The American Alps

Deemed greater than Switzerland, North Cascade National Park shares the mountainous characteristics of its European cousin, but it's 100% an American treasure you can't miss. There's a reason it's nicknamed "The American Alps." Discover more about this mountainous gem from our friend Ryan (@basecamp360).

 as told by basecamp360

What's the must do and see here?

During the summer, the North Cascades Highway opens and offers travelers a small glimpse of the possibilities to be had here-- from activities such as SUP on glacier-fed lakes to climbing jagged peaks, you’ll be hitting yourself for not allowing more time to explore this wild part of the country.

Since most areas in the North Cascades require effort to access the high country, the amount of solitude that one can obtain is unlike any place you’ll find in the lower 48.

Favorite memory here?

While I was on a solo backpacking trip in the northwest corner of the park, I encountered a four-legged giant. After a long day on the trail, I ventured to a nearby stream to prepare dinner. While my head was down filling up a pot of water, I heard a distinct mammal breathing heavily whiling inhaling vegetation like a Hoover vacuum. I looked up and saw an enormous black bear about 20 feet away. I’ve had a few grizzly encounters in Montana and Wyoming and I would say this bear was the size of an adult male grizzly, however, it lacked the distinguishable grizzly features. The bear then disappeared uphill behind a few trees to only reappear and make eye contact with me. The bear then proceeded to take a few steps toward me before I could scare it off. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

What superlative would you give North Cascades?


Tell us about yourself!

I got my educational degree from the University of Washington in 2014. I currently educate the future of tomorrow at a middle school located in Lynden, Washington. I capitalize on any free time that I have by going on adventures, preferably the mountainous kind. I’m preparing an adventure of a lifetime in 2018. Stay tuned. Cheers to adventure!


The American Alps Boy there's a lot to do here. Camping, hiking, fishing, and paddling, all of which can take you away from the crowds depending on how daring you are. Enjoy some of the best views that northern Washington has to offer. About a 2-3 hour drive east of Seattle, you can take a breather from city life to enjoy the crisp mountain air.

SUPing at high altitude has a certain appeal and with more than 500 lakes and ponds within the park's limits, there's plenty of water to choose from. Also, you won't be disappointed by the alpine views and mountain peaks with names like Mt. Terror.

What's your favorite pair of Rheos shades?

The American AlpsStyle: Anhingas
Frame Color: Gunmetal
Lens Color: Emerald
Description: Oohing and aahing while you're paddling in the North Cascades you're inevitably and can lead to some unforeseen balance issues. Keep your eyes protected from the mountain sun without worrying about falling in the water with a pair of Anhingas with floating Gunmetal frames and Emerald Lenses.

View More Anhingas Colors

Favorite Instagram Shots of North Cascades

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