• 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 »

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?

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.