Reservations for Newhalem Creek Campground and several group campgrounds are available through the National Recreation Reservation Service (tel. 877/444-6777; www.recreation.gov); other campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Camping in the backcountry requires a free backcountry permit, available at visitor centers or the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. The only drive-in campsites are along Wash. State Rte. 20 through the Ross Lake area, except Hozomeen, which is accessible by car only through the Silver Skagit Road, 40 miles south of Hope, in British Columbia, Canada.
Backcountry permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, in person only, on the day of your trip into the backcountry or up to a day in advance. There are no advance reservations by phone.
In Ross Lake National Recreation Area
For information, contact the national park offices (tel. 360/854-7200). The following campgrounds assign sites on a first-come, first-served basis.
Goodell Creek Campground, just west of Newhalem, is popular with paddlers and anglers. It has a good view of the Picket Range from just across the highway. Drinking water is not available from late fall through winter. A raft and kayak launch adjacent to the campground is available for white-water runs down the Skagit River. This campground is open year-round.
Newhalem Creek Campground, one of the area's busiest, is at the center of the action near the North Cascades Visitor Center. It's wheelchair accessible and has many short hiking trails nearby. Park rangers present weekend campfire programs in the summer.
Colonial Creek Campground, on the banks of the Thunder Arm part of Diablo Lake, is the largest campground on the highway, and the busiest. It has pleasant sites on the water and access to boat ramps. Park rangers present nightly interpretive programs during the summer.
Hozomeen Campground is a more primitive campground, with no garbage facilities, at the northern tip of Ross Lake. Drinking water is provided. Gorge Lake is a small campground alongside Gorge Lake and Stetattle Creek without water or garbage.
In Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
At the north end of the lake, near Stehekin, are 11 campgrounds, most of which are served by the shuttle bus from Stehekin. Purple Point Campground is right in Stehekin and is the most convenient to the boat landing.
For information on campgrounds in the Stehekin Valley, contact the Golden West Visitor Center, P.O. Box 7, Stehekin, WA 98852 (tel. 360/854-7365). A free backcountry permit is needed for these campgrounds. Permits are available in person only at the Golden West Visitor Center, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Along the North Cascades Highway
Right in Rockport, there are campsites in a large open field at the Skagit County-run Howard Miller Steelhead Park (tel. 360/853-8808). If you make a reservation, there is a $7 fee for the first night.
East of Marblemount are a couple of small National Forest Service campgrounds on the Cascade River Road, which leads to the trail head for the popular hike to Cascade Pass. Among them, Marble Creek is 8 miles east of Marblemount, and Mineral Park is 18 miles east.
For U.S. Forest Service campground reservations, call tel. 800/444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov.
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.