North Cascades National Park is one of the top attractions in the state of Washington. There’s a really good reason for this too as there is just so much to see there. If you love history, natural beauty, or just the opportunity to get away from it all, this is the place to go. You can walk back in time, see amazing engineering marvels, stare up at incredible mountain peaks, and so much more. When you visit there, bring your camera and your sense of wonder. Both will be fully occupied in North Cascades National Park.
I reached out to the fine people who take care of North Cascades National Park for the rest of us, and Visitor Services Assistant Charlie Kolb was more than generous with his time as he took a moment to answer our five questions.
5 Questions With North Cascades National Park
Do you know about how many people visit North Cascades National Park every year?
Answer: North Cascades National Park is actually part of a three unit complex which also includes Ross Lake National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Combined, these three units receive approximately 800,000 visitors per year.
What would you say are the top three easily accessible spots in North Cascades National Park to enjoy a picnic at?
Answer: In the village of Newhalem near the Skagit River, Colonial Creek Campground on the shores of Diablo Lake, and above the lake at Diablo Lake overlook.
Is there a piece of little known info or “fun fact” about North Cascades National Park that most people wouldn’t know?
Answer: That the American Pika (*Ochotona princeps*), which can be seen running around rock fields and talus slopes at higher elevations, is actually a species of rabbit, rather than a rodent like the Hoary Marmot (*Marmota caligata*). The primary difference is in their up incisors (front teeth) of which they have four rather than two.
What are other more popular spots?
Answer: Diablo Lake is another great place to visit as is the Diablo Lake Overlook, which is just past Colonial Creek Campground on Highway 20. There are some great hikes as well, that start outside the park boundary, like the Maple Pass Loop that offer views deep into the park that most people rarely see.
Park rangers are the backbone of every national park. Do you have an estimate of how many work in North Cascades National Park?
Answer: As of 2015 we had 71 year round employees, performing all the tasks that kept the park running and then hired 104 seasonal employees to help out during the busy season in the summer.
I’d like to send out a big thank you to the staff at North Cascades National Park, both for answering our pesky questions and for the great service they provide. If you’re looking for a great road trip possibility, I can’t recommend the North Cascades Highway enough. It’ll take you right through North Cascades National Park and give you more than enough to do and see.
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