National Park Vacations
From Grizzly Bears to Glaciers – North Cascades National Park is a naturalist's dream
Almost 400 miles of trails and vast, undeveloped wilderness blanket Washington's North Cascades National Park, home to eight distinctive life zones and thousands of plants and animals. Columbia black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrel, black bear, cougar and bobcat make their home in the park’s mountain forests, along with the elusive gray wolf, Canada lynx and wolverine (listed under the Endangered Species Act). Bald eagles, osprey, Harlequin duck and a variety of neotropical migrant birds feed on fish and amphibians lurking in clear mountain lakes, streams and marshes and highland meadows teem with ferns, lichens, butterflies and dragonflies.
Austin-Lehman’s Best of the Northwest Adventure follows the Cascades Scenic Loop, a 400-mile stretch of highway circling the heart of Washington from the waters of Puget Sound across the Cascade Mountains into the high desert climate of the Columbia River Valley. Hike and bike along wildflower-strewn trails and into sub-alpine zone, soaking up jaw-dropping views and getting up close with the flora and fauna in one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth.
With 684,000 acres of jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 300 glaciers – the highest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48 – Washington’s North Cascades are a hiker's, mountaineer's and nature-watcher's dream. Relax your mind, energize your body ignite the adventurer within as we explore the wonders of North Cascades National Park.
Did You Know…
- The North Cascades are named after the abundant waterfalls that lace the mountains. Two of the best known waterfalls are Gorge Falls between Newhalem and Diablo along State Route 20 and Rainbow Falls in the Stehekin Valley.
- North Cascades National Park Service Complex includes 684,000 acres near the crest of the Cascade Mountains from the Canadian border south to Lake Chelan.
- One of the snowiest places on earth, the westside Cascade Mountains collect more snow than melts each year (forming glaciers). On the east side of the mountains, conditions are much dryer.
- So much snow falls in the mountains in the wintertime that State Route 20 – the only road that traverses the park from east to west – is closed every winter for four or more months.
- North Cascades is home to approximately 75 mammal species, around 21 species of reptiles and amphibians, roughly 200 species of birds and at least 28 species of fish. Recent surveys have documented over 500 types of land insects and approximately 250 aquatic invertebrate species.