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Why Does NOBODY Visit This National Park?!

If you can believe it, Washington has one of the least visited national parks in the country!

It must be because people haven’t seen photos of this place because if they did, they’d be blown away by the beauty.

Dense coniferous forest, jagged mountain peaks, shimmering glacier lakes, and a lifetime’s worth of adventures for those keen to explore…

So, what is this magical place? Where is it?!

Hiker at Washington Pass Overlook viewpoint one of the best hikes in the North Cascades

It’s North Cascades National Park in northern Washington, nearly in Canada!

Here’s the lowdown on everything you can do here and why you gotta visit…


Get our curated list of the best adventures, things to do, and places to grab a brew loaded onto your maps with just two clicks!

About This Underrated National Park

North Cascades National Park is an adventurer’s paradise tucked away in Washington state, and it’s begging you to come!

This park is home to dense forests, rugged mountains, and pristine lakes, offering a tranquil escape for those seeking solitude and natural beauty.

Hiker on Table Mountain Trail one of the best hikes in the North Cascades
Start your adventure in the stunning North Cascades National Park!

Despite its stunning scenery, it’s one of the least visited national parks, making it a perfect destination for those looking to avoid the crowds.

Whether you’re into hiking, camping, or just soaking up breathtaking views, North Cascades is worth the visit.

Best Hikes to Tackle

Ready to hit the trails? Here are some of the best hikes in North Cascades National Park:

1. Chain Lakes Loop Trail

Distance: 7.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

The Chain Lakes Loop Trail offers stunning alpine scenery with views of Mt. Baker and numerous lakes. It’s a moderate hike with a mix of uphill climbs and downhill strolls.

View of Mount Baker from the Chain Lakes Loop hiking North Cascades
The scenery at Chain Lakes make it one of the best hikes in the North Cascades

Read more about the Chain Lakes Loop Trail!

2. Bagley Creek Loop Trail

Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy

The Bagley Creek Loop Trail is a leisurely hike through flower-filled meadows and around sparkling glacial lakes. Perfect for a quick, scenic walk.

Bagley Lake on the best hikes in North Cascades National Park
Glacial lakes along the Bagley Creek Loop Trail

3. Thunder Knob Trail

Distance: 3.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

The Thunder Knob Trail offers stunning vistas of Diablo Lake with a well-marked path that’s easy to follow. Perfect for taking in panoramic views without too much effort.

Hiker on the Thunder Knob Trail one of the best hikes in the North Cascades
Thunder Knob Trail

Want to explore more? Read more about hiking in North Cascades National Park!

4. Maple Pass Trail

Distance: 7.4 miles
Difficulty: Hard

The Maple Pass Trail is a challenging hike with panoramic views of the North Cascades. This loop trail offers a mix of forested paths and open ridgelines, perfect for avid hikers.

Hiker on the descent of the Maple Pass Trail
The descent down the Maple Pass Trail

Want more adventure? Explore the Maple Pass Trail!

5. Rainy Lake Trail

Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

The Rainy Lake Trail is a flat, well-marked path leading to a gorgeous green lake framed by the North Cascades. It’s a family-friendly hike perfect for all ages.

Hiker at lake on the Rainy Lake Trail near Maple Pass Loop
Rainy Lake on a rainy day

These are our top 5 hikes, but we have 10 more hikes listed in our hikes in North Cascades National Park post!

Other Things to Do

Aside from hiking, here are a few other activities to enjoy in North Cascades National Park:

View from Artists Point hiking North Cascades
Don’t miss the stunning views in every direction…
  • Staying in a cabin
  • Boating on Ross Lake
  • Scenic drives along Highway 20
  • Wildlife spotting and photography

WAIT! So Why Does NOBODY Visit This National Park?!

Oh right, I guess we should address this initial question! Well, there isn’t a real hard and fast reason but we think:

  • Mount Rainier and Olympic are just way more popular overall.
  • It’s a bit remote and out of the way, particularly compared to the other two national parks.

Want to explore more? Read more about our top trails at North Cascades National Park!

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