Where to Spot Bald Eagles in North Cascades?

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The Eagle Festival, 2017 has come up to life and is going full throttle in North Cascades area. The entire region is bustling with activities with swarms of visitors flocking the area. Majority of visitors come to see the peculiar bald eagles that come to the region during the January months. Here is where to spot Bald Eagles in North Cascades. [Read more…]

Newhalem Creek Falls

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Newhalem Creek Falls

Newhalem Creek Falls is an amazing waterfall near the town of Newhalem in Ross Lake Recreation Area. The large volume creek flows north into the Skagit river outside Newhalem. Around a Kilometre half above the mouth, the creek sluices amount many large boulders then falls and veils down a 168 feet tall

If viewed from above the stream looks much more vertical than what it really is, and when from below it becomes foreshortened because of its run and pitch. Due to the nature of the cliff terrain, during the season when the creek runs high, the falls spread out and look like a Fan shaped waterfall. The falls are suitably used to generate hydroelectricity and a part of the creek diverted near the top of the falls, which causes a much narrower and less impressively shaped waterfall during the late winter season.

Newhalem Creek Falls is easily one of the best waterfalls in the Ross Lake area, if not the best. The waterfall is partially visible from the road but dangerous place to venture into. You can view the fall cleanly only when you climb to the edge of the precarious canyon and finding a viewing spot through the thick and thorny forest. Another way to have a clear site of the waterfall is reaching the bottom of the falls. The  bottom is very slippery and sliding.  Visitors need to exercise  utmost caution.

Exact Location of the Falls

The Newhalem Creek Falls is located near Newhalem in the Ross Lake NRA area of the North Cascades National Park complex. If you are coming from  east on State Route 20, proceed to Newhalem, a small town 15 miles east of Marblemount, and 26 miles east to Rockport.

The highway crosses Goodell Creek before entering Newhalem. After crossing one fifth of a mile from Goodell Creek, turn right towards the North Cascades Visitors Center and the Newhalem Creek campground. Then drive  past the campground, straight ahead at the four way stop.  After you drive 2/3 of a miles on a gravel road forking to the left the visitors center comes into view. You don’t have to take permission from the center.  Just follow this gravel road for about 1.1 miles and you will spot  the falls through the trees in the canyon below.

You can continue driving the road, which ends at 1 1/2 miles at a stream gauge and trailhead.  Just turn around if you feel you have gone too far. Exercise  strict caution if you plan on scrambling down the slope to have a view the falls. The ground beneath  is crumbly,  and the canyon walls drop off sharply.

Nostalgic North Cascades Highway

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State Route 20 in the North Cascades region is also known as North Cascades Highway. The highway is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in the state of Washington. Highway 20 considered to be one of the best scenic highways not only in USA but also in the world.
Highway 20 crosses Rainy Pass at 4, 860 feet and Washington Pass at 5, 477 feet. The sides of the highway is packed with picnic and hiking spots all along. The Alpine Meadows on the way are full with wildflowers in the months of July and August. Ross Lake and Diablo Dam overlooks are great for photo shoots. The green forest and blue sky compliment the teal water of Ross lake and jade water of Diablo dam. Their distinct colours is caused by finely ground rocks dust suspended in the water.
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Across the highway, Newhalem is a pretty little town, where every highway rider should stop by. The North Cascades National Park Visitor center offers audio-video exhibits, info and maps about the the park. Visitors can secure permit for camping and back country travel. Beyond Newhalem lies the majestic Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest reserve – a 1.7 million acres forest of pure delight.
However, services like food and supplies, and accommodation is very limited in the small town of Newhalem. You should be heading to Marblemount which has all the facilities including lodging. The pristine town to has many hiking trails, which you can take should time permits.
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Concrete town

The North Cascades Highway follows the course of the curvy Skagit River. The water of the river unlike the colours of waters of lakes and dames in the region is pristine white. The river is popular for fishing, rafting and boating activities. In December and January, many bald eagles fly to the spot to feed on aplenty salmon in the area. You can spot these eagles perched on tall trees. If you are a bird lover you should be taking a guided bird-watching tour.
There few miles from Newhalme, there lies the friendly little town of Concrete. The historic town was one the foremost centre for cement production in USA. The interesting thing is the town has changed very little and a stroll across its streets can evokes a feeling of nostalgia. The Concrete high school is well-known for its bridge like structure under with the highway passes.

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

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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.