Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gorgeous scenery marks Washington's North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park
Photo by National Park Service
If you want stunning scenery, there's no better place to find it than North Cascades National Park. It's just been named one of the top 16 places to visit in the world in 2016.  It was the only destination in the United States to make the list. 
North Cascades National Park is located in Washington State, stretching from the border with Canada south to near Twisp. The park is bisected by SR Highway 20, one of the most scenic drives you'll ever make. Many years ago, when I lived in Omak, Washington, I sometimes took Highway 20  when I went to Seattle in the summer. A longer drive, but the scenery made it worthwhile.
The route was filled with high mountains, Liberty Bell being one of the most photographed, and beautiful glacier-fed lakes. The park has more than 300 glaciers, the most of any place in the United States outside of Alaska.  The scenery must be equally as beautiful in the winter, but I wouldn't know. Because of heavy snows, the Washington Highway Department closes the highway in winter from Ross Lake on the west side of the mountains to Lone Fir Campground on the east side.
Wild flowers and wildlife abound here, among them deer, cougars and black bears. If you see one of the more than 1,500 black bears, the National Park Service wants to know about it and asks visitors to fill out a bear monitoring form.
Camping and hiking are popular activities here; hiking, especially, since the park is close to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.


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