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North Cascades

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointMount Baker (10,781 ft/3286 m)
CountriesUnited States (70%), Canada (30%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
States/ProvincesWashington (70%), British Columbia (30%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area15,957 sq mi / 41,329 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent206 mi / 331 km North-South
171 mi / 276 km East-West
Center Lat/Long48° 56' N; 121° 17' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The North Cascades the largest area of sustained high-quality glaciated alpine terrain in the contiguous 48 U.S. states. The massive volcanos of the more southern reaches of the Cascade Range, such as Mounts Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Shasta, are far higher and have larger glaciers, but they stand alone, isolated from each other by large areas of relatively flat forest. The North Cascades, though, are mostly non-volcanic, and form a extremely rugged, difficult, remote, and challenging mass of glaciated alpine mountains.

This site uses Stevens Pass and U.S. 2 as the southern border of the North Cascades, but sometimes Snoqualmie Pass and I-90 further south are used as the divider. The Fraser River in Canada is the clear northern border, and the Columbia and Okanogan Rivers form the eastern edge of the area. To the northeast, the North Cascades merge indistinctly into the plateaus of British Colubmia, well beyond the point where the mountains have become low and unimpressive.

The North Cascades get massive amounts of precipitation, giving them an abundance of crevassed glaciers and jagged, ice-carved faces, but also deep, jungly rainforest on the lower slopes. Climbing a major North Cascades summit often means a miserable bushwhack though deep undergrowth, followed by alpine challenge on the ice above. Good trails get hikers and climbers through the forest to timberline on most popular routes, but approaches are still long and the weather is usually unsettled.

Mount Baker and Glacier Peak are the only 10,000-foot summits in the North Cascades, the only volcanoes, and the most popular and easy to climb major summits. The remainder of the range bears little resemblance to the two highest peaks; the seven or so peaks in the 9,000 to 10,000 foot range are primarily a fearsome group of jagged monsters that require solid technical climbing ability. Bonanza Peak, Mount Goode, Mount Logan, and Mount Buckner are as big and hard as mountains come in the U.S. outside Alaska.

Map of North Cascades
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
Click Here for a Full Screen Map

Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the North Cascades.
Cascade RangeLevel 3 (Parent)
         North CascadesLevel 4
                 Far Northern Cascade RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Skagit RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Hozameen RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Okanogan RangeLevel 5 (Child)
                 Mountain Loop AreaLevel 5 (Child)
                 Central North CascadesLevel 5 (Child)
                 Methow MountainsLevel 5 (Child)
                 Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass AreaLevel 5 (Child)
                 Entiat MountainsLevel 5 (Child)
                 Chelan MountainsLevel 5 (Child)
         South Washington CascadesLevel 4 (Sibling)
         Oregon CascadesLevel 4 (Sibling)
         California CascadesLevel 4 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the North Cascades

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange5
1.Mount Baker10,7813286Skagit Range
2.Glacier Peak10,520+3206+Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area
3.Bonanza Peak95112899Central North Cascades
4.Mount Fernow92492819Entiat Mountains
5.Goode Mountain9200+2804+Central North Cascades
6.Mount Shuksan91312783Skagit Range
7.Mount Buckner91142778Central North Cascades
8.Seven Fingered Jack91002774Entiat Mountains
9.Mount Logan90872770Central North Cascades
10.Jack Mountain90662763Hozameen Range
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NameftmRange5
1.Mount Baker10,7813286Skagit Range
2.Glacier Peak10,520+3206+Glacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area
3.Bonanza Peak95112899Central North Cascades
4.Mount Fernow92492819Entiat Mountains
5.Jack Mountain90662763Hozameen Range
6.North Gardner Mountain89562730Methow Mountains
7.Mount Lago87452665Okanogan Range
8.Cardinal Peak85902618Chelan Mountains
9.Sloan Peak78352388Mountain Loop Area
10.Stoyoma Mountain74382267Far Northern Cascade Range



Photos of Peaks in the North Cascades

Mount Baker

Mount Baker at 11 P.M. on a clear summer night from the Railroad Grade moraine (1995-07-15). Photo by Glenn Slayden.
Glacier Peak

Glenn Slayden toils up towards the summit pinnacles, anticipating a great ski run down from the summit (2003-06-06).
Bonanza Peak
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Morning alpenglow on Bonanza Peak above the Mary Green Glacier (2009-07-02).
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Goode Mountain
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High on the Northeast Ridge of Goode Mountain-the craggy and icy majesty of the North Cascades exemplified (2013-08-12).
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Mount Shuksan

Mount Shuksan's awesome north face with a coating of early season snow (2000-12-03).
Mount Logan
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Stan standing in Christmas Tree col on our return from the top via the Banded Glacier. Banded Lake seen below the glacier, as well as the Douglas/Banded col. (2014-06-21). Photo by Sean Albert.
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Jack Mountain
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Jack Mountain is one of the monarchs of the North Cascades, in elevation, prominence, and scenic splendor (2011-08-13).
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Mount Maude
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Base of the North Face route (2014-08-17). Photo by Kristian Kalsing.
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Black Peak
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Black Peak and its NE Ridge, a classic Cascade alpine rock climb (2014-08-20). Photo by James Barlow.
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North Gardner Mountain
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The summit of North Gardner Mountain in snowy May conditions (2009-05-31).
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