Part A. Cascades Mountains leeward forests (NA 507)
The eastern slope of the Cascades includes four ecoregions, from the Sierra Nevada to the British Columbia coastal forests. This section will be expanded more in the future by inclusion of sites to the west of the 121st meridian and to the north of the 50th parallel.
Part of the temperate coniferous forests biome, the Cascades Mountains leeward forests are in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains. From the tops of the mountains to the valleys to the east is a strong rain shadow. At higher elevations are moister forests of lodgepole pine and aspen, which become a sparse pine-wheatgrass-sagebrush vegetation type at lower elevations.
The National Forest system in the Cascades Mountains leeward forests includes four areas. Entiat Experimental Forest, Washington (N47˚57’ W120˚28’), is a 4,600-acre ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forest research site on the effects of road building and timber harvesting on water quality, quantity, and the timing of discharge. The forest consists of three adjacent watersheds in the Chelan Mountains. The entire watershed was burned in 1970, and research shifted to the effects of fire on hydrology until being halted in 1977.
Mount Baker NF, Washington, is 1.3 million acres mostly west of the Cascades. The portion of the forest along State Route 20 (North Cascades Highway) and east of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area is described here (N48˚43’ W120˚55). The Pacific Crest Trail follows the eastern boundary of the forest east of North Cascades NP in a portion administered by the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail also crosses the forest east of Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the Pasayten Wilderness, passing Dry Creek Pass, Deception Pass, and Devils Stairway.
Okanogan NF, Washington, is 1.5 million acres. The portion of the forest west of the Okanogan River is in the Cascade Mountains leeward forests. Within the Cascade Mountains, the northernmost point is the Canadian border in the Pasayten Wilderness. Outside of the wilderness, the northernmost point is the Fourteenmile Recreation Site west of Loomis (N48˚35’ W119˚50’), the southernmost point is on Washington Creek north of Chelan (N47˚58’ W120˚2’), the easternmost point is on Schalow Mountain near Conconully (N48˚35’ W119˚40’), and the westernmost point is at Mebee Pass (N48˚37’ W120˚47’). The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail crosses the Pasayten Wilderness in the northwestern portion of the forest. East of the Okanagan River, the trail passes Whistler Canyon, Haley Canyon, Highlands Snowpark, Bonaparte Lake, Cougar Creek, Clackamas Mountain, Sweat Creek, Deep Creek before heading east into the Colville NF.
North of the Methow Valley near Tiffany Mountain, Roger Lake RNA (N48˚39’ W119˚58’) is a subalpine fir and sedge-dominated wetland with open meadows on Forest Highway 39. The Chewuch River RNA (N48˚47’ W120˚4’) is 8,560 acres in the Chewuch River gorge adjacent to the Pasayten Wilderness. It is an area where prehistoric rockslides blocked the river. There are seep areas and river areas with mountain alder, quaking aspen, and Pacific willow while the slopes are of Douglas fir forest. The Chewuch River is considered eligible for the national wild and scenic river system from its headwaters in the Pasayten Wilderness through the Chewuch RNA to the national forest boundary (N48˚35’ W120˚10’).
To the west of the Methow Valley and west of Winthrop, the Wolf Creek RNA (N48˚29’ W120˚17’) is a bitterbrush-bunchgrass grassland with scattered ponderosa pines. Wolf Creek is considered eligible for the national wild and scenic river system.
Wenatchee NF, Washington, is 1.7 million acres. The portion of the forest north of the Yakima River is in the Cascade Mountains leeward forests. The northernmost point is at Washington Pass on State Route 20 (N48˚32’ W120˚34’), the easternmost point is in Bigalow Canyon near Chelan (N47˚55’ W119˚58’), the southernmost point is on Manastash Ridge west of Ellensburg (N46˚59’ W120˚54’), and the westernmost point is at Silver Peak south of I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass (N47˚22’ W121˚28’). Vegetation ranges from grassland at low elevations to ponderosa pine open forests to pine-Douglas fir-larch to alpine meadows. Precipitation ranges from 140 inches per year at the Cascade divide to 10 inches near the Columbia River.
