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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • 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 »

  • Closures of USFS roads and trails that access North Cascades NP and Lake Chelan NRA

    The following U.S. Forest Service trails are closed due to the Lone Mountain and Carlton Complex Fires: Twisp Pass Tr., South Creek Tr., Reynolds Creek Tr., War Creek Tr., Summit Tr. The Twisp River Rd. 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?

Stephen Mather Wilderness comprises 93% of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. About 400 miles of trail provide access to this rugged Wilderness.