Top 10 Free Things to do in North Cascades National Park, North Cascades National Park

May 22, 2022 Natalie Tallman

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. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Ross Dam

North Cascades National Park, WA
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Ross Dam

A two-mile trail stretches across Ross Dam to Ross Lake.

Reviewed By 2ByoungAgain - Seattle, United States

Growing up in the Land of Lincoln, it just doesn't seem like Christmas, if there isn't snow around. I packed up the Subaru Outback and did just that; headed to the outback of the North Cascades National Park. The drive on this day was the best ever; virtually No traffic (I left at 9am). There was just a touch of snow on the road as I neared the end of the highway (20 closed for the winter at Ross Dam parking area). Arrived about 11:30am, to find only one other vehicle. Snow was abundant though not as much as some years, but still plenty (as photo will show). I used snowshoes on the way to the dam view, but chose to use only my Yaktrax on the way back. Snow was not too soft , where snow shoes would've been more of a bonus. The PEACE & SERENITY of the area is hard to match, especially at this time of the year (low attendance season). I left about 3 hours later, and there were about dozen cars parked now. Still, I only ran across 3 other people the whole time there. If you don't like snow adventures, then come back in the late spring-early fall; it's incredible if you love the Wilderness. Don't forget to pack out your trash, Please! Or even pick up some you might find and pack out. It's up to ALL of US, to keep it beautiful. PS - there are other attractions along the way, and plenty of viewpoints with incredible natural beauty! There are also campsites throughout the park. One could easily spend days up here, or even weeks. The North Cascades National Park is huge! Ross Dam is just a piece of it.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Ladder Creek Falls

North Cascades National Park, WA +1 360-854-2589 http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/newhalem-area-trails.htm
Excellent
50%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 46 reviews

Ladder Creek Falls

9. Diablo Dam

Diablo Dam Road Milepost 127.5, North Cascades National Park, WA 98283 http://www.experiencewa.com/articles/diablo-dam-diablo-lake
Excellent
74%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 31 reviews

Diablo Dam

10. Gorge Creek Falls

Sr 20 3 miles east of Newhalem along Highway 20, North Cascades National Park, WA 98283 +1 360-854-7200 http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/accessibility-at-gorge-creek-falls.htm
Excellent
36%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
27%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 45 reviews

Gorge Creek Falls

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