Backpacking: North Cascades

McAlester Lake, North Cascades National Park

One of our goals this summer has been to camp in each of the National Parks in our area—we are so lucky to have three under three hours away: North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Olympic. Since we went to Olympic recently we headed up to the North Cascades this past weekend, drove awhile along the beautiful North Cascades Highway, which was one of the prettiest drives we’ve done, and parked at the Bridge Creek trail head to start our journey.

^Diablo Lake, along the North Cascades highway^

^we hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail for the first time (definitely though of the book Wild)^

^the wildflowers were as tall as me in some spots!^

^McAlester Lake^

^another pretty view of Diablo Lake from our drive along the North Cascades Highway^

We went to North Cascades National Park last year and did a beautiful day hike, and we’ve done several other hikes in the area this summer, but this was our first overnight stay. It’s nice to have the freedom to do a trail that’s a little longer when you don’t have the time constraints of a day hike. We hiked 20 miles on Friday and Saturday. That may not seem like too much to you more experienced backpackers but it was a lot for me!! I count it my exercise for the whole week 😉

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

North Cascades National Park

The last stop on our trip was North Cascades National Park, a beautiful mountain range bordering Canada.

Cascade Pass Hike

Our scenic hike, Cascade Pass (another ranger recommendation), took us high up into the mountains via a 25-mile dirt road through the woods. That drive was an adventure before the hike even started!

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

When the parking lot scenery is this good you know the hike will be amazing!

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

We also saw a black bear on this hike…thankfully from a very safe distance and in the presence of a few other people. I don’t mind an occasional animal sighting while in the outdoors but knowing there are bears out there always scares me, and I try not to think about it. But this bear was way above us happily munching grass on a distant hillside so it didn’t phase me too much. It was the first time either Ben or I have seen a bear.

North Cascades | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

The Cascades are called the American Alps and I can see why!