The town of Newhalem is located along State Route 20 at mile 120. Many trails begin from the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, located across the Skagit River (watch for signs). Trails also begin from the Newhalem Campground, or from the town of Newhalem. Many hours can be spent exploring trails in the vicinity of Newhalem. From valley paths to accessible boardwalks, there is variety and reward for everyone.
Sterling Munro Trail
This universally accessible 330 foot (100 m) boardwalk trail offers excellent views of the Picket Range up the Goodell Creek drainage. Begins just outside the northwest corner of the North Cascades Visitor Center.
River Loop Trail
The 1.8 mile (2.9 km) loop starts from the northeast corner of the North Cascades Visitor Center, leading through a variety of forest growth to a peaceful gravel bar with sweeping river views.
“To Know a Tree” Nature Trail
Accessible from points near the Newhalem Creek Campground entrance station and amphitheater. Mostly level, 0.5 miles (0.8 km), with packed gravel surface. Skirts the campground, follows the river, wanders among large trees, and lush understory growth. Find plaques interpreting common trees and plants along the way.
Rock Shelter Trail
Starts 0.3 miles (0.5 km) east along the service road past Newhalem Creek Campground loops C & D, 40 yards (35 m) beyond the steel grated Newhalem Creek Bridge. Path is wheelchair accessible; 1000 ft (300 m) long with easy grades. View a 1,400 year old hunting camp sheltered by a large boulder along side Newhalem Creek, or take a side trail 1600 ft (500 m) to an old growth cedar glade near Newhalem Creek.
“Trail of the Cedars” Nature Walk
Accessible via the River Loop Trail or Linking Trail, or from Main Street in Newhalem via a foot suspension bridge, this easy 0.3 mile (0.5 km) gravel loop meanders along the banks of the Skagit River through stands of old growth forest. Interpretative displays explore forest relationships. This trail is courtesy of Seattle City Light.
Ladder Creek Falls
Located behind the Gorge Powerhouse, this 0.4 mile (0.6 km) loop trail showcases the power of nature. It leads to Ladder Creek Falls and through manicured gardens that have been delighting visitors to the Skagit Hydroelectric Project for over 75 years. Cross the foot suspension bridge to the powerhouse and follow the signs. Some steep steps with handrails. This trail courtesy of Seattle City Light.
Newhalem will probably be your last birdwatching stop in the Upper Skagit Cluster. In the winter months Highway 20 is closed at the Ross Lake Dam access point (Milepost 137). These 17 miles beyond Newhalem provide some great sightseeing opportunities, but the number and diversity of birds is low during winter months. Keep in mind that there are no regular services or gas east of Marblemount, and always drive caustiously.