What a gem of a National Park we have with North Cascades. It is technically called North Cascades National Park Complex and includes the National Park, Lake Ross National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Although it’s only about 3 hours from Seattle, it is one of the least visited National Parks, which is surprising as it quickly became one of our favorites.
The turquoise waters of Lake Diablo are striking, caused by a sediment called rock flour (a fine powder caused by glacial erosion) reflecting light. The color almost seems fake, but it is really that color!
The best part of the park is once you get off the well-traveled Highway 20 that cuts through the park. Upon several recommendations, we took the 23 mile Cascade River Road deeper into the park and were rewarded with probably our favorite hike of the whole trip – Cascade Pass. The views were spectacular wherever we looked.
The park boasts over 300 glaciers, the most in the contiguous US. We decided to add another 2 miles to the end of the hike to take the Sahale arm, which was by far the most challenging, but rewarded us with even more endless views.
That’s the only grizzly we’ve seen so far, and he looks pretty happy, no? What you can’t see is the reason Marc is smiling so big…Ol’ Grizzly there is actually goosing him with his giant claws! At the Visitor’s Center, they showed this great 8-minute short film about grizzly bears in the North Cascades. Please watch it, it is both educational and entertaining , it’s edutainment.
Happy Trails, my friends!