North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, a field campus in North Cascades National Park



Venture up the Skagit River in northwestern Washington State deep into the mountains. Hike beneath towering cedars and fern-draped maples. Paddle a canoe on glacier-fed Diablo Lake. Learn with scientists studying salmon and songbirds, or paint Pyramid Peak bathed in evening light.

Named a "Top Three Spots in the North Cascades" by The Seattle Times and "Top Ten Great Getaways" by ParentMap Magazine, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is a hub of discovery for all ages in one of the wildest, most biologically diverse landscapes in North America. Operated by North Cascades Institute in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Seattle, this award-winning residential campus is nestled on the shores of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Activities include many school and youth programs, a graduate program and classes for adults, teachers and families.

Featuring earth-friendly design and operations, the tree-sheltered campus features 16 buildings clustered on the north shore of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park. Facilities include:

  • Multimedia classrooms, a research library and aquatic and terrestrial labs
  • Overnight lodging for up to 92 participants, plus housing for graduate students and staff
  • A lakeside dining hall with a recycling/composting center
  • An amphitheater, outdoor learning shelters and trails leading into the surrounding wildlands
  • A dock on Diablo Lake for paddling adventures
  • ADA-accessible facilities and pathways

Download a Visitors Guide to the Learning Center >>

Located along State Route 20 three hours northeast of Seattle, the Learning Center provides access to destinations east and west of the Cascade Crest, from the pine-studded sagelands of the Columbia Plateau to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. And right out the front door, people need only grab a paddle or lace up their boot strings to head into the wild North Cascades.

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