North Cascades National Park

Spanning more than 500,000 acres, the North Cascades National Park is one of the largest of three National Park Service units in Washington State. It was established as a National Park in 1968 in order to preserve the mountain scenery, snowfield, glaciers, waterfalls and alpine meadows that make up the North Cascades. Since then it has been nicknamed the “American Alps.” 

The park offers numerous campgrounds, backcountry camps, boat-in sites, and hiking trails. Popular hikes include Thunder Knob, Cascade Pass, Maple Pass Loop, and Hidden Lake. The Gorge Overlook and Diablo Lake Overlook are also popular destinations.

Wherever your adventure takes you, don't forget to recreate responsibly: know before you go, plan and prepare, build an inclusive outdoors, respect others, leave no trace, and make the park better.  

North Cascades Highway 20 is closed for the winter season. The highway is closed at milepost 134 at Ross Dam Trailhead on the west side and at milepost 171 at the Silver Star Gate on the east side.

The highway typically closes in November and reopens in April or May. 

The North Cascades Institute is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that inspires and empowers people to enjoy and learn about the mountains, rivers, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. The Institute offers a variety of classes, programs, getaways, and camps at their award-winning campus in the heart of the North Cascades National Park!

North Cascades can be accessed as part of the Cascade Loop!

Learn more about this amazing scenic round trip (and its wondrous connecting outings such as Chuckanut Drive up to Bellingham). Have fun exploring!

  • Use caution on access roads: watch for obstructions such as rocks, sudden bends, and parked vehicles/pedestrians.
  • Break-ins are not uncommon at trailheads along State Route 20 in North Cascades National Park. Remove your valuables and electronics and take associated electronic cords.
  • Carry the ten essentials: hydration, extra food, navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first aid kit, fire, repair tools, emergency shelter. 
  • Stay on trails. Wear adequate footwear and use a topographic map/compass.
  • Report down trees or washouts to the nearest ranger station.
  • Do not depend on cell phones as there are many 'dead spots'.
  • Always tell a friend your travel plans including destination and expected return time.
  • If a fire is active in the park, do not fly drones or pull over on the highway to look at or photograph the fire.
  • View current road conditions here
  • View current trail conditions and closures here
  • View current fire closures here
  • View current lake and river conditions here
  • View current climbing conditions here.
        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

Places to Stay
Getting Here
Read Blogs

Photo Contest
Move Here
Contact Us
Tourism Talk

Industry Resources
Join as a Member
Media Inquiries
Host Groups & Events
About Us
Site by Drozian Webworks
©2024 Visit Bellingham Whatcom County