• 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 - 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 »

  • USFS Access Road and Trail Closures

    The following USFS trails providing backcountry access to the park service complex are closed due to Lone Mountain and Carlton Complex Fires: Twisp Pass, South Creek, Reynolds Creek, War Creek, Summit. The Twisp River Road is closed west of Eagle Creek. More »

Glaciers / Glacial Features

Nature and Science

Glacial ice is a unique and beautiful shade of blue.

Glaciers glisten as the most striking mountaintop feature of the North Cascades. Boasting over 300 glaciers and countless snowfields, the North Cascades National Park Service Complex is one of the snowiest places on earth and the most heavily glaciated area in the United States outside of Alaska. Glaciers form when more snow accumulates in winter than melts or evaporates during the following summer. As the snow compacts into ice, it slowly moves downhill. As glaciers move, they gouge and scrape the land redefining the landscape.
The North Cascades glaciers may be disappearing; most have shrunk dramatically during the last century. This is due to the combined effects of less precipitation and warmer summers, which most scientists now attribute to global warming. Glaciers mirror the trends of climate change, resulting in life changes through soil development and distribution of vegetation. Glaciers are indicators of climate changes such as temperature and precipitation. As reservoirs of snow from past winters, pollutants may wash into mountain lakes and streams where they enter the food chain. Salmon and other aquatic life, along with plant and animal life could encounter difficultiesand dramatic change as glaciers disappear.
 
 

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

North Cascades NPSC has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states. More than half the glaciers in the 48 states are concentrated in this mountainous wilderness region called the North Cascades.