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Rainbow Falls Mist Trail

Central Cascades

Cascading 312 feet from Rainbow Creek high above the Stehekin valley floor, Rainbow Falls is perhaps the most popular natural destination for day visitors to the Stehekin Valley. And now, thanks to efforts from the National Park Service trail crew, a short trail exists here, offering a modest amount of elevation gain for a new vantage point of the waterfall. Continue reading

Location

Central Cascades -- Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan
Jump to Map & Directions

Length

0.25 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 30 ft.
Highest Point: 1200 ft.

Rating

0.00 out of 5

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  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Fall foliage
  • Waterfalls

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

A backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers

Cascading 312 feet from Rainbow Creek high above the Stehekin valley floor, Rainbow Falls is perhaps the most popular natural destination for day visitors to the Stehekin Valley. And now, thanks to efforts from the National Park Service trail crew, a short trail exists here, offering a modest amount of elevation gain for a new vantage point of the waterfall.

From the bus turnaround and parking area, walk toward the enormous picnic table and interpretive sign. The falls are visible through the fragrant Ponderosa pines, and two viewing areas bring you close to the splash pool at the base of the falls.

But look to your left to find a wide trail switchbacking up the shoulder of the hillside near the falls. Stairsteps have been installed, but still, watch your footing. The mist from the falls keeps this trail damp year-round, and the materials used to build up the trail can become slippery or even icy, depending on what season it is when you visit.

The trail is quite short, less than a quarter mile, but a nice landing platform at the top of the switchbacks is a great place to get some photos before heading back to the parking area.

WTA Pro Tip: Make the most of your day in Stehekin. Take the Lady Express uplake and rent bikes to ride up to Rainbow Falls. Combine the Mist Trail with an amble around Buckner Orchard and a visit to the old one-room schoolhouse, then cap it all off with a visit to the Stehekin Pastry Company before catching the Lady of the Lady II back downlake. This gives you nearly three hours in the valley, the most amount of time you can spend here if you are relying on the ferry for transport to and from Stehekin.

Hike by WTA Staff
Anna Roth

Rainbow Falls Mist Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.3422, -120.7013 Open in Google Maps

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan

North Cascades National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Stehekin No 82

Getting There

Travel to the town of Chelan and find your way to the Lady of the Lake ferry terminal. Ticket prices for the ferry vary depending on which ferry you take and what season you visit; check them at ladyofthelake.com.

Once you're in Stehekin, make arrangements to get to High Bridge. The easiest way to do this is to take a bus. There are four shuttles each day. You can also rent bikes from Discovery Bikes, just a few hundred feet up the road from the landing.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

A backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers

 

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Rainbow Falls Mist Trail

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