Time to Plan for Some Fun in Your National Park

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Date: May 17, 2010
Contact: Charles Beall, 360-854-7302

“Now is a great time to plan for some fun in your national park,” announced North Cascades National Park Complex Superintendent Chip Jenkins, “so gather your family and friends and sample the variety of activities that your national park has to offer.”

No matter your interest, your park has an activity for you.

Do you like leisurely scenic drives? Then tour the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) through the park and over Washington Pass. Along the way, you will be treated to majestic views at overlooks along the Skagit River, below Gorge Creek Falls, and above Diablo Lake and Ross Lake.

Do you seek adventure? Then nearly 400 miles of hiking trails and over 100 backcountry campsites accessible to hiking, boating, and stock use are available for your exploration. Pick up a free backcountry permit in person at the visitor/information station nearest the departure point.

Do you prefer easy hikes? Then wander one of the numerous short hikes on family-friendly trails that depart from the North Cascades Visitor Center near Newhalem (State Route 20, Milepost 120). Maps of these trails are located on bulletin boards throughout the Newhalem area.

Do you enjoy vacations in unique locations? Then cruise 50-mile Lake Chelan to one of the most remote locations in the lower 48 states aboard the Lady of the Lake to Stehekin and relax at the Stehekin Landing Resort. Or, venture to the Ross Lake Resort and sleep in one of the cabins afloat on Ross Lake.

Information/Visitor Centers
Start your visit by talking with a friendly park ranger at one of these centers:

  • Park and Forest Information Center in Sedro-Woolley – open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round; open daily 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 22 through October 10.
  • 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 on June 27 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. Hours change again September 7 through October 17: Sunday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed for the season on October 18.
  • North Cascades National Park Visitor Center near Newhalem – open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hours expand on July 2 to daily 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hours return to daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on September 7. Closed for the season on November 1.
  • Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin – open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning May 22.

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. Open year-round. Water and garbage service available May 20 through September 27. 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, ranger programs. Reservations available at https://www.recreation.gov. Open May 20 through September 27. 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. Open year-round. Milepost 126.
  • Colonial Creek Campground is located on the shore of Diablo Lake. Flush toilets, water, hiking trails, ranger programs, no reservations. Open year-round. Water and garbage service available May 27 through October 12. Milepost 131.
  • Group camping is available in the Goodell Creek Group Campground and the Newhalem Creek Campground. Reservations available at https://www.recreation.gov. Open May 20 through September 7. Milepost 120.

Ranger Programs
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 https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/events.htm for updated schedules.

Junior Ranger Program
A dynamic new Junior Ranger Program is now available for kids and families visiting their national park. Four age-appropriate booklets introduce the unique natural and cultural history of the North Cascades through a series of fun activities and are organized around a specific theme to build connections and knowledge of this national park. Pick up a free Junior Ranger activity booklet at park visitor information center or download a copy at https://www.nps.gov/noca/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm. Kids are also encouraged to become a WebRanger by visiting https://www.nps.gov/webrangers and playing some of the more than 50 games that teach about national parks.

North Cascades Environmental Learning Center
The North Cascades Institute’s 2010 catalog of classes and programs is now available. Copies are available at www.ncascades.org/get_involved/request_catalog.html or by calling 360-854-2599.

The new Base Camp program is an exciting opportunity to explore and learn about the magnificent North Cascades ecosystem from professional naturalists and instructors while enjoying the comforts of our campus in the heart of North Cascades National Park. Learn more at www.ncascades.org/basecamp.

