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North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park calls visitors to its rugged landscape of high mountain peaks tipped with about 300 glaciers. A contrast of climates characterizes the park, with moisture on the western side creating a temperate rainforest while dry weather on the eastern side leaves behind a more austere landscape dotted with ponderosa pines. Vertical relief reaches as much as 2,743 m (9,000 ft), so snowmelt near the mountain peaks forms tall waterfalls as the water tumbles off of ledges on its way down to the valleys below. The park is home to grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, mountain goats, and wolves. Plant life varies greatly here, from lichens and ferns in the rainforest, to wildflowers in the alpine meadows, to lodgepole pine on the dry eastern mountain slopes. The varied ecosystems serve as settings for equally diverse outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, birding, fishing, climbing, and horseback riding. The park's location about three hours from Seattle by car puts it within relatively easy reach. Use our United States travel planner to arrange the hows, wheres, and whens of your trip to North Cascades National Park.
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