Newhalem Campground, North Cascades National Park, Marblemount, Washington

Nothing is more refreshing than rolling into a National Park campground. Newhalem Campground is one of a few campgrounds within the boundary of North Cascades National Park. We opted to stay at this campground over the others as it took reservations, was located in close proximity to the town of Newhalem, and had the park's Visitor's Center within camp. We reserved a site in Loop A, the only loop that accepts reservations. Due to some itinerary issues we had prior to our arrival, we pulled into the park a day earlier than our reservation with fingers and toes crossed that any site fitting our rig would be available for a night. Boy, we had
nothing to worry about. With Loop B and C both open only to first come, first serve arrivals, we had no problems finding a beautiful site in this wooded campground. In fact, our site was so spectacular, we spoke with the park ranger and stayed here our remaining nights. This campground is located along the Skagit River. Sites do not overlook the river, with the exception of the walk-in tenting sites. All sites do have old growth wooded forest surrounding them and are spacious, private, and serene. There are several hiking trails in the campground that lead you deeper into the park to view scenic points, or to the Visitor's Center, to Native American historical points of interest, or to the hydroelectric facility. Interior roads and site pads are paved and level, and all sites are primitive and offer picnic tables and fire pits. Most sites are back in, but several are pull through that allow larger rigs to more easily maneuver. Our site, and some others, had designated tent pads. We used ours as our "patio" space. There are truly no bad sites here! The Visitor's Center has all the usual attractions of a National Park including, a video on the history of the park, gift shop, exhibits, and of course, National Park rangers to help you with any hiking or informational needs. A dirt trail just across the bridge that brings you into the campground, leads you into town. As you get closer to town, the trail becomes a nicely paved biking/walking path. Within town you will find the hydroelectric facility, Ladder Falls, and the Gorge Inn. There is also a small market and Visitor's Information Center. At the Visitor's Information Center you can make reservations for the "Dam Good Chicken Dinner" at the Gorge Inn, formerly the mess hall for the Skagit River hydroelectric plant employees. I highly recommend this experience. This was some of the best food we have ever eaten and was an experience in and of itself. The Inn is set up family style and we sat at a long picnic table with a National Park ranger (I was thrilled!) as well as some other folks. Along with a fabulous meal prepared using the Gorge Inn original recipe from the 1930's, the chef will come out and greet you and make sure you are enjoying your meal. After this, the park ranger will lead you on a historic light tour to Ladder Falls. Until recently, these falls and the Gorge Inn were neglected and not functioning. We were there for the first lighting of the summer, so the head of the rehabilitation project was along with us. A thrilling experience, and must see for visitors, this light show is simple, yet beautiful. Something to note: The hydroelectric plant has a loud, whining siren that they test each day at noon. Our first night here we woke up to the sound of the siren and were panicked that there was a dam failure! We inquired the next day and  learned that they also sound the siren anytime there is an accident on the bridge.

Good Sites: All
Poor Sites: None
Hookups: None
Potable Water: Yes
Dump within Facility: Yes