Do you have to hike to Diablo Lake? — Николай Калашников

Do you have to hike to Diablo Lake?

If you drive just over 2 hours northeast of Seattle's airport, you will find my new favorite national park, the North Cascades. It has everything you could want from an outdoor adventure--hiking trails to breathtaking views, amazingly tall trees, pristine mountain lakes for kayaking, glaciers calling out for photography, and lots of uncrowded campgrounds. A hike to Big Beaver or Hidden Hand and a watertaxi back seems like a great way to spend a day.

Whether you are going for a day trip and some short strolls with toddlers or planning on racking up some mileage in the backcountry, this national park should be on your list.

Your best bet is to stop first at the main Visitor Center in Newhalem (there are also Visitor Centers in the north section of the park and down by Lake Chelan) and talk to the rangers about weather conditions. Or you can check out the Wilderness Center in Marblemount for backcountry permits and trail conditions. The Visitor Center itself is also worth a tour. They have multiple 5 minute long videos on a loop, that cover different topics about the park, from glaciers to climate change. The kids enjoyed watching those. You can explore a large topographic map of the park and all of its glaciers as well.

Whether you are going for a day trip and some short strolls with toddlers or planning on racking up some mileage in the backcountry, this national park should be on your list.

There are lots of other day hikes in the park that we did not get to because of time constraints and snow cover but have plans to return to one day. I would particularly like to do a hike/ water taxi combo on Ross Lake. Ross Lake Resort will take you by boat to a number of trailheads around Ross Lake, from where you can hike back to your car. See their website for more information about stops and prices and the NPS map of Ross Lake for trailheads. A hike to Big Beaver or Hidden Hand and a watertaxi back seems like a great way to spend a day.

Also on the list is Cascade Pass, one of the most popular trails in the park. The forestry road to the the trailhead was closed because of snow when we there in late June but I plan on returning one day in late July or August to hike this trail. It is a great hike for kids because although it is steep (1700 feet elevation gain), it is not long (3.7 miles) to a fabulous viewpoint. That's a manageable amount of Skittles to bring along as bribery.

There are lots of other day hikes in the park that we did not get to because of time constraints and snow cover but have plans to return to one day. I would particularly like to do a hike/ water taxi combo on Ross Lake. Ross Lake Resort will take you by boat to a number of trailheads around Ross Lake, from where you can hike back to your car. See their website for more information about stops and prices and the NPS map of Ross Lake for trailheads. A hike to Big Beaver or Hidden Hand and a watertaxi back seems like a great way to spend a day.

Also on the list is Cascade Pass, one of the most popular trails in the park. The forestry road to the the trailhead was closed because of snow when we there in late June but I plan on returning one day in late July or August to hike this trail. It is a great hike for kids because although it is steep (1700 feet elevation gain), it is not long (3.7 miles) to a fabulous viewpoint. That's a manageable amount of Skittles to bring along as bribery.

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