View Map

Overview

Chiseled by glaciers over many millennia, the Pacific Northwest's signature mountains form an extraordinarily scenic swath of the Washington landscape, as well as a hugely varied recreational resource. So formidable is this geographical feature that it wasn't until 1972 that a paved road, the North Cascades Highway, provided a passage through. Usually open only May to October, this winding highway really takes travelers up into the mountains. Scenic as the drive is, even more spectacular alpine vistas await those who depart the road for the backcountry trails. Hanging glaciers, craggy peaks, wildflower-laced meadows, forested valleys and ...

Chiseled by glaciers over many millennia, the Pacific Northwest's signature mountains form an extraordinarily scenic swath of the Washington landscape, as well as a hugely varied recreational resource. So formidable is this geographical feature that it wasn't until 1972 that a paved road, the North Cascades Highway, provided a passage through. Usually open only May to October, this winding highway really takes travelers up into the mountains. Scenic as the drive is, even more spectacular alpine vistas await those who depart the road for the backcountry trails. Hanging glaciers, craggy peaks, wildflower-laced meadows, forested valleys and pristine lakes lure thousands of visitors annually to North Cascades National Park, actually an agglomeration of national recreation areas and forests. Several campgrounds are accessible from the highway and those willing to tote a backpack will find numerous campsites in the wilderness. Seasoned hikers rank the relatively undemanding Cascade Pass trail among the best treks for its glacier views; it's also the chief land access to enchanting Stehekin Valley, otherwise reached only by boat or plane from Chelan. More creature comforts for daytrippers can be found in the Methow Valley towns of Winthrop and Twisp or west of the mountains in Sedro Woolley or Concrete.

Myra Ingmanson
About the Expert

Myra Ingmanson and Daniel C. Schechter worked together on various titles for Lonely Planet, particularly the Pacific Northwest and Mexico books. Together they coauthored chapters for Lonely Planet's Eastern Caribbean.

view full overview

Myra Ingmanson for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Mountain range spanning the northern part of Washington state on the Canadian border
  • Research: Washington | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to September