North Cascades National Park: If it’s not spectacular, make it spectacular!

Many people we talked with said, North Cascades are nice, but not with much enthusiasm. So it was difficult to expect something new. From Leavenworth we went north and passed the Washington Pass on Highway 20. Great scenic road, most of the landscape covered in snow! Then we entered the North Cascades National Park from the east side.

Awesome view to the Devils Lake: Cyan colored glacier water with thick forest surrounding! Our destination was the Visitor Center in Newhalem to check possible hikes and look for a campsite. We were lucky to get one of the last ones (weekend before Independence Day). It was late afternoon so we decided to do a hike on the next day. We prepared a fabulous steak which we bought in Winthrop that day. Delicious!

Most of the longer trails were covered in snow on top. Dangerous to get lost on the hike! We decided to make a shorter four mile hike, the Thunder Knob Trail, with less elevation. On top you have a great view to the Devils Lake and the Ross Lake Dam. We met an older guy from Seattle enjoying the view and a beer on the peak. We talked plenty minutes about his travels to Mexico on his motorcycle. Funny guy and thanks for the tips!

When we went back to our campsite, we stopped at the George Creek Falls. A very high water fall in a narrow canyon – pretty cool! At the evening we grilled brats and went to bed early, because we had to get up early on the next day. First of all we have to change our campsite. It was Independence Day weekend and we haven’t placed a reservation one month before at that campground. There was one first-come-first-serve campground about twenty miles away. We arrived at 8:30 and were the lucky guys who got the last one.

We have seen pictures of the Devils Creek at Ross Lake. We have to get there! With a kayak it takes at least two days to make the distance of about thirty miles. At the boat rental of the Ross Lake Resort they had just a motor boat available for that Friday. Ok, better than nothing. On the same day we packed our stuff and walked from the parking lot about three miles down and up over the Ross Lake Dam to the Ross Lake Resort. It’s just a one mile hike when you take the ferry to the resort. Good to know before you arrive …

So we chartered our motor boat and started our trip on the 20 miles long Ross Lake. It was much more fun than expected. Greatest weather at a place in the middle of nowhere… There was nothing than one trail and some rough campgrounds on our way. Most of them you just reach by boat. Some guys do five to seven days kayak adventure trips there. Dreaming of it … maybe next time!

Then we entered the Devils Creek. Gorgeous! We’ve never seen something comparable: A narrowing creek with high rocks covered with moss and brightest water. You can see fish in a depth of more than five meter. We went to the start of the creek, narrow and high stream, but it was an awesome place. Staying there for maybe twenty minutes improves your boat driving skills dramatically. 😉

Along the Ross Lake we never got bored. Another creeks, islands and waterfalls are also a good entertainment. When we saw the other end of the lake (already in Canada), we got a bit nervous. The guy at boat rental said we only need a second tank of fuel when we go to the other end of the lake and cross it several times. This wouldn’t happen, but he never counted with us. 😛 But we brought the boat back early enough, loaded with sun and fresh air and filled with great impressions.

The next day we left North Cascades heading to Olympic National Park. We heard so many recommendations of it!

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