Cascade Pass is the most beautiful and popular hike in North Cascades National Park, with an abundance of glaciated peaks, waterfalls, and wildflower meadows. The hike is 3.7 miles (one way) and 1,800 ft of climb, and highly recommended. For further temptation, see my Cascade Pass photo album.
But if hiking isn’t your thing, you can get an eyeful of the spectacular scenery from the trailhead parking lot, which offers a 360-degree view of the mountain landscape. This cache is a small lock&lock hidden at the edge of the parking lot; no hiking required. You can reach it without stepping outside the parking area. Please be discreet, as there may be cars and people a few feet away.
The North Cascades are the wildest and steepest mountains in the continental U.S. outside Alaska, and are named for the many magnificent waterfalls that cascade from hanging glaciers and steep cliffs. The ice age lives on here, with more than 300 active glaciers within the park – more than any other national park, including Glacier NP. One of the most prominent from the cache site is the hanging glacier on Johannesburg Mountain, across the valley from the parking lot; I saw and heard an avalanche from the glacier while placing this cache!
Be sure to read the excellent interpretive signs in the parking area, which cover the geological and human history of this amazing area.
To reach Cascade Pass parking, take Hwy 20 to Marblemount. Turn onto Cascade River Road, and drive 23 miles (the last 17 on gravel) to the road-end parking lot.
This is the first physical cache permitted in North Cascades National Park. It was placed with the support of the Interpretive Specialist, and approved by the Superintendent, North Cascades National Park Service Complex.