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
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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.

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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.

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Getting to North Cascades National Park

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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
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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

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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
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3 Day Itinerary for Olympic National Park

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Olympic National Park is located in the state of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the United States. The national park is home to several different ecosystems, from mountain peaks to old-growth forests. This 3 day itinerary for Olympic National Park will tell all!

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Let’s talk about this trips “sign picture”. For those that don’t know, it’s a tradition of mine to get a picture with my fellow campers by the national park sign when we visit. My travel crew knows the routine… they go stand in front of the sign while I set up the tripod.

From left to right we’ve got Kaytee, Logan, Grace, and half of me. Let me explain…Well this trip, I was setting up my tripod/timer all that jazz- guy drives by and yells out his window “you can’t park there! MOVE!” …whoops. I had no idea we couldn’t park there… better make this quick. So I hit the shutter button and ran backwards…hoping that maybe I’d make it in time to get this in one shot. Above is the result of that one shot.

Fly into Seattle

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Now that my best friend Grace lives in Seattle, I love the state of Washington even more. With the heavy traveling we did in the spring, we wanted to keep our July 4th trip as cheap as we could. Camping’s cheap!  So, this year we celebrated Independence Day while camping in Olympic National Park! With not nearly enough time in Seattle, we left for the park the day after we arrived. If you have time, explore the city! For what to do, check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Seattle

3 Day Itinerary for Olympic National Park

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Olympic National Park protects nearly one million acres of vast wilderness diversity. From glacier-capped mountains to old growth rain forests, and over 70 miles of ocean coastline, this park has so much to explore. It’s hard to capture all the beauty in just 3 days, we absolutely will be coming back to explore more one day!

DAY 1: Lake Crescent

We drove 3.5 hours from Seattle to Fairholme campground. Slightly worried we might not get a site this close to the holiday (most campgrounds inside the park are walk-in, and do not take reservations). The campground had flush toilets, but no shower facilities or electric. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at an almost empty campground. We picked a stunning site with massive mossy trees towering around us, overlooking the incredible Lake Crescent. We set up camp and set out to explore the Lake Crescent area. For what to pack, check out my Packing Guide: Camping National Parks

Lake Crescent

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Lake Crescent lies 18 miles west of Port Angeles in the northern hills of Olympic National Park. We could see right down to the bottom through the crystal clear waters. I would recommend kayaking on this beautiful lake if you have the time!

Stay at Fairholme Campground

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Marymere Falls

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Next we hiked the moderate 1.7 mile trail to Marymere Falls. There are two viewpoints to see the falls. At the end of the hike you’ll reach the falls lower viewpoint at the bottom of the stairs. Continue up the stairs to reach the top viewpoint.

Barnes Creek Trail

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

A peaceful creekside hike with an option to check out Marymere Falls (enter at falls trailhead, continue forward at the junction or go right and check out the falls). This hike takes you through a Jurassic Park looking forest of old growth and lush vegetation. We hiked the barnes creek trail after Marymere Falls, and the solitude from the crowds gave the forest a much different feeling. The trail rolls mostly up and rarely down for 5.5 miles.

Mora Campground

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

DAY 2: Sul Duc

We woke up early to pack up our campsite and have breakfast before we hit the trails for the day. Our plan was to explore the Sol Duc area, and then head towards the coastline to set up camp in Mora, a campground just outside of La Push. You can visit the lush forest near Sol Duc for a day hike or an overnight.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Sul Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail is a flat short 1.6 mile trail through old growth forest that leads to a beautiful three prong waterfall. The three falls rage under a wooden bridge with crystal blue waters on the other end. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the waterfall capture rainbows in the spray! We continued past the falls and headed towards deer lake.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
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Deer Lake

The trail to Deer Lake from Sul Duc Falls is a 6.3 mile hike with 3 backpacking campsites along the trail. This mostly up and rarely down hike is rated as moderate. The hike features a stunning lake at the end (pack food and picnic at the lake!) To get there, begin heading down the trail to Sol Duc Falls. Once you’re there, pass the entrance to the Lover’s Lane Trail, the route begins climbing up to Deer Lake.

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 DAY 3: La Push

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Our last day in the park was spent relaxing on the coast, recovering from our hikes. The Mora Campground  we camped at was on the north side of the river, on the south side is  First Beach. First Beach is located within the Quileute Indian Reservation, and surrounded by Olympic National Park. The beach is sandy with a crescent shaped shoreline that’s popular with surfers. We stopped here first, and explored the rocks looking for sea creatures during the low tide.

First Beach

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Starfish are naturally born as extremely fragile. A simple gentle poke might hurt them, not to mention a strong grab to get them out of water. NEVER FORCEFULLY REMOVE A STARFISH FROM THE WATER. These creatures have tiny structures that make up their bodies.

** I only touched the starfish to transport him safely back to the sea **

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Second Beach

With a shorter hike than Third Beach, we decided to do the 4 mile round trip hike to Second Beach after First Beach. The trail was interesting, after 0.3 miles, the descent becomes more defined, and the trail becomes a switchback crib staircase which leads down to the beach. We lounged lazily in the sun for hours on this beach. Exploring and climbing the rocks that jutted out from the ocean until it was time for the drive home.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

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Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Spending some time in the city of Seattle? Check out my guide to The Perfect Weekend in Seattle!

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #usadestinations #washington #whattodo #thingstodo #seattle #lodging #itinerary #guide