North Cascades National Park Service Complex

When you were a kid, you always wanted the piece of cake with the frosting flower on top.

North Cascades National Park Service Complex is the frosting flower of the Pacific Northwest.

Here, you get the best of everything. Across 684,000 acres, you can climb towering peaks, bathe in the mist of plunging waterfalls, and savor the silence of forested glades.

The complex is comprised of North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas.

Ross Lake National Recreation Area is the doorway to this mountain paradise. Created by one of three dams on the Skagit River, Ross Lake covers more than 25 miles and offers a variety of water sports and outdoor activities.

Take a scenic drive along the North Cascades Highway. Pose for pictures by Gorge Falls or Rainbow Falls. Have lunch in historic Stehekin. Launch your boat into Lake Chelan.

Hike trails through the Stephen Mather Wilderness, home to gray wolves, grizzly bears, and wolverines. Search the skies for bald eagles, osprey, and migratory songbirds. Perhaps you’ll stumble across evidence of an old mining camp or the foundation of a once bustling hotel.

Like that extra bit of frosting, North Cascades National Park Service Complex is something to savor.



Air pollution is among the most serious threats to national parks. The National Park Service has established the NPS air quality webcam network to show “live” digital images of more than a dozen parks. Click here to see current air conditions at North Cascades National Park.








January 4, 2014

The winter 2014 issue of Your NATIONAL FORESTS magazine features the Maple Pass area of North Cascades National Park, and the adjacent Okanogan National Forest land that has been proposed as an addition to the Park. Go to


November 4, 2012

Trememdous park. Some of the same people who fought for the creation of the park in the 1950's are now pushing for additional wildlands to be annexed. Places they hated to leave out, but felt that all or nothing was not an option. Time to expand the park!


October 17, 2012

Do not have an experience to share, but I would like to get someone else's experience on traversing the summit of the park. Am trying to decide whether to bike from Omak, east to west to Marblemount, or vice versa, depending upon which incline is more forgiving. Do not mind climbing, but just looking for the ascent which has the more forgiving gradient slope. My experience has been that the steeper the climb, the less distance the climb is; and the less steeper the climb, the further it is.


November 10, 2011

My wife and I were there this past June. It was beautiful. We were not able to do the hikes we wanted to because of the record snowfall this winter, but the snow made the waterfalls more powerful than usual. There are waterfalls everywhere, and large snow capped peaks.

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