In the Chelan Mountains north of Ardenvoir is the Gene Creek Botanical Area (N47˚48’ W120˚21’), an old growth ponderosa pine forest ecosystem. The Lake Creek Botanical Area (N47˚59’ W120˚28’) is an area of wetlands in the Chelan Mountains, draining to the Entiat River. The Hornet Ridge Botanical Area (N47˚47’ W120˚29’) is also an old growth ponderosa pine forest in the Mad River watershed upstream from Ardenvoir.
Upstream from Leavenworth in the Tumwater Canyon is Tumwater Botanical Area (N47˚37’ W120˚43’), established to protect Cistanthe tweedyi, Tweedy’s pussypaws. The Camas Botanical Area (47˚26’ W120˚35’) is the location of a population of Delphinium viridescens, Wenatchee larkspur. It is south of Leavenworth and east of US Route 97. North of Wenatchee Lake is the Fish Lake Bog RNA (N47˚50’ W120˚42’), a floating bog representing eastern Cascade bogs in the natural areas system.
The Wenatchee River from the Wenatchee Lake outlet (N47˚48’ W120˚43’) downstream through Tumwater Canyon to Leavenworth (N47˚35’ W120˚40’) is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system. Icicle Creek, a tributary of the Wenatchee River, from its headwaters (N47˚45’ W121˚3’) to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (N47˚33’ W120˚43’) is eligible for the national wild and scenic rivers system. The Chiwawa River, a tributary of the Wenatchee River, is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system from its headwaters in Glacier Peak Wilderness (N48˚9’ W120˚54’) downstream to its confluence with the Wenatchee River (N47˚47’ W120˚40’). Rock Creek (N48˚1’ W120˚46’) and Raging Creek (N47˚56’ W120˚49’), both tributaries to the Chiwawa River, are eligible for the national wild and scenic river system. Nason Creek, another tributary to the Wenatchee River, is also considered eligible for the wild and scenic rivers system. Its headwaters are near Stevens Pass (N47˚46’ W121˚5’) and its confluence with the Wenatchee is at the Lake Wenatchee outlet (N47˚48’ W120˚45’).
Upstream of Lake Wenatchee, the Little Wenatchee River (N47˚50’ W120˚53’) is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system. The White River is eligible from its headwaters in Glacier Peak Wilderness (N48˚2’ W121˚8’ downstream to the lake (N47˚50’ W120˚49’) and its tributary, the Napeequa River, is eligible from its headwaters near Butterfly Glacier (N48˚5’ W121˚0’) to its confluence with the White River (N47˚55’ W120˚54’).
The Entiat River is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system from its headwaters near Entiat Glacier (N48˚9’ W120˚47’) downstream to the forest boundary at river mile 20 (N47˚51’ W120˚25’). The Mad River, a tributary of the Entiat River, is also eligible from its headwaters at Mad Meadow (N47˚56’ W120˚39’) to Ardenvoir (N47˚44’ W120˚23’).
The portion of the forest along State Route 20 between Washington Pass and Rainy Pass (N48˚30’ W120˚40’) is the route of the Pacific Crest NST.
To the north of I-90, the Eldorado Creek RNA (N47˚25’ W120˚55’) along the North Fork Teanaway River is a 1,150-acre serpentine barrens area; trees include Pacific silver fir and grand fir.
The National Park System in the Cascades Mountains leeward forests includes three areas, North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and Ross Lake National Recreation Area. North Cascades NP, Washington, is 501,000 acres known for the largest number of glaciers in the US outside of Alaska (300), alpine peaks, and rainforests. A part of the southern unit of the park is in the map area and includes Fisher Creek trail to Easy Pass, Stehekin River, Bridge Creek, and Mount Logan (N48˚32’ W120˚57’) in the eastern Cascades forests ecoregion. East of the 121st meridian, all of North Cascades National Park except for the Stehekin River corridor between Cottonwood Camp (N48˚27’ W121˚0’) and Agnes Creek (N48˚23’ W120˚50’) is within the Stephen Mather Wilderness, described separately. The Stehekin River in the park is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system.
