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Washington Pass Overlook

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
View map below

Length

0.25 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 61 ft.
Highest Point: 5581 ft.

Rating

3.50 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

For unrelenting in-your-face beauty you cannot beat this roadside, wheelchair-friendly, quarter-mile jaunt. Towering granite peaks, white granite outcrops, and a mix of conifers makes this a soul rejuvenating rest stop like no other.

This hike may be taken either way. If any member of your group has limitations the lower end of the trail (righthand, counter-clockwise direction) provides for easier terrain and the best views.

The first 200 yards of this trail are a wide, nearly flat, paved trail with a handrail. Initially your way is shrouded in subalpine firs draped in wolf’s lichen, but quickly the views open up to an expansive view of high alpine beauty, where the Liberty Bell group of peaks steals the show.

The namesake’s east face rises a sheer 2000 feet above sinuous Highway 20 below. Ranges of jagged ridgelines fall away in succession; Vasiliki Ridge, Snagtooth Ridge, Kangaroo Ridge; it is a veritable alpinist’s wonderland for the low admission price of pulling off the highway. In season, your views of golden larches spreads across the apron of Liberty Bell, will be the easiest won autumn colors you’ll ever see. 

After the trail’s first overlook the route gets a little steeper. A set of stairs, some natural granite outcrops, and a steepish section of pavement makes this trail a more of a challenge for those with mobility concerns. Luckily there are a few benches to sit, relax, and luxuriate in this Odinesque terrain. Stay and enjoy the view; your car is just around the corner and there is no rush.

 

Washington Pass Overlook

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.5245, -120.6581 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

Washington Pass Overlook (#585)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Methow Valley Ranger District

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Getting There

 From Newhalem, on Highway 20, travel eastbound about 44 miles to Washington Pass. The ‘Overlook’ parking lot is on the north side of the road (or left when traveling eastward).

Drive into the overlook area about a quarter-mile until a fancy, prominent building is on your left. Park here by the picnic tables. The trailhead is by the kiosk towards the direction which you came.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Washington Pass Overlook

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