North Cascades National Park is located in the state of Washington, USA. Covering an area of 2,043 km2 (~789 mi2), it is the largest of three parks comprising the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, and borders several wilderness areas and parkland in Canada.
North Cascades National Park protects parts of the North Cascades Mountain range. The landscape features plunging forested valleys and soaring glacial, snow-capped peaks, earning it the nickname the ‘American Alps’. A lack of urban development has helped to keep the park’s natural balance intact and allowed a diverse range of ecosystems and animals and vegetation to flourish.
Weather in the park is typical of the region; muggy, wet winters and mild summers. At higher altitudes an extraordinary amount of snow falls – in 1999 alone, Mount Baker received a mammoth 2,900 cm (1,142 in) of snow.
There are exceptional opportunities for wildlife spotting here. Black bears, deer, marmots and mountain goats make their home in the high meadows and rugged slopes of the mountain range. You may even see wild cats such as the mountain lion, Canadian lynx and bobcat prowling the landscape and hunting for food.
The park offers an almost limitless supply of outdoor activities. As much of the park is protected wilderness, there are few maintained roads or buildings, but mountain climbing is plentiful, with challenging rugged terrains to suit all skill levels, including spectacular technical and glaciated climbs on the North and South Picket Ranges, Mount Triumph and Eldorado Peak. Mount Baker also has a renowned world-class skiing and snowboarding resort, and water sports such as canoeing and kayaking are allowed on the glorious turquoise lakes. The park is perfect for casual visitors too, offering spellbinding views and dramatic scenery to explore.