Glacial mountains and lake landscapes
According to ehuacom, North Cascades National Park is located in Washington State, in the far Northwest of the United States. North Cascades National Park borders Canada. The sanctuary includes a series of very high mountains called the Cascade Range. The mountains of the Cascades are of volcanic origin. Visitors can also access the North Cascades Conservation Area from neighboring Canada. The protected region has a size of 2,045 km². The national park was founded in the North Cascades Mountains in 1968. Just 20,000 tourists visit the high mountain North Cascades National Park a year. Compared to the other national parks in the USA, this is a relatively modest number of visitors. On the other hand, North Cascades National Park includes only the higher elevation, somewhat life-threatening regions for people of the Cascade Range. The closest city to the national park is the capital of the state of Washington -Seattle.
Mountain panorama with wet meadow in North Cascades National Park
Different regions of the national park
The extensive “Skagit Valley” runs through the North Cascades National Park. This region with three reservoirs divides the protected area into a northern and a southern unit. The Skagit Valley, formed by the Skagit River, is protected as “Ross Lake” National Recreation Area. Ross Lake is a reservoir. The reservoirs are used to generate electricity to supply the metropolitan area of Seattle and also have a flood protection function for the following, lower-lying regions. The southern portion of North Cascades National Park is protected as “Lake Chelan” National Recreation Area. The two areas mentioned with the protection status “National Recreation Area” are somewhat developed for tourism. The rest of the national park is hardly frequented by tourists, the high mountain region is difficult to access.
Climate in North Cascades National Park
The landscape of the North Cascades National Park is characterized by imposing mountain peaks. There are more than three hundred glaciers to be discovered in the protected area, which is rich in water. Expansive valleys with impressive waterfalls delight every eye. From early autumn to late spring, the western area of the national park is firmly in the hands of winter, with mostly very high snow depths and freezing cold. Due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, tons of snow fall in this area. Only in summer, from June to September, is the protected area relatively snow-free and accessible to tourists.
Small pond near Mount Shuksan in the Cascade Mountains
In the west of the national park there are extensive coniferous forests adapted to the damp and mild climate. The eastern area, the part of the national park protected by the mountain peaks, is drier and much warmer in summer. Especially those who want to visit the hinterland, the northern and western area of the national park, should be prepared for fast and extreme weather changes.
Animals and plants in North Cascades National Park
Wildlife in North Cascades National Park is extraordinarily diverse and plentiful. Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, wolverines, deer, pikas and squirrels are all found in the sanctuary, just to name a few. Bird life is also numerous. Harlequin ducks, ospreys and white-tailed eagles breed in North Cascades National Park.
Impressively powerful mountain peaks in the Cascade Mountain
Around 200 bird species have been counted in the protected region. Due to the abundance of water in the region, there are almost countless species of water-dependent and water-loving insects in the protected area. There are about 20 different species of amphibians and reptiles, and 30 species of fish were also counted. North Cascades National Park has the highest count of plant species of any national park in the United States. Over 1,600 plant species occur in the eight different vegetation levels of the protected area. The number of mosses, lichens and fungi in the national park is also incredibly high.
Leisure activities in the national park
The national park region is only suitable to a limited extent for leisure activities, apart from mountaineering, hiking, fishing and climbing. The national park is ideal for hiking and mountaineering. Horse riding is also very popular where possible. Many visitors explore the sanctuary by boat during the accessible season. Fishing is usually crowned with success due to the abundance of fish. For ornithologists and animal lovers, the national park is a paradise for animal observation.
Camping in the national park
Camping opportunities in North Cascades National Park are very diverse. Tent, RV, car or camper – everything is possible. Camping is permitted in the hinterland of the protected area. Visitor centers at the national park provide a wealth of information for park visitors and campers. Several campgrounds are available in North Cascades National Park, mostly along State Route 20.
Campgrounds along State Route 20
- Colonial Creek Campground
- Newhalem Creek Campground
- Hozomeen Campground
- Goodell Creek Campground
- Gorge Lake Campground
- Newhalem Creek Group Sites
- Upper and Lower Goodell Creek Group Camps