5 Amazing Photos of Newhalem


Photo credit: chelsea_alexandra (Instagram)

Cascades Highway or Highway 20 during winter. Get ready for a chilling experience amidst snow-flake rains and milk white and brownish surrounding. Blue and white clouds above match majestically with the heavenly roads under.


This is Diablo Dam, few miles away from Newhalem. The big majestic dam with its almost full water level gives you an adrenaline rush as drive along on the bridge over it. This is a place must tourists don’t want to miss.

old-number-6 -newhalem

This legendary locomotive called Old Number 6 used to ferry workers from Newhalem to nearby towns as there was no roads then. The locomotive has been preserved well and a favourite place for kids to enjoy.


This is not a computer generated image. This is real image of crystal Ladder Creek Falls, a place that take you from the real world into a fantasy land – a kinda Alice in wonderland. An amazing place to heal mind.


As you drive along the majestic Cascades Highway, breathtaking sceneries greet you in the wait. Changing landscapes, surprising but mild rains, fogs, deer and multiple waterfalls décor the entire highway.

Hidden places in and around Newhalem!

The Cascade Highways cuts its way on the north side of the Newhalem. Many visitors just cross the town thinking it is just a small town. They don’t know that there are lot of good stuff to see if they spare just an hour or so. Just two block off the highway is Newhalem visitor center, which helps visitors in exploring North Cascades National Park and the Skagit River project. Skagit Reserve project is conglomeration of beautiful dams and powerhouses on the bank of river Skagit.


newhalem visitor centre

The Newhalem Visitor Center houses some top notch exhibits and is equipped with all the necessary facilities for visitors. There is a short trail attached to visitor center to take a view of majestic Pickett Mountain range.

Just a block away from the Visitor centre toward south is the famous suspension bridge built over Skagit river for entering the exotic Trail of Cedars. The beautiful trail is hidden by lush and green foliage around. There are plenty of plant species in the trail. For the visitors’ benefits there are signboards introducing various forest species. The trail leads lead to Gorge powerhouse.


There is another suspension bridge and the famous Ladder Creek Falls near the Gorge Powerhouse. The area also covers remnants of once famous Newhalem Gardens. The garden was once full of the tropical plants that were wintered in a greenhouse. The garden still has beautiful northwestern flowers that survived the assail of time with minimal care. There are also other species of  beautiful blooming flowers  of different colours.

The Ladder Creek Falls is very beautiful and the scenery around it is panoramic. The Ladder Creek Falls comprises of a series of small pools and drops across a narrow ravine. Water flow through it all around the year. There are artificial lights to color the water with varying colors in night. The falls is somewhat big and serene sound of stream is a pleasant music to ears.


The Ross Mountain just besides the highway is an eye candy. The mountain hides its treasured possession; the Ross Lake. Visitors cannot see the lake from the highway. They have to cross the mountain to have a view. If you decide to stop for few hours and explore Newhalem, be sure to take a peek of Old Number 6 locomotive, which is carefully preserved.

The houses at Newhalem are another pleasant sites. The houses look alike in construction style and appears to be well furnished when sighted from outside. Every person visitor who visited Newhalem with attest to the fact that the small town feels like something out of Twilight Zone movie!

Lodging in and around Newhalem


Newhalem is located three hours northeast of Seattle city. Because of heavy snow in the area and since the highway 20 is closed from November to April every year, Newhalem receives relatively less visitors. Limited accommodation availability in the area is due to this reason. Of late number of visitors, especially the riders, kayakers, boating lovers and hikers, are flocking to the place in increasing number. It is important to plan your trip beforehand.

There are host of towns like Winthrop, Marblemount, Roockport, Mazama and Darrington nearby but they are somehow far from Nehalem-Diablo region. Majority of visitors don’t know the exciting resorts, campgrounds and cabins that exist in and around Newhalem. The entire North Cascades region is a place for adventure and your stay should commensurate with your adventure  spirits.

Don’t be conventional when you visit North Cascades region. There is thrill of taking ferry boats to reach your cabins across the lake. Why to stay in Hotel/Lodge in far places when you can park your car right near either side of road and spend an unforgettable nights in a campground. Cabins and campgrounds are the ideal  places to stay when you are going for adventure or recreational activities.

