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Lake Chelan National Recreation Area



Here the beautiful Stehekin Valley, with a portion of fjordlike Lake Chelan, adjoins North Cascades National Park. The national recreation area is managed with the national park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area as the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. 




Area Information

Hours/Seasons:  It is possible to reach the Stehekin Valley in the recreation area yearround by passenger ferry or float-plane but never by road. There are no road connections between Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the outside. There are a number of trails available for hiking to the area in the summer.




North Cascades National Park Service Complex, located in north-central Washington State, is characterized by a mix of jagged mountain peaks, glaciers, lush & diverse forests, and tumbling waterfalls. The park complex includes North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area encompasses the upper 4.5 miles of Lake Chelan and the glacier-carved Stehekin Valley. The Stehekin River, one of three major tributaries to Lake Chelan, meanders through this narrow valley. Elevation gradually rises from 1100 feet at the lake to 5400 feet at Cascade Pass, 29 miles away. Rainbow Creek plunges 312 feet over Rainbow Falls, a popular scenic destination, before joining the Stehekin River 3.5 miles upvalley from the lake.

The small community of Stehekin, situated along the lower few miles of the Stehekin River, has no road connections to the rest of the world. Visitors and residents arrive by passenger ferry, private boat, float plane, horseback and on foot. Trails into large areas of wilderness branch off the Stehekin Valley Road ascending to the rugged mountain landscape. The valley road begins at the boat landing and follows the river to Cottonwood Camp. Currently, the 2.7 mile section of road between Glory Mountain and Cottonwood is closed to vehicles due to severe flooding during the fall of 1995. Shuttle bus service along the Stehekin Valley Road gives access to varied recreational opportunities. These include backpacking, fishing, day hiking, sight-seeing, and camping. The beautiful Stehekin Valley offers a pleasant escape from life's frantic pace. In the words of a recent visitor, "The natural beauty, the quiet and unspoiled remote quality lures us back."



For Additional Information Contact:

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
c/o North Cascades National Park
2105 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-9394
(360) 856-5700



For more information visit the National Park Service website