Past Meetup

Backpack Trip - Chelan Lakeshore Trail to Stehekin

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Hello Fellow Backpackers! Memorial Day Weekend Backpack Trip


If you want to be put on the waiting list for this trip, please email me.

I know I've been hibernating over the winter, and I apologize to all of you for that! I'll explain it all when we're sitting around the campfire. I'm planning a 3 day, 2 night backpack trip for the end of May. The destination is prime for the time of year, especially with the amount of snow in the mountains this year. Our only other good alternatives right now are desert trips in Eastern Washington and coastal hikes until the snow melts.

Beat the heat, crowds and snakes on the Lake Chelan Shoreline Trail to Stehekin.

One Way Hike: 17.5 Miles (boat ride back)
Duration: 3 Days
Departure: Friday Evening 7:00pm (approx)
Starting Elevation: 1100 feet
High Elevation: 1700 feet
Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Location: Chelan Ranger District
Dogs: Allowed

The way to know Lake Chelan is to walk beside it, sometimes near waves slapping the shore, sometimes on high bluffs in sweeping views. There are green lawns atop rock buttresses, groves of old ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, glades of mystic aspen, slot gorges of frothing waterfalls. The views and trees and many of the creeks are grand in any season but spring is the prime time, when the sun is dependable but not too weighty, cool breezes blow, and the flowers are in rich bloom. Early on, the trail is lined by trillium, chocolate lily, glacier lily, spring beauty, yellowbells, Johnny-jump-up, red currant, and more. Later, the show features spring gold, prairie star, blue-eyed Mary, naked broomrape, primrose monkey-flower, death camas, balsamroot, miners lettuce, calypso, and more.

Note: By summer the country gets so dry that wood fires within 1 mile of the shore are banned.

Drive to the town of Chelan or up the lake to Field Point and board the passenger boat, Lady of the Lake. The full 17.5 miles from Prince Creek to Stehekin is three days. The debarkation at Prince Creek is at about 11am. We will hike 7 miles, crossing Rattlesnake, Rex, Pioneer, and Cascade Creeks before camping near Meadow Creek.

The second day is very relaxed and attains the trails high point at 1700 feet on a long, wide shelf, and descending to Fish Creek, 10.5 miles from Prince Creek. We take a side trail .5 miles down the creek to Moore Point, once a famous resort and now a spacious Forest Service campground. We'll spend the afternoon exploring the ancient orchard and the New England-like stone walls fencing a deer pasture.

Sunday, we trek the last 6.5 miles from Fish Creek to Stehekin. The way starts by climbing to 1600 feet on Hunts Bluff and its climactic views of the lake and mountains. The trail then drops to the lake, crossing more creeks, and comes to Lakeshore Shelter at Flick Creek. The trail never again climbs high, wandering the base of cliffs and through woods to Fourmile Creek, Hazard Creek, and finally Stehekin.

Departing Friday evening, May 23rd around 7pm (this will be coordinated with everyone's schedules). We'll camp near Chelan at a campground late Friday night. Ferry leaves Chelan at 8:30am Saturday morning dropping us off at the trailhead at 11am. We'll be returning Monday (Memorial Day) from Stehekin on the 2pm Ferry arriving Chelan at 6pm. 3 to 4 hour drive to Lynnwood arriving 9 to 10pm.

Note: I'm taking my 11 month old Golden Retriever for his first backpacking trip. He's reasonably well behaved but is still a puppy, therefore he forgets his manners on occasion. :-) His name, appropriately so, is Trek.

Ride Share: I'll be driving my Suburban which seats 7. Depending on the number of people we may need a total of 2 - 3 vehicles. You are responsible for splitting the fuel cost with your driver. Drivers: start with a full tank in Lynnwood so it's fair to your passengers on calculating fuel.

Ferry: The Stehekin ferry will cost $39 per person round trip for our ride to Prince Creek and then our return from Stehekin. Dogs are an additional $24 each.

Coordination: As we get closer to our trip, I'll coordinate tent mates and shareable goods (stoves, first aid kits, etc)

If you are a novice or first time backpacker, or are not in reasonable physical condition, please let me know ahead of time.

Email me with questions, also happy to provide my cell to discuss.



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