Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park surrounds the entire mountain, but the thing is just so bloody big that you don’t have to be in the park for the mountain to fill the frame. These images were all taken quite a distance away, across White Pass and deep into the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

We entered the wilderness at Snow Grass Flats, hiked up to an intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked north to the highest point along the PCT in Washington, a place called the Knifes Edge.

Prints are for sale here.

Photo Tour info is available here.

North Cascades National Park

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

In the last entry we explored the Northern Unit of the North Cascades National Park.

The Southern Unit of the North Cascades National Park is much more accessible than its northern sister. Lake Chelan created a natural route deep into the eastern flank of the North Cascades, a relatively short trek over Cascade Pass crosses into the western zone. This route was used by Native Americans, the village of Stehekin at the north end of Lake Chelan translates to “the way through”.

Once Cascade Pass was considered a possible route for what is now the North Cascades Highway but thankfully now is only reached on foot via a 3.7mile hike.

This is probably the most popular hike in the summer, a day hike to Cascade Pass and maybe up and onto Sahale Arm.  Late July the wildflowers explode and it’s really a Sound of Music experience…

North Cascades National Park info on trails and permits.

Sahale Glacier Camp is my favorite camp site on Washington. I have stayed the night maybe 15 times.

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 this year! In October, 1968 the park was officially established. Lauren Danner has recently written a wonderful book “Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park” that chronicles the efforts of many to protect the North Cascades.

From Cascade Pass the trail continues east, dropping through Pelton Basin, and then down the Doubtful Creek drainage. The trail bisects the creek in a wonderful spot on the way down…

Before you reach Basin Creek there is a spur trail heading around the shoulder of Sahale Peak and up to Horseshoe Basin. This is NOT a trail to pass up. It’s a short way up into the basin, a wide semicircle of granite teeth sit in a bed of ice, glistening. Impossibly green swards of meadow slash below and bright blue gleams above… you get the idea.

The upper basin is the home of the Black Warrior Mine. A going concern as recently as the 1950’s, the opening to the mine is carved into the headwall of the valley, several rooms are accessible, littered with the detritus of past inhabitants. A road once led from the mine entrance to Cottonwood Camp, and Stehekin, but little by little nature has won back. As recently as 2003 there was a tour bus that ran a daily route from Stehekin to Cottonwood Camp, barely 11 miles from Cascade Pass!

The American Alps Legacy Project is a coalition working to protect more than 237,000 acres of pristine wild country, from Baker Lake to Washington Pass. Their proposal is to expand the North Cascades National Park. You can learn more here.

In the next post we’ll visit Stehekin, Park Creek Pass and the North Fork of Bridge Creek.

Fine Art and Canvas Prints of these and more images here.

Information about North Cascades Photo Tours here.  

Buckner Mountain from Park Creek Trail


These are just a few of the many spectacular hikes in the park. Your opportunities for adventure are endless.

I am planning trips to both Whatcom Pass and Park Creek Pass this summer, to celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Park.

Hope to see you out on the trail.



North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park is situated in the northwestern corner of Washington State, along the Canada border. It’s a wonderfully rugged piece of wilderness, half a million acres of meadows, jagged peaks, glaciers, forests and wonder.

The North Cascades National Park does not get a lot of visitors, by National Park standards. That’s due in part, to the fact that the park is not on the way somewhere, unless you’re circumnavigating the US border! It’s a 3 hour drive, north from Seattle. In short, it’s an out of the way place. If you got there, its because you meant to!

Which is all fine with me. Less people means more solitude.

The park is bisected by the North Cascades Highway into two units. The North Unit is more remote than its southern sister. There are fewer trails.

The legendary Picket Range is here. Peaks like Mount Terror, Mount Despair and Mt Challenger tower over the deep, wet valleys filled with nasty things like Devils Club.

Trail access from the west side is via Hannegan Pass. Heading east from the town of Glacier on SR 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) for 13 miles there is a well marked turn off for the Hannegan Pass trailhead.

All sorts of important info about permits to camp overnight in the park, can be found here

Its about 4 miles to the pass, and from there you can do a short easy scramble to the top of Hannegan Peak, or a more involved climb of Ruth Mountain.

