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


Venture up the Skagit River 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.

The Learning Center is a hub of discovery for all ages in one of the wildest, most biologically diverse landscapes in North America. Here you can explore cascading streams and pristine peaks, wildflower meadows and old-growth forests, and a rich Northwest history that includes more than 8,000 years of Native American culture. Better still, you can join a community – expert teachers, intriguing new friends – dedicated to the idea that learning together inspires stewardship.

North Cascades Institute operates North Cascades Environmental Learning Center in partnership with the City of Seattle and the National Park Service. Modeling 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


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.

Join us for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Learning Center with BBQ, open house and family-friendly outdoor activities on August 23. Details at