Rock Shelter Trail is a very short trail located in the Ross Lake Area of North Cascades National Park. This trail is unique in this setting because it invites you to take a step back in time and imagine what life was like in this part of the world hundreds of years ago.
The Rock Shelter Trail is only 1/4 mile round trip. The trees aren’t so thick in this area, and the campground is nearby. At one point, the trail has a fork. The correct route is to the right. After just a few hundred yards, you come to an overlook. There are interpretive signs that talk about the indigenous people who lived in this area centuries ago. There is also a rock shelter that was used by native people. Artifacts have been found in this area, so you can’t enter the shelter, but signs ask you to consider what life was for those living the shelter. We didn’t think that rock would provide much shelter! Still, it is important, particular for our kids, to remember what life was like long ago.
After checking out the rock shelter and taking a quiet moment, walk back to the car the same way you came. This hike is short, flat, easy, and wheel-friendly. It does have a little incline, which might be trickier for wheels. The Rock Shelter Trail in North Cascades is a quick, easy trail to enjoy.
To find the trailhead, stop at the Visitor Center in New Halem. There are several trail guides, and you can start walking right from the parking lot, but you can also drive a little closer. Head toward the campground. The road changes from pavement to dirt. This road takes you to the old power plant, which is the trailhead for Trail of the Cedars. There is a sign for Rock Shelter Trail on the right before you get to the power plant and a pullout for one or two cars just past a small bridge. If you hike from the power plant or the campground, the trail will be about 1.0 mile roundtrip.