By Michael Lanza

On my first trip to North Cascades National Park, I was sure I’d found heaven. The hard-earned views of a sea of jagged spires and snow- and ice-covered peaks stretching as far as you could see instantly cemented the place as one of my favorite mountain ranges. I’ve returned many times since, backpacking, dayhiking, climbing, ski mountaineering, including with my family.

But not many hikers and backpackers know much about Washington’s North Cascades, a region that includes one of America’s least-visited national parks and surrounding wilderness and national recreation areas that offer a rare combination of stunning beauty and solitude. And the season for heading into the backcountry there is upon us.

The North Cascades National Park complex includes the park itself—nearly 700,000 acres, 93 percent of which is designated as the Stephen Mather Wilderness—as well as the adjoining Ross Lake and Lake Chelan national recreation areas. To the north and south of the park complex are the equally beautiful Pasayten, Glacier Peak, and Alpine Lakes wildernesses. Ecosystems range from virgin rainforest of giant cedars, hemlocks, and Douglas firs, to sub-alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers, and alpine areas hosting about 60 percent of all the glaciers in the Lower 48. Everywhere, waterfalls pour down cliffs.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Glacier Peak looming above Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.
” data-image-caption=”Glacier Peak looming above Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?fit=900%2C598&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”598″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?resize=900%2C598&ssl=1″ alt=”Glacier Peak looming above Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.” class=”wp-image-39528″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C680&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?resize=300%2C199&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?resize=768%2C510&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?resize=1080%2C717&ssl=1 1080w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Glacier1-071-Image-Lake-Glacier-Peak-Wilderness-WA-2.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Glacier Peak looming above Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Few mountain ranges compare for the ruggedness, raw beauty, and remoteness and solitude of the North Cascades.

North Cascades National Park also has one of the most mind-blowing
Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/observing-the-night-side-of-venus-is-actually-pretty-tricky/

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