North Cascades Frontcountry Camping

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North Cascades Frontcountry Camping

by MarkDidier » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:47 pm

Looks like I'll be in the Cascades the last week in August. Plan to spend about 4-5 days in NC NP and the back half in Alpine Lakes (maybe Glacier Peak) Wilderness.

For North Cascades I plan on dayhiking (maybe one overnighter) so I would prefer to reserve a campsite and use that as a "basecamp" for our stay. I already got plenty of ideas from gimpilator and Matt Lemke on peaks; Trappers, Cascade Pass area and Black Peak are current hopes. Based on that I was planning on reserving at Newhalem. Curious what people think of that from a logistics standpoint? Would another site make more sense - or is there a better choice? I prefer to reserve a campsite instead of hoping to find an open spot at one of the other campsites. I assume it could be busy, with this being the week before Labor Day - and starting 2/23 I can book a reservation.

If I head to Alpine Lakes I hope to camp at Eightmile or Bridgecreek (I don't believe I can make reservations there) with Little Annapurna and Cashmere on the list.Still have to figure out how to fit in Chikamin before heading home...

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Re: North Cascades Frontcountry Camping

by mountainsandsound » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:08 pm

Hey Mark. I would say you would be better off with two basecamps, one on the west side (near Trappers, Cascade pass) and one on the eastside (near Black Peak). There are 3 campgrounds between WA Pass and the Methow Valley as I recall, I think they are first come-first served and you probably won't have a problem snagging a site unless you are in an RV. These campsites would put you close to Black Peak, the PCT, and any number of east side trailheads. I don't know about westside campgrounds. Keep in mind that if you are willing to hike just a little off the trail, there are places you can make camp in unofficial campsites near the road. This is illegal in the National Park but OK in much of the National Forest. Not desirable from a minimum impact point of view, but if they are already fully impacted sites and you aren't scrounging firewood it's probably not terrible. Gives you an option if all the official campsites are filled up.

Also, buy the Nat Geo NCNP map. It has been my greatest tool for plotting and planning in the area.

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