North Cascades Highway
North Cascades Highway
4.5
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A scenic highway measuring 132 miles.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles331 reviews
Excellent
259
Very good
60
Average
10
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1
Terrible
1

Grover R
Pensacola, FL21,755 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Washington Hwy 20 (North Cascades Highway) is truly one of the prettiest drives in the country as it winds along the Skagit River and cuts the North Cascades mountains. What makes it impressive is the height and verticality of the mountains as well as the impressive covering of larger timber of fir and spruce giving the mountains an evergreen color until the top which is a rocky blueish-grey capped by glacial ice. As those glaciers melt and the water cascades down those vertical walls to the lakes along the Hwy 20 damns, the water is turned a beautiful emerald green that makes places like Diablo Lake one of the most visited parts of North Cascades National Park and Hwy 20 what most people see in the park. It is also on Hwy. 20 that you will find the iconic National Park sign as well as the Visitor's Center.

The irony is that the entirety of Hwy 20 and its overlooks on the beautiful glacial lakes is not in North Cascades Park. Technically, when you drive on Hwy 20, you are in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area which about 300,000 people visit annually. Only about 25,000 people annually make it into North Cascades National Park. Outside the technicality, the vast majority of people and even the NPS make it look like the NP and the NRA are one park. So when you drive 20, you really do in essence see the park and some of its best scenery, certainly its most popular.

Additionally, Hwy 20 provides the only access to many towns like Marblemount, WA. We stayed and ate in Marblemount and the hotel and restaurant were both on Hwy. 20.

The day we visited was misty with low clouds which means our views were hindered. Still even at the bottom you could see how awesome the park and this road were. We did get to the Visitor's Center and hike Skagit River Loop trail and stop at the Diablo Lake Overlook. However, most of the pull overs and hikes were not open due to the recent fires. In fact, many days in August and even September, Hwy 20 was closed due the fires. I was just happy that we got to see Diablo Lake as it is truly amazing and the most incredible sight in the park. Even limited it was an incredible drive.
Written September 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RobbieLincoln
Lincoln, NE152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
Diablo Lake looks like a slice of Switzerland. Note that this park is very no frills. Johnny houses, sketchy cell phone coverage.
Written August 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dfb260
Staunton, VA470 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
Great drive through one of the more remote areas of the lower 48.
Nice views, many trails, campgrounds, etc.
Written September 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David B
27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
Every National Park has its own distinct features-and North Cascades NP has its very own!

From the many glaciers high above, trickling down into the nearby valleys, the glacier green waters fill every creek, brook, river and lakes. The gorgeous Skagit River, especially, leads you all the way from Burlington to the National Park.
Hiking through the many trails provided ample viewing of waterways and woodlands. You will never forget the color of the water!!!
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sathwick_rao
San Francisco, CA38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
We drove during the Fall of 2021 and the drive is amazing. With fall colors, vibrant colors, multiple lakes, and hikes all the way through, this is a must-drive stretch if you are visiting Cascades park. You don't need a map with spots marked to stop by, instead, just play by the ear and stop where you feel nice, relax, unwind and continue....
Keep full day if you plan to just drive with small stops and minor hikes.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

luckyv
Coldwater, OH147 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
This could be a hidden gem in the National Park System and is great for travelers who enjoy the views from a car or walk instead of strenuous hikes.
Unfortunately due to Covid, the visitor centers were not open, but the drive to Ross Lake is beautiful. There is a hiking trail at that destination, which was longer and more difficult than we could attempt. The view is great, but be sure to stop at Diablo Lake as another reviewer suggests. The blue-green of the lake is gorgeous and almost unbelievable. This glacier fed lake is reminiscent of those of Banff National Park in British Columbia. It's about a two hour drive from Burlington, but is definitely worth the time.
Written October 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BAR
Bellingham, WA2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
If there are 7 wonders of the world, then Diablo Lake and the North Cascades should be included. If not, then there should be an 8th wonder! No words can fully justify the beauty this part of the world offers us. It's absolutely spectacular and it must be seen, enjoyed and RESPECTED so future generations can come to enjoy it also. Plan to stay at one of the campgrounds.
Written August 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve C
Toledo, WA1,348 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
Don't come here.
Its not an AMAZING alpine masterpiece of nature.
Its not Washington's version of the Going to the sun road.
I mean, its free, how great can it be?
We hated it SO much we drove back from Leavenworth to be able to experience it from the reverse.
Just stay away. it really sucks.

On a VERY serious side note, when driving through Oso on the way out here, one should pause for a moment to remember....if you remember.

Or don't.
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PandaHouston
Houston, TX6,125 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
You will find a few overlooks and trails along the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20). At the time of our visit, 8/10 and 8/11, the wildfires closed down part of Route 20. We were initially going to stay in Winthrop but had to cancel because of the closure. We had to stay in Bellingham instead.

However, when we did visit on those days, our views were not impacted by the wildfires.

Our favorite hike in the area was Blue Lake and Diablo Lake Vista Point / Overlook is a must see. The Washington Pass Observation Site was also really nice.
Written August 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bill K
Mantorville, MN6,294 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
This is a beautiful scenic drive that bisects the park and offers multiple opportunities to hike, pull off for gorgeous views, and experience waterfalls and other natural wonders.
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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North Cascades Highway - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All things to do in North Cascades National Park
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