The 10 Best Budget-friendly Things to do in North Cascades National Park, North Cascades National Park

August 13, 2021 Kiesha Cripe

The least visited national park in Washington, it has a great deal to offer including a spectacular rain forest.

1. Washington Pass Overlook

North Cascades National Park, WA +1 509-996-4000 http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/washington-pass-overlook-trail
Excellent
85%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 128 reviews

Washington Pass Overlook

Scenic overlook from which you can see famous natural sights including the Liberty Bell Peak and Early Winter Spires.

Reviewed By charless503 - Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

On our trip from Seattle to Winthrop, my wife and I stopped first at the beautiful Diablo overlook and then at the Washington Pass both stops to enjoy the scenery and to break the 4 hour drive on the Hwy 20. The view of the mountains is absolutely stunning.

2. Maple Pass Loop

North Cascades National Park, WA
Excellent
94%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 53 reviews

Maple Pass Loop

A scenic trail passing by lakes and meadows.

Reviewed By 718kristens - Tennessee, United States

Best hike! I couldn’t stop taking pictures because the views were amazing. Hiking sticks were very helpful. We went counter clockwise. It was a gradual incline to the top and not too steep back down. Most hikers were wearing masks or put them on when we passed. We started around 8am. Took us about 6 hours total with lunch at the top and lots of breaks for my 12 year old. Take plenty of water. I never felt unsafe. Well marked path once you’re on it. Weather was much cooler and easier in the early morning hours. Bugs were not a problem (october). Parking was available. Don’t forget to pay your $5 fee at the box or display your pass.

3. Blue Lake Trai

Highway 20, North Cascades National Park, WA 98862
Excellent
87%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 39 reviews

Blue Lake Trai

Reviewed By shesekmatok - Los Angeles, United States

Come early, u will have the lake for yourself, come late, u will share... A lot. There's a pit toilet at the trailhead ???? And one picnic table ????????‍♀️ 5$ fee at a self service station, if u don't hold an annual park pass. Started at 0640 am and it was cold ???? in the 40's. Took me 15 minutes to get warmer and and an hour to reach the lake. Just a time frame... The trail isn't steep, elevation gain is about 1000 ft. Beautiful scenery all the way, pics say it all. The lake is much more than I have expected. Stayed around it for about an hour and was amazed by the views, from many angles ???? A bit further there's a small loop that leads to a small pond. The way back was a treat. I could jog down hill parts of it. Just watch ur footing. On the way down, met 20 fellow hikers. Most of the trail was shaded. When the sun came through, so did the bugs. Questions? Feel free to ask ☺️ Have fun ????????‍♀️????????‍♀️????????‍♀️????????‍♀️

4. Diablo Lake Overlook

Hwy 20 Mile Marker 132, North Cascades National Park, WA 98284-1263 +1 360-854-7200 http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/accessibility-at-diablo-lake-overlook.htm
Excellent
80%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 126 reviews

Diablo Lake Overlook

Reviewed By 273triciaa - Louisville, United States

picnic tables and a great view...great stopping spot on your drive through NCNP...but it can get busy.

5. North Cascades National Park

North Cascades Highway, North Cascades National Park, WA +1 360-854-7200 http://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm
Excellent
78%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 46 reviews

North Cascades National Park

Reviewed By 38sallyj - Chelmsford, United Kingdom

.The scenery here was amazing, forests, mountains and lakes, Lake Diablo was incredible, the blue water was fantastic. Definately worth visiting this National Park. We visited America for a month, so we bought the Annual Park Pass, at $80, it saves a lot of money, you can access as many parks as you wish, and only pay the once.

6. Ross Lake National Recreation Area

North Cascades National Park, WA 98283
Excellent
74%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 42 reviews

Ross Lake National Recreation Area

Peaceful area great for picnicking and hiking.

Reviewed By 261geraldd - Bellingham, United States

The boat tour was very pleasant. The scenery was great and the tour guides were interesting and informative. Just as the Gorge Dam tour, the guide´s presentations were very professional. I did not go into the dam because I had a sore foot and could not walk very far. People who went into the dam seemed to like that part of the tour also.

7. North Cascades Highway

North Cascades National Park, WA +1 206-684-3000 http://www.seattle.gov/light/tours/skagit
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 318 reviews

North Cascades Highway

A scenic highway measuring 132 miles.

Reviewed By juliancS1656AG - Kent, United States

Beautiful views. Lots of picture taking sites. Be warned, No Cell Service available. There are a lot of people. Rest Areas & out look stops are packed. Winter is not an option(closed). There is a slight detour between Rockport & Lake Diablo.

8. Colonial Creek Campground - Stehekin Valley Trail

North Cascades National Park, WA +1 877-444-6777 http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/camping.htm#CP_JUMP_628810
Excellent
61%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
5%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 41 reviews

Colonial Creek Campground - Stehekin Valley Trail

This moderate-to-strenuous hiking trail climbs up to an elevation of 6,040 feet, which weaves through old growth forest in the first ten miles.

9. Cascade Pass

North Cascades National Park, WA +1 360-854-7200 http://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 51 reviews

Cascade Pass

This moderate hiking trail climbs up to 5,384 feet elevation.

Reviewed By JerseyGirl5781 - Hoboken, United States

This review is really about the hike before the hike. We were at the park in mid-June so the Cascade Pass trail was still snow-covered. Park staff recommended we drive up Cascade River Rd to where the road was gated and then hike the road to the trailhead. We hit deep snow right before the trailhead but were able to walk over three miles each way. The road up to the gate was a little dicey in a sedan but doable. After the gate, I was glad we were walking and NOT driving. The view is awesome as you’re traversing along one hillside while gazing up at mountains, waterfalls and a valley across from you. We saw a mama black bear w two tiny cubs in the distance, eagles and osprey and only a couple of humans. The walk was moderate and you’re on wide gravel, asphalt or dirt the whole time. Definitely a great option if you are in the park early in the season before you can get to much high elevation hiking.

10. Rainy Lake

Rainy Pass, North Cascades National Park, WA
Excellent
63%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 35 reviews

Rainy Lake

Reviewed By GoAlong2 - Seattle, United States

A little over a mile long, and paved, this easy trail through the forest with occasional interpretive signs leads to a pretty alpine lake. The clear water and views of the surrounding mountains as well as a tall thin waterfall enhance the feeling of being a world away. There are other, longer and more strenuous trails in the area, so the parking lot can be rather busy. Restrooms and picnic tables are available at the trailhead.

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