North Cascades National Park Ready for Summer
"The park is open and it is a great place to explore with family and friends," announced North Cascades National Park Service Complex Superintendent Chip Jenkins, "so come on up for adventure, fun, and learning." Residents of the Pacific Northwest are encouraged to put memories of floods, heavy snow, and wind storms behind and plan for summer fun. "Thanks to supplemental funding from Congress, crews have worked hard to get trails cleared and campgrounds ready for the summer," explained Jenkins.
Scenic drivers can tour the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) through the park and over Washington Pass. Along the way, sightseers are treated to majestic views at overlooks along the Skagit River, below Gorge Creek Falls, and above Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. Restaurants and shopping await in the numerous historic communities, such as Concrete and Winthrop, on the highway.
The park is also well known for its opportunities for solitude. Nearly 400 miles of hiking trails and over 100 backcountry campsites accessible to hiking, boating, and stock use are available for exploration. All overnight stays in the backcountry require a free permit that must be obtained in person at the visitor/information station nearest the departure point. Wilderness travel information is available at http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm
Start your visit by talking with a friendly park ranger at one of these centers:
· Headquarters Information Center in Sedro-Woolley – open daily 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
· Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount – open daily: Sunday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hours expand June 24th to Sunday through Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
· North Cascades National Park Visitor Center near Newhalem – open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hours expand June 24th to 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
· Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin – open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Car Access Campgrounds
Numerous car access campgrounds are located along the North Cascades Highway:
· Goodell Creek Campground is located along the Skagit River. Pit toilets, water, no reservations. Milepost 120.
· Newhalem Creek Campground is located between the Skagit River and the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center. Flush toilets, water, easy hiking trails, weekend ranger programs. Reservations available at www.recreation.gov. Milepost 120.
· Gorge Lake Campground is a small campground near Diablo with six sites on the shore of Gorge Lake. Pit toilets, no water, no reservations. Milepost 126.
· Colonial Creek Campground is located on the shore of Diablo Lake. Flush toilets, water, hiking trails, daily ranger programs, no reservations. Milepost 131.
· Group camping is available in the Goodell Creek Group Campground and the Newhalem Creek Campground. Reservations available at www.recreation.gov. Milepost 120.
Park Rangers offer a variety of programs at the Golden West Visitor Center, North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, Colonial Creek Campground, and Newhalem Creek Campground. Check area bulletin boards or http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/events.htm for updated schedules.
North Cascades Environmental Learning Center
The North Cascades Institute works towards its mission to "restore northwest ecosystems through education" in partnership with North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Day and overnight classes for adults and families take place at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on the shore of Diablo Lake. The Institute also offers free canoe and hiking day trips departing from the Center on numerous Saturdays and Sundays this summer. Visit www.ncascades.org or call 360-856-5700 x.209 for updated information.
Access to Stehekin is by ferry, floatplane, or hiking. Visitors can hike the area’s many trails, rent a bicycle, raft the Stehekin River, horseback ride, kayak on Lake Chelan, attend a ranger program, or soak up the historic ambiance of the community. Knowledgeable park rangers can be found at the Golden West Visitor Center each day to help you plan your next activity. Visit www.nps.gov/archive/noca/focus/focus.htm or call 360-854-7365 x.14 for more information.
Stehekin Landing Resort
The North Cascades Stehekin Lodge reopens at the Stehekin Landing Resort June 6th with over $550,000 of improvements. This new concessionaire still has rooms available for the summer. Guests are treated to rustic comfort in rooms overlooking Lake Chelan in the remote community of Stehekin.
Visit www.stehekinlanding.com or call 509-682-4494 for more information.
Diablo Lake Adventure
Seattle City Light has been offering these popular tours for nearly 80 years. The Diablo Lake Adventure departs from the Skagit Tours Information Center in Newhalem at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July and August (Saturdays and Sundays in June and September). The tours feature a narrated bus ride through the Skagit River Gorge and a cruise on scenic Diablo Lake aboard the Alice Ross III. The Diablo Dam Good Dinner tour departs at 12:30 on Mondays and Thursdays in July and August and includes an all-you-can eat dinner in the Diablo Cookhouse. Visit www.skagittours.com or call 206-684-3030 for more information.
For current trail information, visit http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/trail-conditions.htm or call 360-854-7245.
The Cascade River Road is closed at mile post 20 due to two washouts from winter storms. Hikers may park at the closure and hike the three miles (six miles round trip) to the Cascade Pass Trailhead. Park crews expect to have repairs in place to allow vehicle access to the Cascade Pass Trailhead in early August.
Upper Stehekin Valley Road
The Upper Stehekin Valley Road is closed at mile post 12.9. Shuttle service is available from the Stehekin Landing to High Bridge (mile post 11.2). View the schedule at http://www.stehekinlanding.com/files/documents/Shuttle_Schedule_2007.jpg
Websites and Phone Numbers
· North Cascades National Park: www.nps.gov/noca, 360-854-7200
· North Cascades Institute: www.ncascades.org, 360-856-5700 x.209
· Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest: www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs, 360-856-5700
· Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests: www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka, 509-664-9200
· Seattle City Light: www.skagittours.com, 206-684-3030
· Concrete Chamber of Commerce: www.concrete-wa.com, 360-853-7042
· North Cascades Business Association: www.marblemount.com, 360-873-4150
· Winthrop Chamber of Commerce: www.winthropwashington.com, 509-996-2125
· Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce: www.lakechelan.com, 509-682-3503
· Recreation.gov: www.recreation.gov, 1-877-444-6777
· Stehekin Landing Resort: www.stehekinlanding.com, 509-682-4494
· Lady of the Lake: www.ladyofthelake.com, 509-682-4584
Did You Know?
North Cascades National Park Service Complex includes 684,000 acres near the crest of the Cascade Mountains from the Canadian border south to Lake Chelan.