North Cascades National Park

Hiking in North Cascades National Park

We stayed in Sedro-Woolley, WA, mainly to visit our third and last National Park of Washington State, the North Cascades. In August 2020, we only drove the scenic route through the park and stopped at some overlooks.  We wanted to come back even thought we already knew that North Cascades national park’s mountains are rough and steep, with teal-blue mesmerizing lakes, because the only real way to experience a national park’s uniqueness is by putting on hiking shoes and hitting the trails.

The Secluded Happy Creek Waterfall

After picking up the brochure at North Cascades NP Visitor Center, we drove to the Ross Lake Trail parking lot to discover every parking spot was taken. Our brochure showed another parking place half a mile down the road at the Happy Creek Trailhead. There was limited parking at this trailhead; however, one spot was still available. 

This trail seemed less busy than the Ross Lake Trail, so we started with the Happy Creek Trail and hiked to the waterfall. The first part, over the boardwalks, was flat and easy, but the second part was rough and steep. The strenuous climb was definitely worthwhile, with mesmerizing mountain and lake views. And, of course, the secluded Happy Creek Waterfall.

Ross Lake Trail

Back at the parking lot, we continued to the Ross Lake Trailhead to start the trail recommended by the visitor center. We enjoyed the views of the mountains, lake, dam, and waterfalls; however, it was too crowded for us, too many other walkers likes this popular trail as well.

In hindsight, we were more impressed by the Happy Trail hike we accidentally picked that morning. It was rough, steep, and strenuous.  However, this is the wilderness, we exactly envisioned hiking in the North Cascades.


Sunday, June 25, 2023


6.16 miles

Moving Time

2:53:52 hours


68 °F, light breeze, sun and clouds