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Washington, is 62,900 acres accessible by a ferry ride from Chelan, private boat, or by float plane. The upper end of Lake Chelan, the Stehekin River, and Boulder Creek are within the NRA. The Golden West Visitor Center is located at the ferry terminal (N48˚19’ W120˚39’). There are 11 miles of trails, including a loop through the Buckner Orchard, a historic apple orchard. There is a shuttle to several trailheads. All of the NRA except the shoreline of Lake Chelan and the Stehekin River corridor are within the Stephen Mather Wilderness, described separately. The Pacific Crest national Scenic Trail follows Agnes Gorge in the park. The Stehekin River in the park is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system.
Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington, is 117,000 acres surrounding hydroelectric reservoirs along the Skagit River. All of the National Recreation Area except the shoreline of Ross Lake and the State Route 20 corridor are within the Stephen Mather Wilderness, described separately. The mountains to the east of Ross Lake are within this ecoregion, including the Lightning Creek Trail area (N48˚53’ W120˚58’) which provides access to the northern portions of Ross Lake in British Columbia. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail crosses the area in the Ruby Creek area (N48˚42’ W120˚59’).
Recreation Lakes in the Cascades Mountains leeward forests include five facilities that are federally operated or licensed. Lake Chelan, Chelan County Public Utility District, Washington, is a hydroelectric facility that impounds a reservoir more than 50 miles long. The dam is located at Chelan (N47˚50’ W120˚0’). A passenger ferry runs the length of the lake to Stehekin (N48˚19’ W120˚39’). The lake is bordered by the Wenatchee NF, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, Glacier Peak Wilderness, and Lake Chelan NRA.
Conconully Dam and Reservoir, Bureau of Reclamation, Washington (N48º32’ W119º45’), is part of the Okanogan Project, providing irrigation for apple orchards in the Okanogan area. The reservoir is on Salmon Creek downstream of Conconully.
Salmon Creek Diversion Dam, Bureau of Reclamation, Washington (N48˚24’ W119˚37’) is 12 miles downstream of Conconully Dam on Salmon Creek. Water is diverted into the Main irrigation canal to serve farms in the Okanogan area.
Snow Lake Reservoir and Tunnel, Bureau of Reclamation, Washington, is described below under Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.
Salmon Lake Dam and Conconully Lake, Bureau of Reclamation, Washington (N48˚34’ W119˚45’) is upstream of Conconully and stores water as part of the Okanogan project. The reservoir is on Salmon Creek.
The National Trail System in the Cascades Mountains leeward forestsincludes two national scenic trails and ten national recreation trails. Pacific Crest NST passes, from north to south, through E.C. Manning Provincial Park, Pasayten Wilderness, Okanogan NF, Mount Baker NF, Wenatchee NF, North Cascades NP, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and Glacier Peak Wilderness in this map area. The northern terminus is within E.C. Manning Provincial Park near Route 3 (N49˚4’ W120˚49’). Other road access is at Harts Pass (N48˚43’ W120˚40’) and Rainy Pass on SR 20 (N48˚31’ W120˚44’). In the North Cascades NP, the trail passes through the southern portion of the park along Bridge Creek and Stehekin River (N48˚26’ W120˚52’). In Lake Chelan NRA, the trail passes through the northwest corner at Agnes Gorge (N48˚22’ W120˚51’). In Glacier Peak Wilderness, the trail follows Agnes Creek and its South Fork to Suiattle Pass (N48˚12’ W120˚56’). The Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails follow the same route between Castle Pass (N48˚57’ W120˚46’) and Holman Pass (N48˚50’ W120˚44’).
