May 28, 2020

Denise Shultz
North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park Service Complex Begins to Increase Recreational Access to Day Use Areas

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, and in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Transportation reopening of State Route 20, North Cascades National Park Service Complex is increasing recreational access for day use. The National Park Service (NPS) is working Service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning May 29, North Cascades National Park Service Complex will reopen day-use access to:  

  • Diablo Overlook
  • Ross Lake Overlook
  • Gorge Creek Falls Overlook
  • Trails for day use only.
    • NOTE: Many trails have not yet been assessed or cleared; Downed trees, washouts, and other hazards may be encountered
  • Hozomeen (U.S. side) for non-vehicle, day use only. The international border gate will remain closed
  • All boat ramps and associated water on Diablo Lake, Gorge Lake, and the Skagit River
  • Stehekin marina and public docks for day use only

North Cascades Institute 0274 50

With public health and safety in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

  • All campgrounds
  • All backcountry campsites
  • All visitor and wilderness information centers 
  • Cascade River Road remains seasonally closed. It will reopen after snow is removed and winter road damage has been repaired.

“We will be glad to welcome visitors back to the North Cascades”, said Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich, “but there are challenges in doing so. Due to the current public health emergency, our essential seasonal staff arrived later than usual, and many of the spring activities to get ready for the summer season have been delayed.”

“We urge visitors to bring all of their own supplies, including hand sanitizer, face coverings, toilet paper, food, and beverages,” Taylor-Goodrich continued. “Once you arrive, please park only in designated areas, pack out everything you bring, and if you encounter a crowded trailhead or overlook, seek another location to recreate.” 

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continue to be paramount. At North Cascades National Park Service Complex, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and monitor them regularly. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  

While day-use areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased in and services may be limited. “Recreate Responsibly”: park visitors should follow local area public health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces while still preventing the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park activities to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.   

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website at and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

During the current pandemic it is important for everyone to Recreate Responsibly for the health and safety of all.

Recreate Responsibly Simple Graphics
For more information about the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines and to learn how to protect the people and places you love while you get outside:

Travel Tip: It’s important to always be prepared with a map and your 10 Essentials including water, rain gear and sunscreen.  During these times we do suggest going a little further than just 10. In addition to your gear, we recommend you bring: wipes, hand sanitizer, and a face mask.

Check the Whatcom County Health Department website for updated guidance, including information on wearing masks in public. 

        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

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