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Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking North Cascades National Park

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking North Cascades National Park

By Michael Lanza

On my first trip to North Cascades National Park, I was sure I’d found heaven. The hard-earned views of a sea of jagged spires and snow- and ice-covered peaks stretching as far as you could see instantly cemented the place as one of my favorite mountain ranges. I’ve returned many times, backpacking, climbing, ski mountaineering, and dayhiking and backpacking with my family.

But not many hikers and backpackers know much about Washington’s North Cascades, one of America’s least-visited national parks. And the season for heading into the backcountry there is upon us.

Check out the gallery of photos below; I think it will persuade you to put this park high on your list. Find links to my stories about the North Cascades below the photo gallery.

The North Cascades National Park complex includes the park itself—nearly 700,000 acres, 93 percent of which is designated as the Stephen Mather Wilderness—as well as the adjoining Ross Lake and Lake Chelan national recreation areas. Ecosystems range from virgin rainforest of giant cedars, hemlocks, and Douglas firs, to sub-alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers, and alpine areas hosting about 60 percent of all the glaciers in the Lower 48. Everywhere, waterfalls pour down cliffs.

Few mountain ranges compare for the ruggedness, raw beauty, and remoteness and solitude of the dayhiking and wilderness backpacking here.

North Cascades National Park also has one of the most mind-blowing, spectacular backcountry campsites in the country (and one of my 25 best backcountry campsites ever).


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Check out all of my stories about the North Cascades, including “Primal Wild: Backpacking 80 Miles Through the North Cascades,” and “Exploring the ‘American Alps:’ The North Cascades.” The broader North Cascades region also includes the magnificent Glacier Peak Wilderness to the south of the park, and the Pasayten Wilderness to the north.


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Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip. Click here to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.


  1. Avatar

    Hi, Michael,

    I am going to be a lot about our National Parks & Seashores over the next 3 years.

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures. I have decided that I will be doing a lengthy adventure of my own. The current concept is to see every National Park & Seashore on the North American continent. Unfortunately, I missed doing this during 2016 (US NPS 100th Anniversary) and 2017 (Canada’s 150 Anniversary-where their NPS was open for free to the public), which would have been perfect match-up.

    However, so long as the Parks are still here, I’m planning on hiking, backpacking, kayaking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing them.

    I will be doing a lot of research, planning and prepping over the next 3 years to ensure I get the best memories out of my adventure.

    Your blog is at the top of my research list for ideas, info and inspiration. Thank you for going out there and bringing back the stories and imagery!


    • MichaelALanza

      Hi Callileah, that sounds like a wonderful plan. I hope you make it happen, and I’m glad my blog will be useful in helping you do that. Keep in touch and good luck.


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Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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