Directions & Visitor Information

Wildfire, smoke and air quality at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

August 2021: Forest fire conditions in our region are extreme. Gov. Jay Inslee recently declared a statewide state of emergency relating to the growing risk of wildfires, including a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30, 2021. Our staff track fires in the region and work closely with fire managers to determine if we need to modify operations at the Leraning Center. We have an evacuation plan if wildfires forced the closure of our campus while staff and guests are present.  

Smoke is another concern in our region, with multiple fires burning in the Methow Valley and elsewhere. The Learning Center can get smoke at times, occasionally excessively so. If you have a health concern that is aggravated by smoke, please check the our on-campus Air Quality monitor before arrival and make a decision that is appropriate for your personal smoke tolerance.

When smoke levels rise to the point that is unhealthy for everyone, we will either modify program activities or cancel the program depending on conditions. It is possible that this can happen with little warning. If a program is cancelled due to smoke, or if you choose not to come due to smoke, or leave early due to smoke, you will receive a refund.

Directions to the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

From west of the Cascades: Take Interstate 5 to exit 230, North Cascades Highway/State Route 20 East. Drive 65 miles to Diablo Dam Road, milepost 127.5. Turn left, drive over Diablo Dam, turn right and park at the end of the road in the lot. Estimated time from Seattle: 3 hrs, Bellingham: 2 hrs, Sedro-Woolley: 1.5 hrs.

From east of the Cascades: Take North Cascades Highway/State Route 20 West. Drive 35 miles west from Washington Pass to Diablo Dam Road, milepost 127.5. Drive over Diablo Dam, turn right and park at the end of the road in the lot. Estimated time from Winthrop: 1.5 hrs.


Visitors Guide