Lodge Adventure in America's Alps, North Cascades, Washington
- Hike the fabulous trails of the North Cascades
- View alpine glaciers, awesome peaks, pristine lakes, and rushing rivers
- Learn about the region from presentations by a local naturalist, historian, and ranger
- Accommodations and all meals
- On-trip transportation, including Seattle plane/train transfers
- Evening talks and discussions at the North Cascades Institute
|Dates||Jul 27–Aug 2, 2014|
The rugged mountains of Washington's North Cascades boast jagged peaks, glaciers, ice fields, high-altitude lakes, alpine meadows, and clear rushing streams. On the rainy western side of the range, you'll find the deep turquoise waters of Diablo and Ross lakes; the dry east side features ponderosa pine-rimmed valleys, vineyards, orchards, and the broad swath of the Columbia River. The region is home to the North Cascades National Park, Okanogan National Forest, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and several designated wilderness areas.
We plan a variety of hikes, following a ridge route for panoramic views of glaciated peaks and reaching high alpine meadows and snowfields. We’ll have one hike that follows the famed Pacific Crest Trail and we’ll row a canoe across Diablo Lake. To augment our daytime experiences, evenings include presentations by a local naturalist, park ranger, and regional historian.
Our trip will consist of five days of hiking. We will access our trailheads, either directly from the North Cascades Institute, onboard Seattle City Light boats, or via van to other parts of the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and the Okanogan National Forest. Weather conditions and participant interests will guide the leader’s decisions on specific hike destinations. Some prospective hikes include Thunder Knob, Fourth of July Pass, Panther Creek, and Maple Pass Loop. Late-afternoon returns will allow time for cleanup and relaxation prior to exquisite dinners and evening lecture/discussions with local experts.
Transportation by van will be provided to the North Cascades Institute (
The ride from Seattle will travel on the scenic North Cascades Highway. The route takes us along the banks of the Skagit River, where large concentrations of bald eagles nest each year. Heading up through the Cascade foothills, we'll pass the dams and reservoirs of Seattle City Light as we make our way to the North Cascades Institute on the shores of Diablo Lake.
At the end of the trip, a van will return participants to the Amtrak station or Seattle-Tacoma airport at approximately 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively, on Saturday, August 2nd. Participants should plan for departures from the airport no earlier than 2:30 p.m. Travel details will be provided in pre-trip correspondence.
Accommodations and Food
We'll stay at the North Cascades Institute (
This is a lodge-based trip, and it offers a range of hiking activities. Participants can choose from light, moderate, or more strenuous day hikes, with distances ranging from 6 to 12 miles and ascents ranging from 500 to 2,500 feet. The rewards are outstanding views of the glaciated mountain range, pristine alpine lakes, and stately, undisturbed forested valleys.
Equipment and Clothing
The climate in the North Cascades is likely to be sunny and warm in early August, but it can change quickly to windy and rainy. Additionally, the west slopes may be cool and cloudy while the east side is clear and hot.
You'll need good broken-in hiking boots for the mountain trails and snow fields. There will be opportunities to cool off in the lakes or streams, so a swimsuit will be nice if you are so inclined.
Bring a day pack and clothing that can accommodate a range of weather, and don't forget your camera and field glasses. A detailed equipment list will be available closer to the departure date.
- Mueller, Marge and Ted, Exploring Washington’s Wild Areas.
- North Cascades National Park: www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm
- Pictures from last year’s trip are at the following website: https://plus.google.com/
Protection of adjacent areas: North Cascades National Park was established in 1968, but at that time some critical portions were left out of the original park. Areas around Liberty Bell, Rainy Pass, Snowy Lakes, Cutthroat Pass, and the Cascade River were excluded as were some lowland wildlife habitats. Efforts are underway to bring them inside park boundaries.
Predator repopulation: The North Cascades currently includes remnants of once larger grizzly bear, wolf, wolverine, and lynx populations (nowhere near natural levels). These animals are essential for proper functioning of the natural wildlife ecosystem. Promotion of their recovery is an ongoing issue.
Recreation usage: Management of outdoor recreation in the North Cascades National Park is under review.