Greetings from North Cascades National Park

We had visited North Cascades National Park several years ago, a mostly driving visit where we caught beautiful sights of the snow-covered North Cascade mountains. One distinct memory that lingers is that of a snow-clad mountain peak perfectly reflected in a lake. This summer we decided to visit again, and chose the Stehekin area, reachable only by hiking, ferry, or a seaplane. We took a ferry across the beautiful Lake Chelan to get there. Along the way we caught gorgeous sights of a waterfall, mountains, the still lake punctuated by our ferry”s wake, picturesque homes, trees, and felt elements of nature including chilly winds that almost blew my hat off.

Stehekin is a magical place where one can disconnect and get away from it all. We were pleasantly surprised to realize it is a great birding spot too. We saw or heard more than twenty different types of birds in walks along the lake, on our porch, and during our hikes. The national park service had even put up nectar feeders that were frequented by Rufous Hummingbirds, the male flashing its shiny gorget. American Robins visited often, one guarding its nest, and flying Violet-green Swallows disappeared every so often into nests in building nooks. It was nice to connect here with birds that visit our backyard, both migratory ones such as Yellow Warbler, and winter migrants such as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Cedar Waxwing. We also spotted an Immature Steller”s Jay snuggling with a parent. Daily sunsets on Lake Chelan were beautiful, with the sun disappearing behind the mountains, and casting an orange glow behind the groovy peaks. So was the perfect reflection of mountains on the still lake at sunrise.

We experienced the picturesque Rainbow Falls, feeling the mist of its upper falls, and listening to its lower falls while sitting on a rock in front of it. We hiked Howard Lake, Agnes Creek, Old Wagon Trail, and Agnes Gorge areas. We had inspiring conversations with backpackers hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, on the shuttle bus that took us to these trailheads. These hiking trails spanned North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan Recreation Area, and Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, all with the exact same natural beauty, clearly nature knows no borders. The trails were quiet, wooded, padded with fallen pine needles that were soft on our feet, with sunlight streaming through trees, and plants hugging us both sides of the trail. It was both soothing and majestic to watch and hear the gushing water of Stehekin River shaping boulders, and the Agnes Creek rushing down the Agnes Gorge. The view of water lilies in the still Howard Lake with a mountain backdrop was accentuated by a Red-winged Blackbird treading on one of them.

It was a beautiful second visit to the North Cascades, and we hope to be back to experience it again in other seasons of the year.


North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park Service Complex encompasses 684,000 acres of wilderness, trails and rivers, as well as Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. In this vast terrain are jagged mountains, hundreds of glaciers and old-growth forests that have never been cut, with large, magnificent trees and tiered canopies of fir, hemlock and cedar. The snowy winters at this park produce stunning waterfalls in the spring — a phenomenon that is so beloved, the Cascade Range is named for them.

State(s): Washington

Established: 1968

“Our National Parks are a treasure to be enjoyed, cherished, and protected for generations to come!”

National parks represent the best of America. Why do you care about protecting and preserving them? Tell us why parks matter to you!

{{ active ? "Cancel" : "Begin"}}

Success! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

You’ll be notified by email when your story is approved and added to the collection on the My Park Story homepage.

In the meantime, you can share your own story page with your family and friends — and help us spread the word about these priceless memories and priceless places!

Here’s your unique story page link:

{{ storyUrl }}

* indicates Required fields

Click to choose a file to upload

Submitting your story means that you agree to our Terms of Service

More Stories

  • Greetings from North Cascades National Park

    I recently was asked by an old friend here, just east of NOCA, why he should support our reintroduction of Grizzlies, when convincing our overwhelming newcomers to put their garbage into WasteWise's bear proof containers has proved impossible. My answer as a retired long time seasonal NPS ranger is that…

  • Greetings from North Cascades National Park

    When my family and I made the long trip to North Cascades National Park, I was shocked by how green the water was. We hiked on the Thunder Knob Trail and crossed Thunder Creek on a thin metal bridge. The water below was a milky turquoise, which I later learned…

  • Greetings from North Cascades National Park

    I did a road trip to various parks in 1993, but as a woman traveling alone, I didn’t feel comfortable tent camping so slept in my Civic hatchback. I’m pretty short so it was comfortable. I did another road trip in 1999, again with a duration of several weeks. This…


Preserve Our Parks

Make a tax-deductible gift today to provide a brighter future for our national parks and the millions of Americans who enjoy them.

Donate Now