Weekend in North Cascades National Park

July 25, 2020

Duration: 2 days
Mileage: 280
Starting point: Seattle, WA
States: WA
Budget for 2 people: $142 ($32 camp, $40 gas, $70 food, we had our $80 NP annual pass that we purchased earlier this year)

  • Day 0: drive┬áto Newhalem Campground, North Cascades NP, Washington (115 mi); settle in
  • Day 1: explore the park and hike Blue Lake trail
  • Day 2: relax in the campground,┬ádrive back home

As some of you may know, in March this year we left Bay Area, said goodbye to California for now, and relocated to Seattle, Washington. Once we got to our new place strict lockdown was enforced and we couldn't explore much for a couple of months. This year we decided to do safe traveling only and were able to enjoy multiple parks in close vicinity of Seattle. We booked several campgrounds well in advance in anticipation of National Parks reopening and were able to make our first trip to the North Cascades National Parks in July.

North Cascades National Park is located close to the Canadian border, approximately 2.5 hr drive from Seattle. We stayed for 2 nights in Newhalem campground on its territory. If there's an opportunity (campgrounds are in very high demand and are difficult to reserve) we like to arrive on Fridays after work to spend an evening by the campfire and avoid long morning drives. And that's what we did this time.

This national park is huge and we decided to check out some of the main recommended places during our first visit. On Saturday morning we headed to the Diablo Lake overlook at first. It's an amazing place to see or do some fun water activities. The lake looks much more impressive than in photos but I think photos reflect how unusual and beautiful it is!

For our main activity for the day we decided to do the Blue Lake 4.6 miles hike (921 ft elevation gain). It's a very beautiful trail through the forest with some amazing picture-postcard views:

At the end of the hike there's a rewarding view of the crystal clear Blue Lake with very cold water :)

Last but not least, we drove to the Washington Pass overlook for another kind of views:

On Sunday we spent some time around the campground and headed back home. We'll be definitely coming back to explore what else this park has to offer!