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Old 04-30-2016, 10:44 AM   #1
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WA Cascade Mountain Campgrounds

So we just rehashed our trip home from Chilliwack and are contemplating changing the beginning of our route.

Initially, we were going to head up through BC and over to Banff, and then drop down to Glacier National Park. However, with the uncertainty of booking nice places to stay in advance, as well as trying to maximize times at the 3 areas we want to visit (Glacier, Yellowstone/Grand Tetons and Rushmore/Badlands) we though it might be more advantageous to do a more direct-ish route to Glacier, our first area.

Thing is, we still want to see as much of the mountains as possible since we don't have them in Maine. So we were thinking of spending the first night after pickup at Newhalem Campground or Colonial Creek Campground in the Washington Cascade Mountains.

Obviously, we have not been in the area before and don't know if thats a good idea or not, or if there are better campgrounds around. I don't mind driving up over the mountain passes and such, (as long as the distance between gas stations isn't too far, I have a feeling our truck is going to be a gas hog!) but if the route is not advisable, I'd like to avoid it.

We will just be spending one night there so as long as the trailer would fit in a site and we are safe, I would be happy. A pretty site would be icing on the preverbal cake.

Any feedback on the area or the campgrounds would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:33 PM   #2
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When are you picking up?
Highway 20, The North Cascades highway, just opened for the season on April 22nd. It's a good road - I plan to drive over it to the Escape Rally in a couple weeks.
Newhalem Campground is nice enough, but its closed until May 20.
https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/camping.htm
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Old 04-30-2016, 03:34 PM   #3
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We would be going in late June. In looking at Bing maps, as long as the trip over the mountains wouldn't take too long, we might be able to make it to the Winthrop area, which has at least a couple of pretty decent-rated full hookup campgrounds.

We have an 8:00am orientation...
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Old 04-30-2016, 03:39 PM   #4
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We stayed at Newhalen for two nights last Aug. after picking up our new 17B. There was a forest fire burning across from the campground when we arrived. It had apparently been burning for some time (up the slope and away from the campground). However, while we were there the winds shifted and it changed direction and started burning downslope towards the campground and valley. The campground was evacuated and the NPS Visitor Center closed. We left and drove east to another campground, checked in and set up camp--only to be informed by the campground host that the highway was going to be closed due to fire danger and that she was leaving. We immediately broke camp and left also. We ended up spending the night (on the side of the road) in Pateros with many other fire refugees. So, I'd recommend Newhlem, (pretty and more than adequately sized sites) but only if no fires are burning in the area. Ironically, we had changed our original plan (to travel east through southern BC) due to fire closures in that area. Last summer was a bad one for fires! Hopefully you'll not have that problem in June. Enjoy your new Escape!
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Old 04-30-2016, 04:19 PM   #5
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Thanks Dave and Penny for the info! Fires are something we don't have to consider here. We might just try and push through to Winthrop...
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:22 PM   #6
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Winthrop has a beautiful campground with full and partial hook ups called Pearrygin Lake State Park. It's very popular, so reservations are needed. There are pull thrus and back ins onto paved sites. Everything set on beautiful lawns. A mile or so from the campground is the little western town of Winthrop...very nice, lots of shops and cafes/restaurants.
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Old 04-30-2016, 11:07 PM   #7
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My orientation was also at 8 am. After hooking onto the trailer at Sumas I drove Highway 20 over the North Cascades. It is a spectacular mountain drive. I spent the first night at Loup Loup Campground, which is about halfway between Twisp and Okanogan and about 200 miles from Chilliwack. Loup Loup is a USFS campground. No hookups but very nice and about a mile from the highway so very quiet.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:46 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the information! Not sure just yet where will stay, but it sounds like there are some nice alternative to staying Newhalem or Colonial Creek. Your input is muchly appreciated!
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:12 PM   #9
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Last June I stayed for several days in the Pine Near RV Park in Winthrop. It is in town, within walking distance of downtown. The young couple who run the park are very diligent in maintaining it. I recommend it.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:12 PM   #10
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Newhalem campground

We have camped at the Newhalem CG quite a few times. The C loop is where you can make a reservation. I highly recommend making a reservation for any weekend stay.

The campground is nice, dense trees and lots of shade so usually quite cool and a great place for a campfire in the evening. I believe the reservation site has photos of the sites so you get a good sense of the spots. There are trails throughout the CG that are worth the walk. And the visitor center is well worth a visit. (Its a bit of a hike up hill from the CG so I recommend driving to it.) You are in the North Cascades NP but you don't need a National Park pass to visit any of it.

The drive from Newhalem to Winthrop is one of the most amazing drives in Washington state, the mountains and the lakes are breathtaking. You won't regret doing it during the daytime.

Kelly
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