Description - The North Cascade Range is a towering mass of granite spires and prehistoric glaciers. Amid these jagged peaks, you can walk in the quiet of ancient forests, swim in seas of wildflower and peer into the glass of alpine lakes. This is sacred country for casual hikers and extreme mountaineers alike.
- The North Cascade mountains represent only one part of the beautiful North Cascades region. Beside the range's western slopes, lies the lush Skagit valley, where hundreds of bald eagles stop to rest together each winter, and feed on exhausted salmon. The Skagit Valley is also home
to the world's largest tulip fields, where, in the summer, miles of color paint the earth and can be
viewed from bike, car or small plane. Even the waters of Puget Sound are just an hour's drive
from the mountain shoulders of North Cascades National Park.
To the east lies the drier, sunnier Methow Valley, a cross-country skiing paradise, with countless
miles of pristine trails and quaint houses to rent. A little farther east, the vast hills and glades of the Okanogan National Forest tempt skiers in the winter and outdoor explorers in the warmer months. Grizzlies, wolves and elk make their homes in the thick stands of ponderosa pine that
cover peaks up to 8,000 feet high.
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, nestled in the high foothills of the southeastern part of the North Cascades region, includes the state's largest lake.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities abound in the North Cascades region. Along with camping, hiking and biking, visitors will enjoy mountain climbing, horseback riding, white water rafting and kayaking, fishing, bird watching, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
Climate - Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
The North Cascades region described here begins at the western Canadian border and stretches south along the North Cascade mountain range. The region can be accessed via I-90, U.S. Hwy. 2, State Hwy. 20, and State Hwy. 542.