Diablo, Newhalem, Marblemount, Rockport, Concrete
The North Cascades highway (Highway 20) crosses Washington Pass at 5,477’and Rainy Pass at 4,860′. Pack a picnic and take any one of many short hikes starting just off the highway. Alpine Meadows all along this crest of the Cascades are resplendent with wildflowers in July and August. Overlooks above Ross and Diablo Lakes make excellent photo ops. The distinctive color of each lake (Ross is teal, Diablo is jade) is caused by finely ground rock dust suspended in the water and the green of the forest and the blue of the sky.
At Newhalem, the North Cascades National Park Visit or Center provides exhibits, maps, information about the park and permits for back country travel and camping. Beyond Newhalem you enter the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Preserve, a vast 1.7-million-acres. The first town with services is Marblemount where you can find accommodations, food and supplies, and of course, access to even more hiking trails.
Highway 20 follows the turbulent Skagit River, a popular whitewater rafting river in June and July. In December and January, dozens of bald eagles come here to feed on spawning salmon. You can often spot them perched in the tall trees or you can take a guided bird-watching float trip. The river is also popular for winter steelhead fishing.
The friendly little town of Concrete has changed little since the days when it was a center for cement production and a stroll down the main street definitely evokes a sense of nostalgia.
Concrete Chamber & VIC
North Cascades Business & VIC,
North Cascades National Park