Newhalem Campground and Goodell Creek Campground by the overflowing Skagit river bank are the best places to enjoy the essence of North Cascades region. Newhalem Campground is open only in summer. Newhalem Campground has self contained recreational vehicle and has abundant facilities to meet the needs of visitors. The campground though is on first-come first-serve basis but can be reserved for group visits. There is also an exciting evening ranger programs.

Goodell Creek Campground is smaller compared to Newhalem Campground. It is located at north bank of Skagit river. There are even running water and vault toilets facilities available, which is certainly rare in campgrounds. Each site of the campground provides a covered picnic area.

There are two other campgrounds in Diablo – a 10 minutes ride from Newhalem. The first one is Diablo Lake Campground, which operates on first-come first serve basis. Shower facility is not available. There is also evening program conducted by National Rangers during Summer. The place is good if you want explore trails. The other is a free campground goes by name George Lake Campground. It has only six campsites and they cannot be reserved. The checkout time is noon and so it is important to arrive early.

The Hozeman Campground, located in a secluded place, is a great place This is located on the northern shore of Ross Lake. It is particularly suitable for tourists coming through British Columbia, Canada.


However the best place to stay is Ross Lake Resort. The place is a bit far from Newhalem. It is located in Ross Lake’s southern shore. Tourists can park their vehicles near Diablo dam and take the passenger ferry. Upon reaching the opposite side you have to take the resort truck, which will take you to Ross Lake. The cabins in the resort is well furnished with bathing facilities. However, there is no restaurants. Visitors have to cook their own food. Kayaks, canoes and motor boats are available on rent basis.

The above are some selected places, from where you can easily access the hidden trails, glaciers, lakes, dams and waterfalls that are abundant in and around Newhalem.

North Cascades Highway: A Drive of Lifetime!


The North Cascades Mountain Range is often termed as American Alps. Close to Newhalem the beautiful mountain range in the northern area of Washington borders Canada. Visitors will be delighted to find beautiful snowy mountain lakes, great dams, narrow but steep roads, gushing mountain streams, varieties of waterfalls and glaciers. There are more glaciers in North Cascades than any other places in United States. Every American at least once in their life time should pack his bag and set out for a ride through the Cascades.


To get here you have to travel along the National Highway Number 20 – also popularly known as North Cascades Highway. Throughout your journey along the way you will be greeted with breath taking sceneries. The creepy and curvy road; finding its way over narrow bridges, through ghostly tunnels and into steep clips;  gives you an ever cherishing adrenal rush as you drive along. You will experience the true wilderness. Because of heavy snow the road remains closed usually from November to April. This makes going for a road trip when the road opens worth more cherishing.

The highway is up at some 5000 fts from sea level. Road is though of excellent quality but twisty a lot. There are plenty of deer to be seen on the way. There are around 40 waterfalls that can be viewed while driving. Road surface is wonderful and weather changes frequently. You will never forget the classy sceneries that greet you on the way.

The last point of human settlement across scenic Highway 20 is Newhalem. Just before your reach Newhalem you will experience classy scenes of Diablo and strong wind near Ross lake. The colours of the water in these dams are unusual  because of peculiar soil sediments found in the region. There are very few highways in USA that can come close to Highway 20. Once you ride across the highway you will have that never ending urge to take a trip once more.

Many tourists, especially the bikers,  make mistake of returning not coming to Newhalem and Diablo. Your Cascades trip will be incomplete if you don’t go to Newhalem. Newhalem is the very essence of North Cascades mountain region. It is around the town you will find the hidden lakes, gorges, small waterfalls, trails and wildlife.


Places to Visit in Newhalem


Lifeline of Newhalem

Newhalem has a lot of tourist attraction in and around. The Skagit General Store, which caters to the small populace of town, is opened in 1992. It has acquired a legendary status. The store is now well-stocked with merchandise and goods to cater to the local population as well as visitors.


“Old Number Six” – the steam engine

Just near the Skagit General Store is the iconic restored Baldwin locomotive steam engine. Before construction  of the North Cascades highway, the steam engine used to ferry workers and visitors between Newhalem to Rockport. Don’t forget to climb aboard the engines, ring its brass bell and take few snaps.From the foot of Main Street in Newhalem The Trail of the Cedars begin, winding up in a half-mile long through pleasant old forest grove ass passes the Creek Power plant – the source of electricity generation for the town.


ladder creek Falls

Behind George Powerhouse are located Ladder Creek Falls and Rock Gardens. The places is very refreshing with benches to sit enjoy the exotic plantings and stunning view of Ladder Creek Falls. There is an exotic suspension bridge over Skagit river which leads to the trail. There is a historical light show to witness in the place.


