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Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

Virginia, USA
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Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

NCNP has been way off my radar, so I really don't have any preconceived ideas. We will be there for 5 days in July - arriving from the east on Rt 2 (Selkirk Loop). We are mid sixties in a self contained popup truck camper. I have some physical issues, so hiking 2-3 miles is about my limit. - I'm grateful to be able to do that. My thought is to start:

Day 1 - Probably camp at Sun Lakes and go Chelan and the Lake trip to Stehekin - Is it reasonable to return from the boat ride and try to get to Winthrop - I'd plan on a reserved campsite there since it would be a late - maybe after dark arrival.

Day 2 - 5 - questions - would you recommend staying on the east side of the park for a day (Probably camping near Winthrop) to do Hikes there - like Rainy Lake - or drive to the west side of the park and get a campsite and drive back and forth - I've read that some people prefer Colonial Campground to Newhalen - but Colonial isn't reservable, so what's the chance of getting a site there mid-day to mid-afternoon? I have the Erik Molvar Best Easy Hikes, but would be open to suggestions keeping my limitations in mind. I've been known to start out on longer trails and just turn around when I think I'm half done....so I do sometimes get the highlights of those trails. so if you have suggestions for longer trails with good scenery, etc in the first mile to 2 miles, I'd welcome that as well.

So my main question is should we base camp on the west side of the park and go everywhere from there? or split the base came - 2 days east and 3 days west.

Thanks.....

Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

Split the time. You're closer to Rainy Lake if you camp near Mazama instead of Winthrop. Klipchuck is a nice campground, as long as you don't have your heart set on flush toilets, and I've always had good luck getting spots there even on summer weekends.

I'd call the park when it gets closer and ask what time to get to Colonial Creek by. I bet as long as its not a weekend you'll be fine. Newhalem IMO is just too far east and out of the mountains to then want to go back up and sightsee or hike.

I think you can answer question one by looking at the boat times and driving distances online.

silverdale,wa
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2. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

I would definitely try to make the boat trip to Stehekin,the Lady Express leaves at 8:30 AM and gets back at 2:45 or Lady of the Lake II leaves at 8:30 AM and arrives back at 6:00 PM. You'll have to make advance res also to be sure of the trip. I don't know how long either boat stays in Stehekin as I've only been there on a hike on the PCT from Canada. Excellent bakery,ice cream and some interesting buildings. I understand the views going up and down the lake are awesome.It's about 2+ hours to Winthrop and you'll want to spend a full day wandering around town. There are several RV cgs in town and I know that you won't be able to get into Perrygine Lake SP as I've already tried for this summer. I have stayed at Lone Fir and there are a couple of hikes out of there and great fishing along the edge of the cg. Rainey Pass has a nice picnic area and the trail to the lake is accessible.The PCT crosses the highway there and the south run has some great views to the south while the run north is UP. I have done the route from Canada to Kennedy Hot Springs and that stretch is a major DOWN. From there the next cg is Colonial Creek and is really nice if you can get in. The hike south along Thunder is quite lovely and as it follows the creek it's pretty level. From there,I have no problems with Newhalem creek or Goodell Creek ,except that I think you need res for parts of Newhalem. A must see is the boat trip and you just may be able to dry camp for a night in their parking lot. As you're heading east after that,I would suggest that you turn at Marblemount and head up towards Cascade pass as even if you don't hike up to the pass the view up into the mountains is another awesome sight. There are two small NFS cgs up there.

I don't know where you're going from there,but either Darrington or Concrete are pretty interesting with Darrington the more so and it's also the north end of the Cascade Loop Highway which has several nice hikes and a number of nice NFS cgs also.

Mukilteo, Washington
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3. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

Be aware that the Darrington Bluegrass Festival is July 18 - 20, so it will be full of banjo pickers and fiddlers, campgrounds will be full..

Also from July 18 - 20 is the annual Winthrop Blues Festival and the place will be mobbed. Outside of Winthrop (Mazama actually) you could drive up the Lost River and from there up to Hart's Pass, the highest point reachable by car in Washington State with magnificent views across the Pasayten Wilderness (subject to road conditions) and some short hikes around the high country.

I agree with others to check out Stehekin. It is set right inside of the Chelan National Recreation Area and you can hike right out of town along the lake shore on easy, level trails.

Can't guarantee that Colonial Campground in North Cascades National Park will be available in July, but within easy reach along the first mile or so of trail out of the campground there is a stand of old-growth Douglas Fir trees.

Vancouver...
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4. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

CJ: did you read the other posting that's relevant to your question before you posted and did that help you any? Chuck.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143046-i3919-k691…

Tacoma, Washington
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5. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

I cant romment on camping sites...but I would try to do more time on the western side.

There are two parts that arent easily to get to from each other. One part is the WA 20 corridor that goes through Ross Lake NRA, and the other road goes to Mt Baker WA 542 You have to drive out to I-5 or WA 9 to go between these two places.

Virginia, USA
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6. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

Thanks Everyone - Skijon, you said "A must see is the boat trip and you just may be able to dry camp for a night in their parking lot." Did you mean the boat trip on Lake Chelan? Drycamping in the parking lot there would be great. I should call and ask.

Chuck, I did read the post you referred to. I was afraid the responses were talking about hikes that would be to much for me...but yes there was good info there. I certainly appreciate everyone's help.

silverdale,wa
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7. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

The boat trip to stehekin is an awesome trip, but I was also referring to the boat trip that Seattle City light does on Ross Lake and Diablo lake. Not to be missed. There is a city park in Chelan, but good luck in the summer and they don't allow animals, Dawgs, at all in the summer. Even in your rig. I was talking about boondocking at the town of Newhalrm where they leave for that boat trip.

8. Re: Five Days for North Cascades -where to camp and what to do

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