Day hikes do not require a hiking permit; however, a Northwest Forest Pass for vehicle parking may be required. Those going into the backcountry overnight must obtain a free permit at one of the visitor centers, the National Park Service Complex headquarters in Sedro-Woolley, or the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. In addition to the hikes discussed below, a small section of the famed Pacific Crest Trail, which runs some 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, goes through the park. For information on the entire Pacific Crest Trail, contact the Pacific Crest Trail Association, 1331 Garden Hwy., Sacramento, CA 95833 (tel. 916/285-1846;

10 Essential Items for Hikers in the North Cascades

The Park Service considers the following 10 items absolute essentials for hikers -- even day hikers -- in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Hikers should carry them and know how to use them.

  • Navigation (a topographical map and compass)
  • Food and water (boiling water can kill Giardia, but some treatment pills can't)
  • Clothing (including rain gear, wool socks, sweater, gloves, and hat)
  • Light (a flashlight with spare bulb and batteries)
  • Fire (waterproof matches and a fire starter, such as a candle)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  • First aid (a kit, including any special medications you might need)
  • Knife (a folding pocket knife is best)
  • Signals (both audible and visual: whistle and metal mirror)
  • Emergency shelter (a plastic tube shelter or waterproof bivouac sack)

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.