Just down the east side from the pass you enter the National Park. There is a campsite, Boundary Camp, and a trail junction. You can ascend Copper Ridge to Silesia Camp and Egg Lake, or follow the main trail down the Chilliwack River (there is a spot where you pull yourself over a chasm in a cable car) to a junction where you meet a turn off for the trail to Whatcom Pass.

This is one of the more remote parts of the park. The views of Mt Challenger and its namesake glacier are mind blowing. I have visited twice, the first visit was magnificent, and the most recent a total white out of gray.

From Whatcom Pass you can retrace your steps back to the car, or you can continue your trip east, and hike down along Little Beaver Creek to the shores of Ross Lake and take a water taxi to Ross Lake Resort,  or hike out via Beaver Pass.

A longer and more spectacular trip is to take the turn off for Copper Ridge. This is one of the few ridge hikes in the park, affording breathtaking views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and host of other peaks. There are several camp site along Copper Ridge, Silesia Camp has the best views anywhere, and Copper Lake is a wonderful place to camp along the route.

The trail loops down the Chilliwack River, which you ford just south of the Canada border.

In early August expect to be wading through a river filled with salmon. It is quite a sight. From there its an easy hike to the junction with the Whatcom Pass Trail, and so you can make a loop out of the trek.


The Southern Unit has many more access points along Highway 20, Ross Lake to the east and Lake Chelan to the south. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through on its way to Canada.

In the next two posts we will visit some of the most spectacular areas in the lower section of the park.

Here is an image of Mount Logan from the North Fork Bridge Creek.

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers start blooming in July. Exactly when in July varies from year to year depending upon how much snow accumulated from the winter and how warm the spring.

Getting there is easy.

As soon as you leave the parking lot the trail is fringed with flowers. The first long, easy switch backs afford views out along the river and up, following the zig zag of trail to the top.

Along the way views of Mount Baker appear.

Rounding the shoulder of the mountain Sauk Lake comes into view and a trail leading to its shores. Lilies, Columbine, Lupine and more carpet the meadows.

I try to get up there several times each year. These images are from an overnight visit in July 2017.

Day Hike and Overnight Photo Tours are available here!

Waiting for sunset is  pleasure. The warm glow of late afternoon light envelops us.

The next morning’s light invites us to linger a while.

Five National Parks: Images from 2018

As I started to review images from this year, the theme of “National Parks” kept coming to me. So here are some of my best images from 5 National Parks this year…

Zion National Park

I visited Zion NP for the 4th time, always a marvel…

Here is an image from a new place, for me: Double Alcove Arch!

And for those who have not heard of the Subway…

“The Subway”, Zion National Park

The Subway, Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

They say the night skies at Bryce are magical…they say right! This is from a short 2 day trip to Bryce in April…

Milky Way, Bryce Canyon National Park


North Cascades National Park

I have visited this park more than all others combined. I made the boat ride this year to Hozomeen, along the shores of Ross Lake near the Canada Border, and spent a night at Hozomeen Lake…

Hozomeen Lake, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park turns 50 in 2018! Here is a link to a wonderful new book, by Lauren Danner, “Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park” which chronicles the efforts of many to create NCNP.

And a shout out to my all time favorite camping place, Sahale Glacier Camp.

Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park


Olympic National Park

My only trip this year, out west to the Olympic NP was back in February… as always dreaming of my return…

Sea Stacks at Point of the Arches, Olympic National park


Yellowstone National Park

I just returned from a Christmas trip to Yellowstone…Cold, crisp mornings, with no one about…I am still digesting the wonder of the place…

Oh, and here is my favorite image from 2017:

Winchester Lookout and the Aurora Borealis, North Cascades

Star Trails above Winchester Lookout, Northern Lights on the horizon

To purchase prints, here is the link.

For information on North Cascades Photo Tours, this is the place!

And, 2018 Calendars are still available! Get them while they last!.

Christmas in Yellowstone

I spent 5 nights at Yellowstone, 3 at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and 2 nights at Mammoth Springs.

Here are a few images.

2018 Washington State Scenic Calendar is here!

The Andy Porter Photography 2018 Washington State Scenic Calendar is available now and ready to ship!

Order your calendar here.

The calendar is printed on 8.5″ x 11″ 100lb Bond Glossy paper, ring bound and individually wrapped.

Cost is $20, with $6 shipping in the US, $12 to ship anywhere in the world.

Here are the images from the 2018 Calendar.

Order your copy today!