The Glaciers of North Cascades in Washington StateIt is unique with 300 plus glaciers within its borders it is the most heavily glaciated area in the lower 48 states. Few roads cut through it, making it wilderness at its best. There are over 380 miles of trails to hike and 200 back country campsites.
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Stop at the Newhalem Visitor Center at milepost 120. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it has exhibits on the geology of the area as well as the plants and animals of the North Cascades. There are restrooms and a small bookstore here. The one-half mile Trail of the Cedars nature walk, which begins right outside the center, is an easy walk on a hard paved surface.
As you travel east on Highway 20, stop at the turnouts to see the majestic scenery of the area. At milepost 123, check out the Gorge Creek Falls. Don't miss the turnouts at Diablo Lake and Ross Lake Overlooks. Bring a picnic to enjoy here.
Whether a day trip or longer, the North Cascades National Park will offer awesome wilderness just a short distance from the road.
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Janice Lovelace, a freelance photojournalist, lives in Western Washington. This is the perfect jumping off point for many outdoor activities throughout the year. She writes and photographs primarily about nature and outdoor travel. She has traveled with her camera throughout most of the US (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Russia and SE Asia. Her articles have appeared in regional and national magazines.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author