North Cascades National Park Complex

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Map of North Cascades National Park Complex

North Cascades National Park Complex is a complex of the United States National Park Service (NPS) located in the north-central portion of the state of Washington. The complex manages three contiguous NPS units: North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.


The park complex is located in the northern portion of the Cascade Range. Its northernmost boundary is the Canada – United States border, while its southernmost boundary includes the northern portion of Lake Chelan. Approximately 93 percent of the park complex is overlaid with the Stephen Mather Wilderness, which was created by the Washington Parks Wilderness Act of 1988. On the U.S. side the complex is completely surrounded by wilderness or forest managed by the United States Forest Service, while Skagit Valley and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Parks border portions of the park complex boundary on the Canadian side.


North Cascades National Park is the largest unit of the park complex. It is divided into a North Unit and a South Unit, bisected by the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The park features numerous mountain peaks and glaciers.

The Ross Lake National Recreation Area (NRA) lies to the south and east of the North Cascades National Park North Unit. The area features Ross Lake, Diablo Lake, and Gorge Lake, all of which are reservoirs created by dams erected along the Skagit River by Seattle City Light. The Ross Lake NRA features the only developed areas within the park service complex, including the only visitor center within the complex boundaries, and the only paved access road to the complex (Washington State Route 20).

The Lake Chelan National Recreation Area lies to the south of the North Cascades National Park South Unit, and is the southernmost unit of the park complex. The area encompasses the northern tip of Lake Chelan and is only accessible by ferry, floatplane, or by foot.

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Coordinates: 48°20′N 121°00′W / 48.333°N 121.000°W / 48.333; -121.000