North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

North Cascades National Park covers more than 2 million acres, of federally designated wilderness, making it one of the largest parks in the lower 48 states. I’ve put together this ultimate hiking & camping guide to help you plan your North Cascades National Park getaway and make the most of your time there.

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
Affiliate Disclosure

This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for referring you. This comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally used + loved. For more info, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

The area is referred to as a complex, and is comprised of three National Park Service units- North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, + Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. In addition, other protected lands including several national forests and wilderness areas surround the park.

North Cascades Hiking and Camping ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Rugged mountain peaks of the North Cascades Range, the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States, and numerous waterways. Go camping in forests with the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park.

Hammock camping north cascades national park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Listen to cascading waters in forested valleys. Go hiking through landscapes filled with life that have adapted to moisture in the west and recurring fire in the east. The jagged mountain peaks are crowned by over 300 glaciers. This fragile landscape is especially sensitive to our Earth’s climate change.

Cheap RV Rentals
North Cascades Hiking and Camping Trails | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Getting to North Cascades National Park

Don’t leave home without travel insurance! CLICK HERE for more info. Travel insurance will help protectyou from any travel disasters or mishaps such as lost baggage, unexpected layover accommodations and financial costs you have paid into your trip.

Click Here to Save up to 66% off airport parking vs parking at the airport!

North Cascades National Park is located about 3 hours outside of Seattle. The nearest airport to the North Cascades is Seattle Tacoma International airport (SEA). You can rent a car (Click Here to Save 10%) at the airport, and drive about 3 hours outside of Seattle to the park.

Camping + Where to Stay

North Cascades Hiking and Camping Guide, Seattle Weekend Roadtrip | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

There are a number of options for accommodations while visiting the different areas within the complex. Camping is the most budget friendly, and is my preferred accommodation type when visiting national lands. Campsites at Colonial Creek, Goodell Creek, and Newhalen Creek campground are $16 per night. Gorge Lake is $10 per night. Hozomeen campground is free. Backcountry camping (boat-in and wilderness) requires a free permit. More Information on Camping

Ross Lake Resort 206-386-4437 
Rockport, WA 98283
www.rosslakeresort.com

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin 1.855.685.4167
www.lodgeatstehekin.com

Pro Tip: Go camping at Colonial Creek campground. The campground is by the Visitor Center + the only area with cell service. However bring an extra battery charger because the sites are rustic. There are hiking trails within walking distance. Pyramid Lake trail is shorter, and the Thunder Creek trail which is longer.

Click here to search for other accommodations available in surrounding communities to the North Cascades National Park Complex.

Blue Lake Hiking Trail

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
sustainable travel gear

Blue Lake trail is an extremely beautiful hike that takes you through alpine forests, a wild flower filled meadow, and towering mountains. You’ll end at the iridescent blue lake with crystal clear water below the glacier.

Length: Moderate, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 958 ft (292 m).

Location: North Cascades — Stehekin, Washington

Getting There: From Burlington, drive east on Hwy 20, the trailhead will be located at mileposts 161 + 162 on the south side of the road.

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
Wander Wisely

Rainy Lake Hiking Trail

Rainy lake hike in North Cascades emerald colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Length: Paved & Easy, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 124 ft (38 m).

Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20

Getting There: To go hiking from Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.

Rainy Lake hike waterfall outside Seattle. Rainy lake hike in North Cascades emerald colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Thunder Knob Trail

Thunder knob hiking trail overlook in North Cascades emerald colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Look up and see the ridge of Sourdough Mountain and the snowfield of Davis Peak. A short trail leads to another viewpoint, looking across toward Jack Mountain and down toward the narrow channel of Diablo Lake.

Length: Moderately Easy, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 425 ft (130 m).

Location: North Cascades — Colonial Creek Campground

Getting There: To get there, take State Route 20 to milepost 130, Colonial Creek Campground is 24 miles (39 km) east of Marblemount. The trail head is at the entrance to the campground on the north side of the highway. **Bonus if you’re camping here!

Diablo Lake hiking trail overlook North Cascades National Park

Pyramid Lake Hiking Trail

Pyramid lake hiking trail in North Cascades emerald reflection colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

The hiking trail starts beside Pyramid Creek and a beautiful cascading waterfall. Catch some cool breezes, and then almost immediately you’ll get to work ascending. The hiking trail is difficult and slow, covered in large roots, loose rocks, some scrambling, and up hill most of the way. When under the thin canopy of lodgepole pine, you’ll hear the silence of the woods and the trees creaking as they sway in the wind.

Length: Moderate, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 1500 ft (457 m).

Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20

Getting There: From Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.

Pyramid lake hiking trail in North Cascades emerald reflection colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Get up to $70 of outdoor adventure gear in each box for as little as $29.99 a month from The Nomadik!

Not sure what to pack? Check out my National Park packing Guide!

