The first two parks I visited in Washington were amazing, but North Cascades was by far my favorite. Located on the border of Canada, North Cascades boasts remote wilderness, glacier water, and virtually no crowds.
With no cell service anywhere in the park, North Cascades feels more secluded than many of the other National Parks I visited. I entered through the tiny town of Marblemount, the last stop for gas or groceries before entering the park.
The first night I stayed at Marble Creek Campground, a first come, first served campground surrounded by towering trees, and a flowing mint tinted river. A ranger suggested I check out the Hidden Lake hike, which is a 9-mile trip with a 4,000ft elevation difference. It offers amazing views and a massive challenge. It also has about a four mile drive uphill on an unpaved, steep, and narrow road- something I should’ve known before driving the mini up it. (we made it though)
Of course when I got to the lake it was covered with fog, but what are you gonna do? It was still gorgeous and I felt like a beast for tramping 4,000 ft up.
The next day I headed to Colonial Creek Campground, which borders Diablo Lake. Created by a dam of the Skagit River, Diablo Lake boasts teal glacier water and perfect boating.
I did a hike through part of the Pacific Crest Trail to Cutthroat Pass. Among passing rain storms, the sun came out to highlight the jagged beauty of the North Cascades.
Also, now I can say I’ve hiked part of the PCT.
Near the North Cascades, about a 45 minute drive from Colonial Campground is Mount Baker, which also forms Baker Lake. A family friendly environment, Baker Lake was full of boats, swimmers, and kayakers.
Maple Pass Loop was the last hike that I did in North Cascades. Located right off of highway 20, Maple Pass Loop is approximately a 9 mile loop, that encompasses Rainy Lake, and Lake Ann. It passes over both Heather Pass, and Rainy Pass. I started around sunrise and was not disappointed.
A still reflection on Rainy Lake.
North Cascades was one of my favorite parks of the whole trip. The massive young mountains, teal aqua glacier water, and seclusion make this park unlike any other in the United States. For anyone in Washington, North Cascades is a must go. Make sure to buy a nice map though, the normal parks map is not very detailed. I used National Geographic’s map, loved it, and of course held onto it to plan future adventures.