be found in its streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. Most species favor the still waters of the latter, but two species that brave the swift streams and rivers are the Pacific giant salamander and the tailed frog. The Pacific giant salamander is found in stream tributaries of the Skagit River on the west side of the Park. The tailed frog is often found in the cold, swift waters of small steep gradient streams at higher elevations such as Happy Creek. At these higher altitudes and much colder average temperatures, the tailed frog tadpoles may take three to four years to completely metamorphose into the adult stage. The tadpoles are superbly adapted for life in swift water. Its mouth parts form a sucker like disk enabling them to cling to rock surfaces while foraging for algae. They can even climb vertical rock faces in this manner under swift water.

The majority of amphibians prefer the vastly different habitat of ponds, lakes and wetlands. The western toad, Northwestern salamander, long-toed salamander, rough-skinned newt and Pacific treefrog are a few of the species that breed in these fertile habitats. Most spend the early part of their lives almost entirely in the water until they are fully developed and capable of migrating to land. The Ensatina, however, is a small delicate terrestrial breeding salamander that lays its eggs in moist holes in the ground at lower elevations. The Ensatina has a constriction at the base of its tail, which allows the tail to break off if it gets attacked. The detached tail wiggles violently to distract the predator letting the tailless salamander to escape and live to regenerate another tail.


Additional Resources:

Reptile and Amphibian Checklist (PDF 269 kb)

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.