- Created on Friday, May 01 2009 16:46
- Written by Josh Lewis
Note: This is the part of the Cascades anything North of Darrington and the Mountain Loop Highway.
North Cascades National Park has some of the most scenic places in Washington State. The North Cascades include Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, The Picket Range, Shannon and Baker Lake, Diablo and Ross Lake, Jack Mountain, Liberty Mountain and much more. The North Cascade National Park is 685,000 acres of Glaciated Mountains, Rivers ,and lakes. There used to be 750 documented glacier in the 1950's. In 2005-2006 there are 650 Glaciers that are left, nearly 70 of these are gone.
"Sahale View of the North Cascades Looking South"
Highway 20 DriveFrom Seattle drive North to Arlington on I-5 (there is another route at Mount Vernon, but this way is more scenic) take a right at mile marker 208 and when you go in the town for a few seconds drive north on highway 9 and turn right onto highway 530. Drive east until you get to Darrington ( I recommending stopping at the shell gas station for gas and to take a few photo's of White Horse Mountain.
"White horse Mountain on a Winter Evening"
After that Drive North on the same highway to Rockport. At Rockport take a right onto Highway 20, which you follow to Marble Mount.
"View from Rockport"
Here there is a ranger Station that you can get a Northwest Forest Pass (which is required) and the day pass is $5.00 and the Annual Pass is $30.00. You can drive North which goes to Diablo or you can go Strait (East) which takes you to Cascade Pass trail head. When you get to Diablo you can also go to Thunder Creek or Fourth of July Pass at Colonial Creek Campground (mile marker 130).
"Colonial Peak on a Winter Evening, taken from Diablo lake View Point"
Thunder Creek is only recommended if you go the entire round trip which is 36 miles. You could also just visit Diablo Lake which has wonderful views by itself and take a few pictures and go further into the North Cascades.
"Diablo Lake as seen from North Cascades view point near Highway 20"
Drive east to Washington Pass were you have a great view of the North Cascades, (Don't come this far in winter unless you plan on walking , because of the high amount of snow on the road). Liberty Bell and Silver Star are the main peaks in the area.
"Entering the North Cascades"
"Liberty Bell Mountain as seen from Washington Pass"
You can either keep going to Eastern Washington or drive back home, there are also many hikes in the area.
"Silver Star Mountain, taken from Washington Pass"
Mt. Baker Highway 542: From Seattle on I-5 Drive North until you get to Bellingham and take a right to highway 532, or you can take an alternative route by going to Mount Vernon and take a right onto highway 20 for a few minutes, then take a left onto highway 9 (this is the more scenic route because you get to see the Twin Sisters). At the city of Deming take a left onto highway 542 and as you probably know a North West Forest Pass is required. As you drive east you can see Mt. Baker a few times, at the city of Glacier you might want to go to the gas station because it is the last one until you get back. As you go east Mt. Shuksan comes into view, I recommend getting a few pictures. Take a left at NF-32 Hannegan Pass road to hike the summit of Hannegan Peak or continue on to the Ski resort of Mt. Baker. Views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan here are great and there are many hikes you can go to in this area.
"Mt. Shuksan on the way to Hannegan Peak Trailhead"
Camping:You can camp before the trailhead to Cascade Pass, you can also camp at Sahale Glaicer. Thunder Creek is another hike that has plenty of camping places along the way before getting to Parks Creek Pass. Also you can spend the night at the Hannegan Peak trailhead, thier are camping spots.
"Sunrise Camp at the Cascade Pass Parking lot"