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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

Lightscape / Night Sky

Spend an evening in the wilds of North Cascades and you will rediscover the wonder of utter darkness punctuated by the countless points of light that since the dawn of time have ignited the imagination of humanity. As an increasing number of open spaces are converted to urban or suburban areas, the beauty and wonder of the night sky fades into memory. The universe becomes obscured by the dull electric glow of every street lamp, house light and neon sign that casts its light into the night sky, making places of undisturbed darkness like the North Cascades vital and unique. With over 600,000 acres designated as the Stephen Mather Wilderness, most of the park complex is free from the disturbance of man-made lights. Here the heavens seem to shine with more vigor and vibrance as the wilderness serenades us with its symphony of nighttime activity. Seventy percent of all animal life is nocturnal creating a cacophony of sounds in the darkness—the flutter of wings as the western tanager arrives in darkness from Mexico to breed; the nibbling of a field mouse foraging for food; the silent sound of predator stalking prey as the wind sings a soft melody among the treetops. This is the music of the wilderness at night—a perfect complement to the spectacle of the stars.

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