Our Classroom

Mountain School is surrounded by 7,000,000 acres of protected public lands in Washington and British Columbia. In the middle lies 684,000-acre North Cascades National Park—our neighborhood. With 93 percent of its area designated as Wilderness, the Park is known for its steep mountains, ever-flowing streams and tremendous biological diversity. The Park contains more than 300 glaciers and countless snowfields, making the North Cascades one of the most rugged, heavily glaciated areas in the United States outside Alaska. The North Cascades are a national treasure and living laboratory awaiting discovery.

The Environmental Learning Center is located in North Cascades National Park in the heart of the North Cascades mountain range. Located on the shores of Diablo Lake, the Learning Center consists of numerous trails and three trailside-learning shelters. The 16-building facility includes classrooms, library, dining hall and lodges. Mountain School participants stay in three dormitory-style lodges, which sleep a total of 92 participants. Each room sleeps four individuals with two shared bathrooms in each lodge. Our Foodshed program offers appealing, wholesome food choices that are local, organic and sustainably produced. Weather at this site varies greatly depending on the season, so we ask participants to be prepared for all conditions. Travel time to the Learning Center from Burlington is approximately one hour and thirty minutes and three hours from Seattle.


Mountain School Resources

Mountain School stories from our Chattermarks blog

Mountain School blog (older)

From field study to evening programs, this Mountain School program schedule program schedule shows a typical Mountain School schedule

Mountain School Video (6:08)

MM-MS-thumb.jpgLearn more about Mountain School with this fun video by Omar Garcia and Michelle Tamez. 6:08Watch Video


MM-MSTV-thumb.jpgProduced by KCTS 9 Seattle for the "North Cascades: People, Places and Stories", this episode examines Mountain School. 4:54 | Watch Video

Mountain School: A 7-million-acre campus for kids

DIABLO LAKE — To truly learn about the great outdoors, one has get out into it and experience the sights, sounds and smells. Touch the bark, feel the moss, hear the birds, feel the breeze.

Children who attend Mountain School can do just that.

The school is a 7 million-acre campus with the North Cascades Institute’s Environmental Learning Center serving as its lecture hall. “

We are very fortunate to be able to offer this program,” said Institute’s program coordinator Chris Kiser. “It’s an opportunity for students to make friends and learn about themselves as well as the outdoors. They learn all about producers, consumers and the ecosystem.”

Mountain School packs a lot into three days. The focus is on science, and the natural and cultural history of the North Cascades.

— Skagit Valley Herald, 10/24/14

Field Guide to North Cascades Institute