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

    Diablo Lake will be drawn down 3 vertical feet for facility repairs from October 1-15. 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 »

  • Lone Mountain Fire - National Park Service 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 Trail is closed. More »

River Valleys and Lakes

A Mountain Lake

Water is the essence of the North Cascades. Small trickles and rivulets tumble from glaciers and snowfields to join together as rushing creeks. These tributary streams merge into the mighty rivers of the western slope. The east side of the range receives less rainfall and therefore has fewer glaciers, creeks and rivers.

Hundreds of small lakes, isolated jewels accessible only by arduous cross-country hiking, are scattered throughout the North Cascades. Many of these lakes are tarns, remnants of the alpine glaciers that once covered the North Cascades. Mountain lakes are rich reservoirs of life surrounded by marshes and meadows. Voracious dragonfly nymphs are common in streams and lakes, as are caddisfly and mayfly larvae. Rainbow and cutthroat trout have been introduced into many high lakes, where they feed upon abundant aquatic insects.

The larger lakes, including Ross Lake and Lake Chelan, host breeding populations of osprey and other fish- eating birds. Common mergansers, large diving ducks, are frequently seen along rivers, as are great blue herons and spotted sandpipers. Osprey fish the rivers and lakes. They dive from hundreds of feet above the water, then rise with a struggling trout clutched tightly in their talons.


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.