Our Love of National Parks Continues..
Our Love for National Parks continues to be our focus this summer. They are amazing places to visit with so much history and so much to explore. The beauty of these parks is worth the hordes of people that are wanting to see the very same beauty you’re there to see. The drives to get there, the changes in weather you endure are all worth it! When you come across a lake with turquoise blue water, one like you have never seen before, it takes your breath away…
North Cascades National Park is in northern Washington State. From beautiful green rain forests, glaciers and lakes with turquoise blue waters, this park has stunning views. We were visiting in early July when the weather was still cool with a hint of winter in the air with campfires all around us, it sure felt like winter instead of summer. It was also early enough in the season there weren’t a lot of people there yet.
Heavy snows and a high risk of avalanche due to the steep terrain, especially on the western side, severely limit visitation in the winter. The scenic road happened to open just before we got there, so we were able to enjoy the beauty this park has to offer. Washington State Route 20, the only highway through the park, is generally closed from late November until late April.
North Cascades Byway
The North Cascades Byway passes viewpoints and leads to trails you can hike which could take days just to explore. Truly a hiker’s paradise with more than 500,000 acres that grizzly bears and gray wolves, plus more than 200 bird species, call home. You better have bear spray ready and even though we didn’t see any bears there are warning signs everywhere to keep you on your toes.
Diablo lake features a unique, intense turquoise hue of water. The color is attributed to the surrounding glaciers grinding rocks into a fine powder. This powder is then carried into the lake through snow-fed creeks. The Skagit River is the largest river that flows into Puget Sound to the west. The water is so clean and pure, you can see the bottom of the river which may appear turquoise depending on the lighting.
National Park Camping
We really enjoyed the trails that led from our campsite at Newhalem Creek Campground through the National Park. This was our first stay in a National Park campground because most are in pretty remote areas with limited services. There is a small convenience store in the nearby town of Newhalem but I recommend stocking up prior to your visit. The closest grocery store is 45-60 minutes away. Cell services are very limited and there are NO gas stations in the National Park.
We enjoyed picking fresh berries, walking along the river and seeing beautiful waterfalls through the rain forest. The weather, in my opinion, was perfect while we were there. A little damp like spring with the highs in the 50’s, so bring local firewood and a raincoat!
Don’t Forget About Me…
North Cascades National Park sees about 20,677 visitors annually. Visitation is quite low compared to other National Parks in the North Cascades region. This quiet wilderness is located just three hours from the hustle and bustle of Seattle. So often forgotten because of its remote location. North Cascades National Park has so much to offer and plenty to keep you busy outdoors. Activities including biking, birding, and wildlife photography as well as boating and fishing.
We truly enjoyed our time spent at North Cascades. Far from city life, even if it was for only 3 days. There is so much more to see and do that we missed but there is always next time!
Check out our video from our visit to North Cascades National Park below.
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