Pacific Northwest NST, Washington passes through Ross Lake NRA, Stephen Mather Wilderness, and the Pasayten Wilderness (Mount Baker NF and Okanogan NF), and Loomis State Forest in this ecoregion. The trail passes through the Ruby Creek area of Ross Lake NRA (N48˚42’ W120˚59’). Continuing east into the Pasayten Wilderness of Mount Baker NF, the trail passes Dry Creek Pass (N48˚50’ W120˚57’), Deception Pass (N48˚49’ W120˚48’), and Devils Stairway (N48˚55’ W120˚46’). Crossing into the Okanogan NF, the trail passes Frosty Pass (N48˚57’ W120˚46’), Pasayten River (N48˚58’ W120˚34’), Bunker Hill (N48˚59’ W120˚29’), Peeve Pass (N48˚58’ W120˚23’), Cathedral Pass (N48˚59’ W120˚11’), Teapot Dome (N48˚58’ W120˚3’), Rock Mountain (N48˚59’ W119˚57’), and Goodenough Peak (N48˚58’ W119˚52’). The trail passes the Chopaka Lake area of Loomis Natural Resources Conservation Area (N48˚54’ W119˚42’), then Palmer Lake (N48˚54’ W119˚37’), then descends into the Palouse Prairie at Oroville (N48˚56’ W119˚26’).
Blue Lake NRT, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington (N48˚30’ W120˚40’) is a 2.2-mile trail at Washington Pass on State Route 20 west of Winthrop. The trail leads through a larch forest near the lake. This portion of the Wenatchee NF is administered by the Okanogan NF.
Cedar Creek NRT, Okanogan NF, Washington (N48˚33’ W120˚29’), winds for ten miles south of State Route 20 west of Winthrop, passing the Cedar Creek Falls on the way to Abernathy Pass and the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.
Cutthroat Creek NRT, Okanogan NF, Washington (N48˚32’ W120˚41’) is at the end of Forest Road 400 off State Route 20 west of Winthrop. The five-mile trail passes huge boulders on the way to Cutthroat Lake in a cirque, then connects with the Pacific Crest NST.
Domke Lake NRT, Wenatchee NF, Washington (N48˚11’ W120˚34’) is accessed from Lucerne on the south shore of Lake Chelan. The three-mile trail climbs Domke Mountain.
Eagle Lake NRT, Okanogan NF, Washington (N48˚13’ W120˚20’) begins on Forest Road 4340-300 off the North Fork Gold Creek south of Twisp and climbs to Horsehead Pass in seven miles, passing Eagle Lake and providing views of the Columbia Valley in a sparsely forested area.
Icicle Creek Nature NRT, Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, Washington (N48˚33’ W120˚40’), is a one-mile trail with wildlife viewing and views of salmon habitat in Icicle Creek. It is two miles south of the town of Leavenworth.
Iron Horse State Park, Washington, is a rail-trail also designated as the John Wayne Pioneer NRT. It extends from Cedar Falls (south of North Bend near Seattle) to Beverly Junction (N46˚49’ W119˚57’) on the Columbia River, passing South Clay Elum (N47˚12’ W120˚56’), Thorp (N47˚3’ W120˚40’), Ellensburg (N47˚0’ W120˚33’), Kittitas (N46˚59’ W120˚25’), and Army West (N46˚57’ W120˚18’) trailheads. Future extensions will be to the Idaho border at Tekoa.
Rainy Lake NRT, Wenatchee NF, Washington (N48˚30’ W120˚44’), is a short ¼ mile trail from State Route 20 to Rainy Lake, which features waterfalls cascading into the lake. It is 35 miles west of Winthrop.
Silver Falls NRT, Wenatchee NF, Washington (N47˚58’ W120˚32’) is 30 miles northwest of Entiat at the Silver Falls Campground and extends 1.4 miles upstream to the falls.
Washington Pass Overlook NRT, Okanogan NF, Washington (N48˚32’ W120˚41’) is a ¼ mile trail to an overlook 700 feet above State Route 20 on the North Cascades highway.