© Pete Saloutos/Panoramic Images (Washington Title Image Large)
North Cascades ecoregion
Home to lynx and mountain goats, rare alpine daisies and thousand-year old cedars, the North Cascades Ecoregion contains some of the largest expanses of wilderness in the lower forty-eight.
The ecoregion (about 10% of Washington) includes the Cascade Mountains north of Snoqualmie Pass and west of the Cascade crest northward into British Columbia. Only a small part of this ecoregion lies in Washington; in British Columbia, it encompasses all of the mainland coast.
In Washington, U.S. Highway 2 and the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) traverse the ecoregion. It takes in the eastern parts of four counties: Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, and King. Although towns such as Gold Bar, Index, Skykomish, Darrington, and Concrete lie in the North Cascades, a combination of natural and cultural factors have prevented much urbanization.
For details of this ecoregion within Washington, click a subheading in the left column.