North Cascades National Park, Washington State: Guide and Photo Gallery

camping, hiking, National Parks, Pacific North West, Uncategorized, Washington State

North Cascades National Park is heaven on earth.

It hugs the Canadian boarder, you’ll even get some “Welcome to Canada” texts if you happen to have service any point!

It encompasses serene alpine lakes, endless mountain peaks and dense forest! Everywhere you drive or go is another breathtaking view! It never ends. For Forests floors are filled with ferns and moss. I’m sure there are tons of huckleberries too but we went a little to early in the year for that!

The hikes we went on were very dangerous, we got stuck more than once, so I’m not going to publicly recommend them! If you want the details, feel free to email me or find me on instagram, or Facebook! 

The dense, lush forest of the Cascades. So beautiful!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

Diablo Lake:

This lake is one of the most iconic spots in the North Cascades.

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Yes, the water is this blue in person! It’s breathtaking. This was before we even hiked or camp, just a beautiful stop as you drive thru the park. Every twist and turn has your eye balls exploding out of your head with excitement.

We took these photos at a scenic turnout right off the main road. 

We stayed at a campground just across the lake from the scenic turn out! There was a nice little trail connected to the campground that we went did the first afternoon. It had beautiful views of the lake! There was absolutely no phone service. There was an investigation going on for a missing person and we were spooked so we only stayed at this spot for one night!

The forest there is super dense. You can see how sunny it is outside, but it’s pretty dark still back in the trees! (I’m from WA state so I’m used to it). It also gets super cold at night. Bring winter or warm clothes for night time, even in the summer!

We make sure to bring the Jetboil so we can have hot coffee during the chilly mornings! It’s super lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to bring around. Not sure how I survived without one before with how much I’m hiking and camping.

We also usually do car camping. It’s safer for women and a little warmer and secure than a tent!

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

IMPORTANT!!!

There are both black bears and grizzly bears in these woods. Do not go anywhere without bear spray! I would bring multiple canisters of it to be safe. You can get it at most outdoors stores or get it on amazon! And some knives you can strap to the front of your pack!

Bear Spray on Amazon

We even brought ours to the bathroom every single time. 

The next morning we went up to the small town of Marble Mount. It’s one of the only place with phone service and amenities! Its about 30-minutes from Diablo Lake. We found a map and hoped online to find an awesome hike. Which we did find, it just didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Ooops.

The Amazing Mystery Hike

I’m not sharing this hike location, it’s too dangerous and I don’t want to set anyone up for failure! I’m sure you can find it on the AllTrails App by comparing pictures! 

North Cascades National Park Hike
What’s better than a PB&J on a hamburger bun via mountaintop?!

Were both very experienced hikers, it was just a tricky hike with very high elevation. We probably would have been fine later in the year. We hiked far up the Grand Tetons in July and there was minimal snow! Those few weeks can make a big difference in the mountains.

With any hike you go on in this park, make sure to bring warm clothes. Even if it’s super hot out! The temperature can drop quickly. These mountains aren’t ones to be messed with! We started the hike when it was in the 80’s and we were shivering by the time we got down. We each brought a long sleeve too. Be prepared for temperature changes as the elevation climbs and as the sun fades!

We ended up summiting this peak on accident! Lol. 

Summit a North Cascade Peak
North Cascades National Park

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

It was incredible but we were stuck up there for a long time. The snow is super easy to climb up, and yet super hard to get down! We fell a long ways at one point! It was super steep. We may or may not have been hanging from bushes with our feet dangling at one point…. while massive spiders crawled over out hands. And no, I’m not kidding. We are both terribly afraid of spiders too haha.

Stranded and stressed. Summit Fever got to us.
Rebuilding energy with a snack on the way back down.

Lesson learned (a few years ago): deeply research every hike before you go on them! And don’t summit a Cascade Peak until at least July! (We went in mid June). Always being extra warm clothes, no matter how short or easy the hike may seem.

There wasn’t a gate or people charging money when we went, but things can change over the year so it’s better to prepared for National Park fees. Mt Rainier National Park was surprisingly the same! No gate but there was a big visitors center at the top.

You can get in for free if you have a National Park Service Pass. The pass costs $75 for the entire year, or you can pay anytime you enter but it adds up fast. A lot of parks charge $20 a car. I always get mine renewed every year! The pass also now comes with a parking pass, which hangs from your rear view window.

Stay safe and stay groovy!

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