The Ross Crypt at the foot of Ross mountain in Newhalem is another good place to see. J.D. Ross was one of the earliest superintendents of the company that established township. Incidentally he was the first person to lead the acclaimed Skagit tour in 1928, which still operates. Goodell Creek Campground, Raft Launch and Picnic Shelter, situated to west of Newhalem, is a starting point for great rafting and wildlife observation.

The North Cascades Visitor Centre is of the two visitor centers around Newhalem. The center is operated by the National Park Service. It offers interactive wilderness exhibitions and theater programs in a lodge setting.


The gorgeous Gorge Overlook Trail

There is another trail known as The Gorge Overlook Trail, which is 3.5 miles east of Newhalem. The area overlooks Gorge Creek Falls. It has an accessible interpretive loop trail with views of Gorge Dam and Lake. Not too far from the place is the scenic Diablo Lake. It has bese accessibility to the three reservoirs: Gorge, Diablo and Ross. The file glacial sediment gives a brilliant turquoise color to the lake water. There is also a seasonal boat launch at Creek Campground with facility to experience the very special wilderness.

Newhalem is a special kind of town which every camping and nature lovers should visit at least once in life time. The place of late is bursting with Kayakers, adventurers, cyclists and rafters. Away from hustle and bustle of urban life, Newhalem is a place to experience something different.

Nostalgic Newhalem

Located at the foothill of North Cascades on the bank of Skagit river in Whatcom County, Newhalem is Nature’s paradise. The small unincorporated community in north-western Washington is flanked by The Ross Lake National Recreation Area from all sides. The place is the dead end inhabited place on Highway number 20. Until 1940 the place was accessible by train only.

Fascinating History


Newhalem though a small town can boast of a fascinating history. Its history goest back to 18th century. The word ‘Newhalem’ actually not an English word but is an upper Skagit tribal word, which means a place to snare goats. In 1800s many miners attempted to mind Gold and Silver without much luck. A local named Goodell tried to build a road connecting to the place but unable to do so because the rocks of Newhalem are harder than normal rocks.

In 1917 a company got the permit for the work and developed the small settlement of Newhalem. The first superintendent of the company there resisted the idea to build road for long time because the company did not want to loose control over the place and there were also sabotage concerns. Surprisingly in the early phase of the township the place was a great  honeymoon-adventure tourist attraction. Couples had to sleep in gender-segregated barracks.

Importance of the town

Newhalem is known mostly for the tourist attractions surrounding it. But few know that the place has also some importance in literary and movie scenes in America. Well known writer Tobias Wolff lived here when he was kid in the late 1990’s. He calls this isolated paradise as Chinook in his memoire “This Boy’s Life”.

In the movie version of the book “This Boy’s Life”, starred by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, the place along with nearby settlement Concrete called Concrete. Some portion of 1983 Hollywood film Wargames starring Matthew Broaderic were shot in New Halem.

Tourist attractions

As said before Newhalem is Nature’s paradise. People flock here, especially in summer, for camping, exploring nature and for boating across Skagit river. The town has a visitors’ center to guide tourists. The river Skagit has been life line for all scpecies of Pacific salmon found in the forest. There is a Salmon-viewing station in Newhalem Campground, which is very near to the town.

There are also several hiking trails in Newhalem such as the River Loop Trail, Rock Shelter Trail and the Trail of Cedars. The forest is inhibited by many grizzly and black bears. The North Cascades Visitor Centre is just a little over half mile walk from the town of Newhalem.

Main attractions around Newhalem are:

  1. North Cascades National Park
  2. Ross Lake National Recreation Area
  3. Newhalem Vistior Center
  4. Diablo Lake
  5. Goodell Creek
  6. North Cascades National Forest
  7. Skagit River
  8. Ladder Creek Fall

Facilities and amenities

Newhalem is a small town of around 1000 population and thus lodging and outing facilities are scarce. Newhalem Visitor centre and Newhalem Campground provide basic facilities tourists and visitors. The nearest towns/cities are Concrete, Rockport, Darrington and Marblemount. Guided tours from these places available.