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North Cascades National Park
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1239
Few fully know the intense and rugged beauty of the North Cascades ? jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 700 glaciers. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three park units which are all managed as one and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Each area offers different experiences and contains wilderness. A vast majority of the park complex, over 93%, is managed as the Stephen T. Mather Wilderness, which was established by Congress in 1988. The wilderness area was named in honor of the first director of the National Park Service.Long before North Cascades National Park Service Complex was established in 1968, this area was a home. It was the home to many Native American tribes and a trade gateway between the Plateau tribes to the east and the Coast Salish tribes to the west. Native Americans have been in these mountains for over 8,000 years. More recent settlers came in the nineteenth century to establish homesteads in places like the Stehekin Valley, or to mine elusive minerals ? like gold, or to trap furbearing animals such as the beaver, otter, and marten. Now it is preserved as a national park for future generations to enjoy.
Map + Directions
Plane - Nearest major airport is Seatac near Seattle, Washington. Chelan Airways (509/682-5555)provides floatplane access to Stehekin in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.
Car - Access to the North Cascades and Ross Lake area is from I-5 at Burlington, west of the mountains, and Twisp, on the east, following Washington State Route (SR) 20 with branch routes to Baker Lake (Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)and the Cascade River. The park and recreation areas are always open, but access is limited by snow in winter. Note that State Route 20 (North Cascades Scenic Highway), the major access to Ross Lake NRA, is partially closed from approximately mid-November to mid-April. Exact opening and closing dates depend on weather, snow depths, and avalanche hazards. Two roads, both gravel, enter North Cascades National Park itself: the Cascade River Road from Marblemount and the Stehekin Valley Road. Note that the latter does not connect to any roads outside the Stehekin Valley.