My Experience of Camping in North Cascades National Park

camping-at-newhalem

One of my  good friends suggested a camping trip in the North Cascades recently. I was in mood. So it seemed like an awesome idea to spend the summer. I never had a camping trip. So I was excited about my the  trip to the North Cascades.  As the tour approached, I became progressively anxious. I was  unsure of my own decision because of many factors. What about wildlife? Would it be possible for city boy to live without showers and electricity?

With lot of apprehension I took my flight to Seattle with a huge backpack in tow. The flight from Newyork to Seattle was pleasant and enjoyable. I love sleeping and so I had a Vat 69 induced nap before the announcement  of landing made. I woke up from the slumber  just in time. Or else I would have missed the awesome aerial view of Seattle city.

From Seattle we hired a self-drive cab and set off into timelessness of North Cascades. There are many campgrounds in the region. After going through internet and sites like Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com my friend and I settled on Newhalem Campground. Availability of bathing facility and electricity is one of the reason why we choose Newhalem Campground.  There is a popular yet historic general store in the small town of Newhalem and the store is located just few hundred meters from the campground.

ross-lake

For people going to North Cascades there is another popular campground by name Colonial Creek Campground near Newhalem . For the more adventurous type tourists, backcountry camping sites are free. One advantage is the best views they offer if you’re up for the trek!

North Cascades National Park has several trails for different  levels of hikers. If you would like to challenge yourself, the place has several intense, adrenaline rushing high-incline hikes. Your labour with be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views in the Pacific Northwest.

Our weekend tour was a lighter type. We did cycling,  kayaking, canoeing, paddling, explored nearby areas around Newhalem. We checked all  trails near Newhalem Campground, Most of these trails are locate on the edge the Skagit River. There was a moonlight  guided tours which we took. I would never forget how amazing it was. 

If you plan to go here is  this guide from the National Park Service. Plan your trips accordingly. Getting accommodation sometimes difficult because they operates on first-come-first-serve basis. 

Lodging in and around Newhalem

Goodall-Campground-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.

ross-lake-resort

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.