National Park Camping Hiking Packing Guide



Road trip from Seattle to North Cascades National Park. This guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
North Cascades National Park Park Complex ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway to Washington’s hidden gem. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
Advertisements

10 Perfect Spring Travel Destinations

The month of May has been absolutely insane for me. For starters, it’s my 30th birthday month (HUGE, I know).  For whatever reason, turning 30 always scared the hell out of me. I even came up with a 30 Before 30 List of things I wanted to accomplish before the big day (I did pretty awesome).

I spent a good portion of the last 6 weeks (End of April- May) living out of either a suitcase or a backpack. Sleeping in tents, hotels, airports, and cabins. Traveling back and forth across the country….twice. First time by plane, second time was by plane AND moving truck. I explored my first European country. Then before I beat the jet lag, I took another road trip over Memorial Day weekend. This time across my home state of Michigan. So this all translates to: I’ve had absolutely no time to write about each of the adventures individually (which I intend on doing).

Meanwhile- I came to the realization that the last 6 weeks was one giant adventure, made up of back to back mini adventures! Here’s a recap, with a super awesome picture from 10 places I visited this spring.

Los Angeles, CA

img_9268

map LA.png

I started out in LA for work the last week of April- and it’s been a giant blur since.

 

Chicago, IL

img_9390

map chi.png

I was home for 48 hours after I got home from LA, in which time I attended a baby shower, and a birthday party. Then it was off to Chicago, where I stayed for less than 24 hours to start the next mini adventure.

 

Badlands National Park, SD

DSC_0046.jpg

map badlands

We left Chicago EARLY, and started the long drive across the country to Seattle. We drove through four states before we made it to our first stop.

We were in South Dakota after 12 hours (not including stops). Arriving at night- we set up camp and spent the night at a campground inside the park. Check out my full post on Badlands National Park for more details!

 

Mount Rushmore National Monument, SD

may-04-2018-at-0417pm

The drive from Badlands to Mount Rushmore was only about an hour or so. The stop helped break up the long drive we still had ahead of us- and it was pretty cool to see the National Monument I never in a million years anticipated I’d see.

 

Grand Teton National Park, WY

img_9614

map teton

We drove another 8 hours into the state of Wyoming. I really struggled choosing just one picture for these next two stops. Grand Teton National Park was incredible. We spent a day exploring the park and fell in love with the snow-covered peaks. We crashed at a hostel inside the park (no campgrounds were open this early in the season).

 

Yellowstone National Park, WY

may-08-2018-at-0256pm

We camped for the next two nights in the colorful world of Yellowstone. Only the west half of the park was open during our time there. Thankfully the Grand Prismatic spring was accessible (I had pre-warned Grace I might lose my shit if I missed it).

 

Seattle, WA

img_7077

map yellow.png

The last 12 hours of our trip from Yellowstone to Seattle took us through 3 more states (Montana, Idaho, Washington). When we finally arrived in Seattle, I had 24 hours there before my flight home. Check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Seattle for more details on this amazing city.

 

Detroit, MI

img_8132

map sea.png

After being on the road for a week, I was looking forward to coming home for a few days. I was going to be home for FIVE WHOLE DAYS before we left on the next trip. Check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Detroit for a local’s guide on my favorite city.

The entire week, Logan and I planned on leaving for Iceland Saturday night (the day before Mother’s Day). We made plans with our families, put off laundry and packing (we had all day Saturday after all) and figured we’d get through the work week and worry about everything Iceland on Saturday.

Friday night I double checked our tickets and realized, our flight actually departs at 12:30 THAT NIGHT! We now had 4 hours to drop off the dogs/do laundry/clean the apartment/pack our bags/get to the airport…

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

img_0024

map iceland

I planned my Iceland trip almost 5 years ago. It was always the #1 spot on my list of places I wanted to go- I just never seemed to make it there. Well after 5 years of waiting… I finally made it! My favorite travel crew and I set off on a week long road trip around the country that ended with my 30th birthday hike to the bluest waterfall I’d ever seen.

 

“Up North”, MI

img_0087

map mi.png

We got home from Iceland exhausted and jet lagged. At this point the constant traveling was beginning to catch up with me. I’d been in so many different time zones the last couple weeks, I had no idea what day it was, what time zone I was in, or if I should be awake or sleeping (Iceland never got fully dark at night, so our sleeping schedules were all sorts of messed up.)

After spending a few days at home recovering and starting to sort our life back out, next thing we knew- the week was over, and it was Memorial Day weekend.

img_0195

 

I spent my Memorial Day weekend with Logan and the fur babies “up north” in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula, MI) We spent time relaxing at our camp site, grilling, and playing tourist in our own state. We stayed at Indian Lake State Campground which was only 15 minutes from Kitch-iti-Kipi, and an hour from Pictured Rocks National Lake shore.