I won’t beat around the bush. North Cascades is probably the least deserving site I’ve visited in the US to have a national park designation.
The primary feature of the park is a dam. Almost everywhere you go in the park you find high voltage electrical lines. It really should be designated as a National Recreation Area, and given that there are two such areas adjacent to the park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan, I don’t think my assessment is too far from the mark. (In fact, the Ross Lake National Recreation Area splits the park in two!) The three areas are gerrymandered in such a way that you have to wonder why it was split into 3 units and why they bothered to designate parts of it a national park.
There are many mountainous areas in the United States. It it hard to see what sets this particular patch of mountains apart from others, especially considering the amount of development inside the park.
It is a pleasant enough place to visit, I just don’t think it is on a par with other sites that have wear the national park label.
North Cascades is easy to reach from Seattle, Bellingham or Vancouver. It is approximately a 60-90 drive from Seattle with clear signage from the interstate.