Photography by Zach Mazur Offering the quickest access to the high country of any hike in the North Cascades National Park, Cascade Pass is one of the Park’s most popular hikes. The hike to Cascade Pass starts at 3,000 feet… …and climbs to 5,400 feet in a little less than four miles. Bob Mierendorf (left) is the North Cascades National Park archaeologist. Nick Foit is a Washington State University geologist who specializes in tephrochronology, the study of volcanic ash in soils as an indicator of age. The United States Geological Survey marker at Cascade Pass. The bottom of this excavation at Cascade Pass reveals a camping site nearly 10,000 years old. The weather can change quickly in the North Cascades. The hike back down was a good 20 degrees cooler than the hike up a few hours earlier. The constant wind through the pass works its art on trees. A marmot scolds us brief interlopers.