North Cascades National Park


Water is the essence of the North Cascades. It falls from the sky, melts off of glaciers, rages in rivers and—most dramatically—plunges from high places in spectacular waterfalls.

Waterfalls are so abundant in these mountains—they are the characteristic that gave the Cascades their name. These are some of the most famous:

Ladder Creek: Located at milepost 121 on the North Cascades Highway (SR 20) behind the Gorge Powerhouse in upper Newhalem. Cross a suspension bridge to the powerhouse, then follow signs. The trail is a 0.4-mile loop that takes you to beautiful pools and falls, colored lights, and flower gardens. The trail includes some steep steps and handrails. Flashlights are advisable at night.

Gorge Creek Falls: Located between Newhalem and Diablo on the North Cascades Highway (SR 20), Gorge Creek drops 242 feet in a breathtaking plunge. A large parking area is near the falls.

Rainbow Falls (Baker Lake): Located in the Baker Lake Basin, Rainbow Creek cascades down a steep gorge with more than a 100-foot drop. On a sunny day you will see a colorful rainbow from the viewpoint on Forest Service Road #1130.

Rainbow Falls (Stehekin): High above Stehekin Valley in the snowfields of Rainbow Ridge, the waters of Rainbow Creek plunge 312 feet in a misty cascade and end their journey in the Stehekin River.

Nooksack Falls: Located at milepost 41 on the Mt. Baker Highway (SR 542) near the town of Glacier, the North Fork Nooksack River drops more than 100 feet into a roaring mass of churning water. One of the first two hydroelectric power plants in Washington uses this drop to generate power.


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