Chelan Lakeshore Trail
Hike of the Week:
May 5, 2008
Location: Lake Chelan
Distance: 17.5 mile backpack or 6.8 mile dayhike
Elevation: about 2000 ft of ups and downs
Maps: Green Trails 82 Stehekin, 114 Lucerne, 115 Prince Ck
The Chelan Lakeshore Trail is one of the state's premiere spring backpacking destinations. Accessible as early as March and April most years, it's a beautiful trek that offers nearly constant views of sparkling Lake Chelan and the mountains rising from its west bank.
Lake Chelan offers up plenty of sunshine and warmth when such attributes elsewhere are unreliable. In fact, by June it often gets a bit too hot for comfort! Aside from the lake, there are many other things to enjoy: a brilliant display of spring wildflowers; cascading creeks and small waterfalls; and a variety of conifers, aspens and cottonwoods.
It is no simple task to get to the trailhead - it involves a 20 mile boat ride - but what a way to begin a hike! You have a few options to consider when planning your trip. Most people begin the trail at Prince Creek and take one or two nights to complete the 17.5 mile journey to Stehekin. It is also possible to take the boat to Moore Point and dayhike 6.8 miles to Stehekin, which some feel is the best part of the trail - you can overnight at the campground in town or stay in the lodge. Make sure to consult the boat schedule carefully!
The trail mostly stays up on a bluff as it follows the contour of the lake, occasionally dipping to the water. There are lots of ups and downs, though nothing too steep. And good news! The trail should be in great shape - WTA Volunteer Vacation crews are in the midst of completing two weeks of trailwork, removing downed trees and reconstructing parts of the trail.
For More Information:
Guidebooks: 100 Classic Hikes in Washington by Ira Spring & Harvey Manning (Mountaineers Books); Don't Waste Your Time in the North Cascades by Kathy & Craig Copeland (Wilderness Press). Chelan Ranger District: (509) 682-2576. Read the WTA Hiking Guide and Trip Reports for Chelan Lakeshore. Be sure to check the Lady of the Lake boat schedule when planning your trip. Note that as of May, the boat is stopping at Prince Creek.
To reach the Field's Point boat dock from Wenatchee: Take the Highway 97 Alt. toward Lake Chelan. Approximately 9 miles north of Entiat, turn left at mile marker 223. You will travel nine miles on the Navarre Coulee Road to a stop sign. Turn left and follow the road up lake 7 miles to Field’s Point.