The War Creek Trail starts out close to the Twisp River Road, just outside the town of Twisp. It is one of the many great options for accessing the northern shores of Lake Chelan from the east. Although this trail officially ends at the ridge overlooking the lake it connects with the Purple Pass Trail, which descends to the shore.
Start by following War Creek on its gentle course uphill through the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. The route stays on the north side of the creek for its entirety, crossing several feeder creeks along the way. You will quickly begin to notice fire damage from the 2018 Crescent Mountain Fire, which burned through the majority of terrain along the trail.
At the end of this drainage, leave the headwaters behind and ascend on the steepest section yet to a pass where multiple trails intersect. This marks the end of the War Creek Trail, but many connections begin here.
Head north on the Boulder Creek Trail or south on the Chelan Summit Trail. A quick jog left, then right will put you on the Purple Pass Trail, which quickly passes small Lake Juanita, then a half-mile spur trail to Boulder Butte before dropping down steadily for nearly 6 miles on the Purple Pass Trail, ending in the town of Stehekin. With so many trails, this area is a wealth of backpacking options.
The pass also marks the end of the National Forest and the beginning of the National Park. If you want to push on to find a campsite, you’ll need a permit from the North Cascades National Park to do so.