Here is a sampling of upcoming programs:
  • May 21-23: Hands to Work: Learning Center Stewardship Weekend – only $25-50! Lend a hand and engage in a weekend of valuable stewardship work contributing to the park’s well-being by way of shovel, shears, and some elbow grease. There will be projects for all abilities and interests, from thinning and weeding to trail maintenance and mulching. Your hard work will be rewarded with hearty and delicious meals and opportunities to head out for a sunset stroll, relax in the library, or spend an evening around the campfire sharing stories of this place. More information is available at http://www.ncascades.org/programs/seminars/course.html?workshop_id=1009 .
  • May 22: Free Day Trip. Ramble up a forest trail to discover a secret waterfall. Paddle on emerald-green Diablo Lake with views of glaciers, tiny pine-studded islands and the impressive Skagit River gorge. Explore the award-winning North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and learn more about the Institute and the wide variety of opportunities to connect with nature available to people of all ages and abilities. More information is available at http://www.ncascades.org/daytrips.
  • June 4-6: Spring Birding Weekend. Discover the diversity of avian life that wings into the Pacific Northwest every spring during its annual migration from Mexico and Central and South America to summer grounds in the north. Join expert birders Libby Mills and Jim Alt to gain deeper awareness of those wonderful creatures that bring beauty and song to our days. From a base in the North Cascades, explore forests, meadows and meandering streams in the Methow and Skagit valleys. More information is available at
  • June 18-20: June Family Getaway. Spend quality time together with your family while enjoying the invigorating mountain air and starry night skies of North Cascades National Park. Spend a weekend in the mountains but leave your tent and camp stove at home – enjoy comfortable accommodations in cozy lodges and delicious, healthful meals, with the tastes of young diners in mind. More information is available at http://www.ncascades.org/family.
  • June 25-27: June Diablo Downtime. Hiking and Canoeing, Yoga and Slow Food. This is an opportunity for you and your friends to retreat to the North Cascades, unplug and unwind. Is your ideal day to spend a morning in asanas with our yoga instructor, hiking to majestic views of nearby glaciers with naturalist guides, reading and journal-writing in our library, exploring the lake by canoe, or taking an afternoon snooze – or perhaps a blend of all of the above? This is your weekend to spend as you choose. More information is available at http://www.ncascades.org/downtime

Access to Stehekin is by ferry, floatplane, or hiking. Visitors can hike the area’s many trails, camp, 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 https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/stehekin.htm or call 360-854-7365 x.14 for more information.

Stehekin Landing Resort
The Stehekin Landing Resort treats guests to rustic comfort in rooms overlooking Lake Chelan. The Resort has kitchen units available for nightly rentals and the store is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lake view rooms and shuttle transportation are available on the weekends. Lunch in the restaurant is available daily, as is dinner on Friday and Saturday and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

Beginning June 11 (and through September 30), the Resort will be full service: all lodging units available; daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant; store open daily 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; full shuttle service. The Resort will also be open with limited services through October. Visit http://www.stehekinlanding.com or call 509-682-4494 for more information.

Stehekin Campgrounds
In addition to the Stehekin Landing Resort, several camping options are available to serve overnight visitors, all of which are free:
  • Purple Point Campground, located at the Stehekin Landing, is open year-round. Flush toilets and water are available through October 31. No reservations.
  • Harlequin Campground, located four miles from the Stehekin Landing, is open for primitive camping year-round (pit toilets, no water). No reservations.
  • Weaver Point Campground, accessible from Lake Chelan, is open year-round to hikers, and is reachable to boats when the lake level is sufficient for dock access. Water. No reservations.
  • Many backcountry sites are currently snow-free. A complete list of backcountry and boat-in sites accessible from Stehekin is available at https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/camping-in-stehekin.htm. A free backcountry permit is required.
Rainbow Falls
Ride one of the new “vintage” buses up the Stehekin Valley to marvel at 312-foot Rainbow Falls. Learn about the natural and cultural history of this special place from your driver or a park ranger. $7 for adults, $4 for children age 6-11, free for children under 6.

This unique area offers camping, hiking, boating, and fishing at the international border with Canada and Skagit Valley Provincial Park. The free, primitive campground (pit toilets, water) is open May 21 through September 27 and ranger programs begin July 2. Access to Hozomeen is via a 40-mile gravel road from Hope, British Columbia.

The park offers nearly 400 miles of hiking trails – many of which remain snow-covered well into the summer. Early season favorites include the Lakeshore Trail along Lake Chelan and the East Bank Trail along Ross Lake. If you are heading into the backcountry in the early season, keep in mind that you could encounter a wide variety of conditions – from new or deep snow to mudslides, bridges out, downfall, etc. Carry extra food and clothing, and leave an itinerary with family or friends. 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. For current trail information, visit https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/trail-conditions.htm or call 360-854-7245.

Celebrate the North Cascades!
Bring your family and friends to REI in Seattle (222 Yale Ave. N.) on May 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a fun evening exploring the North Cascades. Talk with North Cascades National Park rangers, and connect with organizations like the North Cascades Institute, The Mountaineers, REI, Washington Trails Association and The Wilderness Society to learn about stewardship opportunities or plan your summer outings. Enter to win gear, North Cascades trips and other prizes for your outdoor adventures, and enjoy refreshments. Preview the original KCTS-9 documentary, North Cascades: People, Places and Stories, which chronicles our connection with the land and how the North Cascades define us as a culture. More information about this event is available at http://experiencewilderness.org/news/celebrate-the-north-cascades.

Websites and Phone Numbers

Last updated: December 19, 2019

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Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley , WA 98284


360 854-7200

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