Most of the North Cascades region was never logged. The result is virgin or primeval forests, meaning that you will find a large number of giant trees wherever you go. Make your way off the main road on most hiking trails and you will start noticing trees that have very large bases.
Many of these trees are several century’s old and over 200 feet (60 m) tall. The most impressive feature for me though is the width you will find at the base of these trees. Some can measure more than 15 feet 4.5 m) in diameter.
The Baker River Trail winds 2.6 miles (4.33km) through one of the best old growth forests in the state. The elevation gain is only 200ft (62m) and is not very noticeable.
The lack of elevation gain makes this a very easy hike to bring kids along. After 0.6 miles (1km) you will reach a suspension bridge that crosses the Baker River.
From that location you can cross the bridge and travel 14 miles around the south side of the lake or take a left and proceeded up the Baker River.
The Baker River Route will send you past beaver ponds and several waterfalls also along the trail it ends at the Sulphide Camp where Sulphide Creek flows into the Baker River.
From US 20 take Baker Lake Road 5 miles east of Hamilton. Drive 25 miles down Baker lake road to its end and the trailhead.
There is a turnoff from Cascades Highway leading to Diablo Dam. The spur road is steep and winds a bit and then continues on this narrow two lane bridge. From this point, a gravel road leads to Diablo Dam.
Continue farther through the ridgetop meadows - flowers in July, berries in August, colors in September. The view to Shuksan reveals the entire western and northern flanks of this glorious peak. To the mountain's left, you can peer into the Nooksack Cirque, known as the 'deepest, darkest hole in the North Cascades'.
East WA 542 to town of Glacier; 2 miles beyond, right on Canyon Cr Rd #31 and 15 miles to trailhead at roadend - 4200 feet/1273 meters.
This trail is not quite into the Park, but it allows a glimpse of the northwestern fringes and the glorious Nooksack glacial valley, far below. Good roads deposit you at the heady heights of 4200 feet/1273 meters. From the trailhead you make your way up past the forested Damfino Lakes - ponds, really - tothe ridge itself, a grand meadow covered ridge standing 5000 feet above the Nooksack River. To your immediate south is the dramatically glacial-encrusted volcanic cone of Mt Baker, 10775 feet/3284 meters - Washington State's third highest peak after Rainier and Adams.
There is an outdoor exhibit at the Diablo Lake overlook, which shows examples of the types of rock which comprise the North Cascades.
There is a short trail, called the Happy Creek Forest Walk, which starts at the Diablo Lake overlook. Its a short paved trail through old growth forest.
Highway 20 passes through Ross Lake Recreation area and is the only paved road in the park. Most portions of the highway are closed in the winter.
Highway 20 runs east and west across the lower portion of the park. There are numerous pullouts and overlooks which provide views of the mountains and reservoirs of North Cascades.
The North Cascades Visitor Center is a small log building which has a few exhibits on the park. Its open from October through April. A one lane bridge provides access to the visitor center.
The Skagit river, which was created by some of the many glaciers in North Cascades NP, flows alongside Hwy 20.