Generally, the best weather for visiting the North Cascades occurs between mid-June and late-September. Snow is off all but the highest trails by July. Autumn and Spring are becoming more popular for visits since car tours of the Skagit, Okanogan and Stehekin Valleys are enticing for color and wildlife during the less busy "shoulder seasons". Day hikes are excellent and give a great taste of the wilderness, whenever the weather is good. Storms are common: always be prepared for a few days of rain and wind. Particularly if you are going into high and remote areas, take good, rain gear and a tent. Warm, waterproof clothing and a tent are virtually mandatory for spring, fall and winter trips into the backcountry. Heavy snow and rain, at high elevations, characterize the North Cascades from fall into spring. Avalanches are common in winter and spring in the higher country and in places along the North Cascades Highway. The east side of the Cascade Mountains (such as Stehekin in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area) is drier and warmer in the summer than the west side (such as the portion of Ross Lake National Recreation Area along the North Cascades Highway). Summer temperatures at Stehekin reach the 90's F. Winter at Stehekin and at all elevations above 2,000' throughout the park complex are snowy from fall into spring.