Contact North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 Wash. State Rte. 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 (tel. 360/854-7200; www.nps.gov/noca). The park publishes an annual newspaper, the North Cascades and Mt. Baker Visitor Information Guide, in conjunction with the Forest Service full of useful information. For current information, such as road closures, call or check the park's website.
The North Cascades Visitor Center, mile marker 120, Wash. State Rte. 20, Newhalem (tel. 206/386-4495), open daily in the summer, offers exhibits, audiovisual programs, a bookstore, and assistance from rangers. A wheelchair-accessible trail (Sterling Munro Viewpoint) leads from the back of the building and affords excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Several other universally accessible trails, including the Rock Shelter Trail, are nearby.
The Golden West Visitor Center, P.O. Box 7, Stehekin, WA 98852 (tel. 360/854-7365, ext. 14), is on the banks of the northern tip of Lake Chelan. It provides information on camping, hiking, backcountry permits, and the local environs, and has interpretive exhibits and a bookstore. It's open daily in the summer and keeps shorter hours in winter. You can also rent bicycles from a concessionaire.
Fees & Permits
There are currently no entrance fees for the park complex, though there are fees for camping. The Northwest Forest Pass ($5 per day, $30 per year) is required for Forest Service trail heads. A dock fee pass ($5 per day, $40 per year) is required on Lake Chelan from May 1 until October 31. Backcountry permits are required but free.
Special Regulations & Warnings
Wash. State Rte. 20 is usually closed from mid-November through mid-April. Call the park complex headquarters in Sedro-Woolley (tel. 360/854-7200), or check the park's website, www.nps.gov/noca, for current information.
Check in at a visitor center for full details on trails before you head into the backcountry. This is bear and mountain lion (cougar) country; pick up the free handout on hiking and camping safety.
Other than the general precautions that anyone would take when camping in a wilderness area, keep in mind that the North Cascades National Park Service Complex can be extremely remote for both the backcountry hiker and the park driver. Even when day hiking, remember to carry enough water (and all of the 10 essential items). Don't forget bug spray -- the area has a lot of water (not necessarily to drink) and, consequently, lots of insects during some seasons at some locations.
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.