Take exit 85 for State Hwy 970 N, and turn left, across the freeway.
Turn right, to follow WA-970, this bypasses the town of Cle Elum.
After the Slight right to stay on WA-970, go another 9.7 miles
Slight left at WA-97.
Continue on US-97, for 35.3 miles.
At the light, you will be at the junction for US-2/US-97, turn right, and follow US-2/US-97N for 14.1 miles
Merge onto US-2/US-97N via ramp to Okanogan/ Spokane and go for 1 mile.
Take the US 97-ALT N exit towards Entiat/Chelan, then merge onto the Euclid Ave/US-97-ALT, and follow US-97-ALT for 33.2 miles to Lady of the Lake Boat dock.
Maps: We used the Green Trails maps, for Stehekin, #82, and Lucerne, #114. This basically covers the whole Lakeshore trail, except for .7 of a mile that doesn’t show up on the Lucerne map, that misses the starting point at Prince Creek. You could get the 3rd map, too, but for .7 of a mile, didn’t think it was worth the extra cost.
Permits: You cover three zones here, and it was a little confusing to get the right permit, as about halfway through the trail, you cross from the Wenatchee National Forest, into Lake Chelan/Sawtooth National Recreation area, then around Stehekin, you run into the North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan Unit. We stayed at the Purple Point campground, and that required us to stop at the Golden West Visitor Center, to get a reservation. Confusing! Best bet is to call first for info. This site for both phone numbers for the Lake Chelan ranger station, and the Golden West Ranger Station…
Greg and I decided to hike the Lakeshore Trail on Lake Chelan for our first trek this season, a 17 to 19 mile hike along the shore of the lake. It was one of the few places within hours of home, that didn’t have snow blocking the trail, as we had a cool spring this year, and the snow above 5,000ft in most places still hasn’t melted out yet.
We decided to camp at Lake Chelan for Thursday night, so we could catch the ferry early in the morning, at 8:00 am. It was over 100 degrees Thursday, and the only way that we could really get cool was to jump in the lake!
Friday morning, we climbed aboard the ferry, and headed out. They dropped us off at the beginning of the Lakeshore trail, at Prince Creek, and when I say dropped us off, it really felt as if they were making us walk the plank! The ferry pulls in close to the shore line, then extends the “plank” straight off the bow of the boat, and you walk over to land!
The temps for our journey stayed in the 90’s, and I felt I would surely melt if it had not been for the fact that the wind blew constantly, seems it was a steady 30 to 40 mile an hour wind…
There isn’t much cover along the shoreline, and it’s pretty rocky. We were told to look out for rattlesnakes, but never happened along one, thankfully.
We had planned to stop for the night at Cascade creek, 8 miles from our landing at Prince Creek, but, as the trail is moderately flat, it only took us 3 hours to get there, and we thought, “ Hey, that wasn’t bad, lets push on to Moore Point, another 3.5 miles!”
We made it there, but along the way in the relentless sun, our feet got cooked, (lots of blisters), and a couple times I just had to drop the pack, and then drop myself onto the trail, as I felt I just couldn’t take another step.
Once we arrived at Moore Point, we shed the load on our backs, and headed straight for the cool relief of the lake. We just didn’t know how cool! It was so cold, it was like an instant “ice cream” headache, it literally made you ache it was so cold! Instead, we sat and rested our weary bodies.
We hadn’t been there long, when one of the boat campers came over and introduced himself, and invited us over to their campsite for dinner!!! We graciously accepted, as the idea of having burgers and potato salad instead of freeze dried dinner was an easy choice!
That was one of the nice things about the lake, if you haven’t been there, along the shore are several campsites that can only be reached by boat, or hike in. There are fire pits, picnic tables, boat docks, and very nice restrooms!!!
Many thanks to Abe, Julie, and their kids for the great meal! I’ve never had that opportunity before.
The following morning, we left early for the 7 mile trek into Stehekin. Still very windy, and the lake still too cold to swim in, so we bummed around town, took advantage of a free shower, and then had dinner at the Lodge. Another excellent dinner, rivals anything around here!
Boy, never had a hiking trip like this, where I might actually have gained pounds, instead of losing them!
In the morning, we rented bikes, and rode out to the Stehekin Pastry company for fresh cinnamon rolls, and coffee!!! Boy, never had a hiking trip like this, where I might actually have gained pounds, instead of losing them!
After breakfast, we continued peddling up to see Rainbow falls, which pours into the Stehekin river, very scenic, and the cool mist rolling off of the falls, acted as natures air conditioning. We rode back into town, waited for the 2:00pm ferry ride back, and after the 4 hour tour, back to Chelan, then home by 10:00pm.
All in all, a very memorable trip, I would have to recommend if you ever get the chance to visit Stehekin, by all means, do!!! You don’t even have to be into hiking to enjoy it there.
Pictures I wish I would have taken…
The look of exhaustion that must have been on my face when I could not take another step…
the look of surprise on Greg’s face, when he disturbed some nesting Grouse, which promptly flew up in his face…
The look of gratitude and surprise on both our faces when Abe came over to camp, carrying 4 slices of ice cold watermelon for us to greedily suck down…I’m sure the look changed to something bordering on ecstasy, as we wolfed that down…
And, the look on the face of one of our fellow campers, as Greg planned his untimely demise with a pocket knife!!! That, in itself, is another story…