Pacific Northwest - Day 6 - North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park Travel Blog

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North Cascades National Park is a 204,278-ha (504,781 acres) wide park. Its is about 60% the size of Olympic National Park and the largest National park in the Cascade Range. The Cascade Range starts in British Columbia Canada and reaches out south into the site of Washington. The park is known for its dramatic peaks and mountain landscape. In 1971 the area comprised 318 glaciers, the most of any park outside Alaska. Unfortunately global warming has influenced that and many of them have disappeared by now. Yet the park is still home to at least eight larger glaciers, as well as some good snow capped mountain peaks.

Unlike other National Parks, like Shenandoah or Great Smoky Mountains, where the original residents were expelled from their homes, North Cascades still houses a complete village and an operating hydroelectric power plant.

On our way to Winthrop
The water of the plant is routed via a tunnel from the reservoir (Gorge Lake) to the lower site of the plant in order to accumulate enough pressure. Apart from some ugly power lines the site is nicely blended into the park. The generator house is a pretty building and the electricity company has constructed a nice flower garden with waterfalls around the site. See the site on the map here.

Our next highlight was a 6.7-km (4.1-mile) hike to Pyramid Lake. We originally had all kind of plans for hikes at higher altitudes. Unfortunately these were all not recommended by the rangers since they were still well snowed in. This hike took us still 450 meters (1475 ft) up through the forest to a scenic little lake. We missed the lush green jungle from Olympic National Park.

After all the hiking we stepped into our faithful Toyota rental car which brought us over the passes of the park down to the village of Winthrop.

More pictures below.


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On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
The most impressive entry sign I e…
The most impressive entry sign I …
At the shore of the Skagit River
At the shore of the Skagit River
The falls near the power plant
The falls near the power plant
A pedestrian suspension bridge giv…
A pedestrian suspension bridge gi…
The Gorge Lake Power Plant
The Gorge Lake Power Plant
Inside the Gorge Lake Power Plant
Inside the Gorge Lake Power Plant
Inside the Gorge Lake Power Plant
Inside the Gorge Lake Power Plant
Gorge Lake Dam
Gorge Lake Dam
On our way to Pyramid Lake
On our way to Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
On our way from Pyramid Lake
On our way from Pyramid Lake
The Pyramid Lake Trail head
The Pyramid Lake Trail head
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
On our way to Winthrop
Height Profile of the hike to (and…
Height Profile of the hike to (an…
Height Profile of the hike to (and…
Height Profile of the hike to (an…
North Cascades National Park
photo by: nycitalini