You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Chelan Butte

Chelan Butte

Leave from the parking lot and head straight up the side of the butte on a jeep trail. There is a small sign about 1/4 mile up, pointing you in the direction of the hiking trail. You can continue to hike up the extremely steep and sandy jeep trail if you'd like also. If you follow the hiking trail, you will have an option to split off and hike up to the top of a shorter hill, which also promises great views.

Keep hiking up and along the ridgeline, just when you think you're there, you're not! You'll be rewarded with 360 degree views though, so it's definitely worth it to keep heading up.

When you get close to the radio & TV towers, you can hike up to the road, then finish the last 100FT on it. If you go up next to the towers, you can see down the backside of the butte and look South down the Columbia River. This is a popular spot for paragliders, so you are likely to see them in the parking lot below the towers.
Driving Directions:

From US-97, take SR 150 toward the city of Chelan. Turn Left to stay on SR 150 (E Woodin Rd). Turn Left on Sanders St. Turn Left onto Farnham St. Continue onto S. Saunders St. Turn Left onto E Iowa Ave. Trailhead parking lot will be on your left.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 5 trip reports for this hike.
Chelan Butte — May 25, 2013 — Suz557
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | No water source
Expand report text Hide report text
Bring your sunscreen! This hike has almost no shade. This is really a hike that you can go all th...
Bring your sunscreen! This hike has almost no shade.

This is really a hike that you can go all the way up or turn around at two miles and still get a great view. We had 14 people in our hiking party, of which 7 made the entire 4 mile trek up. The last 2 miles up are a butt kicker- it was SO STEEP.

The views of the lake are awesome. For a good, close to the lake hike this was perfect. You can also drive to the top of the butte.
Read full report with photos
Chelan Butte — Jul 12, 2012 — sfdgunny
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: No water source
Expand report text Hide report text
Great Hike. You can drive the road as described elsewhere, or you can hike a trail up the from the ...
Great Hike. You can drive the road as described elsewhere, or you can hike a trail up the from the NE corner of the butte. There is a fairly new parking lot on the Southeast edge of town on E. Iowa Ave. - see map here - http://www.chelanpud.org/[…]/ChelanRiverwalk_Reach1Trails.pdf

Directly across Iowa Ave. from this parking lot is a jeep trail that seems to head straight up the butte. It does! about a quarter mile up the track, there is a nice new sign which points off to the right and says "Chelan Butte - 4 miles" "Elephant Head Butte - 2 miles" If you take the trail, it's 3.62 miles to the top using the trail. About 3.9 from the parking lot according to Garmin. There are 2 well placed and well maintained benches along the route. Not much shade and very steep at places.

I of course ignored the sign and hiked straight up the side of the hill and met the real trail on the ridge-line. I thought I might be the only crazy person who would try this, but found a couple on their way up when I was headed down that had done the same thing! I would not recommend this. I took the trail down and it was very pleasant, although steep in parts.

Elevation gain 2735+/- feet in 3.9 miles. (Top is 3835, lake is 1100)

I met a BLM worker at the top who was surveying the trail for endangered plants or the like as there may be an effort to widen or add switchbacks to the trail???

Great Hike! Bring water and enjoy the 360 degree views of Lake Chelan, the Columbia, the Central Cascades and everything out to the horizon.
Read full report
Chelan Butte — May 26, 2012 — EKr355
Day hike
Issues: No water source
Expand report text Hide report text
Was in Chelan for Memorial Day Weekend with a bunch of friends and we were looking for a easy to mod...
Was in Chelan for Memorial Day Weekend with a bunch of friends and we were looking for a easy to moderate difficulty day hike. We decided on the Chelan Butte because it was so close to the downtown area and had significant elevation gain.

We followed the directions on the site and by popular demand (in the car) we pulled over not long after getting off the paved road. In actuality we should have kept driving farther on, up to the state park sign. Instead I would say we added a good 1.5 miles to the trip in each direction making it overall about 7 miles. It was a hot and sunny day and most of us in the group were prepared for the hike ahead. The whole trip up is on an access road for the radio/cellular and hence is not too rocky or uneven.

We got all the way up to the top an noticed that there was in fact a parking pull off just before the cell towers (which was where some people did drive up to). The view is well worth the hike (even parking where we did) and it offers spectacular views of both Lake Chelan and the Columbia River.

If you plan on hiking most of the way up the Chelan Butte Rd (and continuing to the cell towers, which is Butte Lookout Rd) certainly bring some water and snacks as you will likely work up a sweat getting up there.
Read full report with photos
Chelan Butte — Sep 25, 2011 — LizzyRN
Day hike
Issues: No water source
Expand report text Hide report text
While in Chelan for a nursing conference, we tried to find a local hike that we could accomplish in ...
While in Chelan for a nursing conference, we tried to find a local hike that we could accomplish in the morning and still make it to our noon meetings. I'm doing 47 different hikes in my 47th year. The day was shaping up to be a nice, sunny day and we decided to do the Chelan Butte hike. The book, "Day Hiking Central Cascades" gave great directions, however we found it difficult to find the "forested gully" where we were supposed to park and begin our walk up the service road. Once we came to the sign that said "Northwest Forest Pass Required", we figured that we were close. Continuing to follow the very bumpy, washed out gravel road we ended up at the top, so we parked and walked around a bit. The views were amazing over both sides, with Lake Chelan to one side and the river and farmlands to the other. It was quite windy, and therefore dusty, up there. Apparently it's a spot for hang gliders to launch from, although we didn't see any. Although the views were amazing,it wasn't really my favorite kind of place to hike. I think vehicles with low clearance would have a difficult drive over parts of this service road. There were deep washouts and large rocks jutting up from the roadway. I was saddened to see the amount of litter up there, too. Friends that were also at the conference said they've found a way to hike up to the Butte without having to utilize the service road, however we didn't have time to check those trails out, maybe another time. I think Spring would be the best season for this hike.
Read full report with photos
Chelan Butte — Sep 25, 2011 — Jeannie
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
Just for fun. Adding a photo for comparison. 2011/1926 ...
Just for fun. Adding a photo for comparison. 2011/1926
Read full report with photos
Chelan Butte.jpg
View of Lake Chelan from the ridgeline of Chelan Butte. (ART 2012)
Location
Central Cascades -- Lake Chelan
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Features
Rivers
Lakes
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Wildlife
User info
Dogs allowed on leash
Dogs allowed without leash
May encounter mountains bikes
No pass or permit required

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Map it
Red MarkerChelan Butte
47.8048208 -120.0460638
  • WA Fish & Wildlife
(47.8048, -120.0461) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »