• 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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  • State Route 20 closed at Mile Post 134, Ross Dam

    After a brief closure at Newhalem due to an avalanche and unstable conditions, SR 20 has re-opened to its normal winter closure point at MP 134, Ross Dam. The highway will remain closed from Ross Dam to MP 171 (Silver Star Creek) until spring re-opening. More »

  • Ross Dam Haul Road Closure Continues

    A short segment of the Ross Dam Haul Road between the Diablo Lake suspension bridge and the tunnel remains closed to public use due to continued recovery following a March 2010 landslide. The closure will remain in effect through 2014. More »

  • Notice of planned work for the Cascade River Road, fall 2014

    Visitors planning to access the park via the Cascade River Road after Labor Day should be advised that the Park Service is planning a fall closure of this road at Eldorado Creek (3 miles before the end of the road) in order to perform permanent repairs. More »

State Route 20 Opening Kicks off Recreation Season

Tootsie Clark opens the gate as a part of the annual opening tradition
Tootsie Clark traditionally opens the gate

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Date: May 1, 2008
Contact: Charles Beall, 360 854-7302


Today’s opening of the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) through Washington Pass ceremoniously begins the "busy season" in North Cascades National Park Service Complex. "This is an exciting day as we celebrate with the park’s gateway communities the increased opportunities for recreation and fun made possible by the highway’s opening," said Chief Ranger Kinsey Shilling.

The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, near the town of Newhalem, is open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning May 3. The center features exhibits, theater presentations, and is staffed by park rangers and volunteers to help answer questions and to suggest recreational activities. The center also provides access to the scenic Sterling Munro Overlook and a network of easy hiking trails such as the 1/3 mile Rock Shelter Trail and the 1.8 mile River Loop Trail.

The Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount is currently open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center opens daily beginning May 18, with expanded hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hours expand further beginning June 29 to Sunday through Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The center features trip planning information and is the main location for backcountry users to obtain permits which are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Updated trail information is available online at www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/hiking.htm.

Scenic drivers can tour State Route 20 through the park and enjoy Ross Lake Overlooks with views of Jack Mountain and Hozomeen Peak, which towers a mere two miles south of the Canadian border. By mid-May when the snow melts, people looking for short walks will access the Happy Creek Forest Walk, a 1/3 mile wheelchair accessible boardwalk loop trail through a western hemlock forest and the Ruby Creek Trail, a 3/4 mile round trip walk from the East Bank Trailhead to Ruby Creek. Both trails feature interpretive exhibits that explore the ecological relationships of the forest and the mining history of the area. Hikers can now access several longer trails from the East Bank Trailhead: travel east 3.3 miles on the Ruby Creek Trail to the confluence of Granite and Canyon Creeks and the Canyon Creek Trailhead (USFS), or turn west after the bridge to join the main East Bank Trail, which meanders 31 miles north to Hozomeen and provides short and long early-season hiking options.

The Goodell Creek Campground near Newhalem and Gorge Lake Campground near Diablo are open. The Colonial Creek Campground, on the shore of Diablo Lake, is also open but portions remain under snow. Water will be available at the Colonial Creek Campground May 21 and at the Goodell Creek Campground May 23. The Newhalem Creek Campground will open May 23. The Goodell Creek and Newhalem Creek Group Camps will also open May 23. Reservations for these group camps and for Loop C of Newhalem Creek Campground can be made online at www.recreation.gov.

The North Cascades Institute’s spring and summer catalog of seminars, programs, and events is now available and contains a variety of offerings in the park such as Free Day Trips, Diablo Down Time, and Spring Birding Weekend. The Institute also invites people to its Annual Picnic May 31 at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. Catalogs can be browsed and downloaded from www.ncascades.org.

Did You Know?

lupine is a common flower in dry sunny areas

In addition to Wilderness, Recreation Areas and National Park designations there are also five Research Natural Areas in the complex: Silver Lake, Pyramid Lake, Boston Glacier, Stetattle Creek and Big Beaver Valley.