Rockport and Marblemount
There isn’t much to the tiny settlement called Rockport, but two pleasant parks offer a break from the highway, and bald eagles congregate along the Skagit River here. Entering Marblemount from the west, signs warn Last Gas for 69 Miles and, more importantly, Last Tavern for 89 Miles.
The little town is a good place to stock up on these—and other—essentials, and to get information and backcountry permits for North Cascades National Park.
Follow the signs to the National Park Service’s Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (milepost 105.3 on Hwy. 20, 360/854-7245 Sun.–Thurs. 7 a.m.–6 p.m., and Fri.–Sat. 7 a.m.–8 p.m. in July and August, with reduced hours in June and the first half of September, call ahead). Get backcountry permits here for the park.
Because there are no advance reservations, weekend campers arrive early to get permits for the most popular sites, especially Cascade Pass, Hidden Lake, Monogram Lake, Ross Lake, and Thornton Lakes. If you’re willing to accept alternate destinations, you should be able to get into the backcountry under most circumstances.
Behind the Wilderness Office is a greenhouse used to grow plants to revegetate damaged backcountry areas.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition