140 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – On to Stehekin

This was the final day of our Lake Chelan backpacking trip, the day we finally reached the remote town of Stehekin. We were scheduled to catch the ferry back to the original starting point of this journey. To read more about this entire backpacking trip, see –Hike #44 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Moore Point to Flick Creek , Hike #43 – Chelan Lakeshore Trail – Day Hike South from Moore Point , and Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp. Having spent the majority of the day before hiking in the rain and unsure of what the day’s weather would deliver, even though it was not raining as we packed up and headed out, we started out in our rain gear – just in case. It’s much easier to shed layers once on the trail than it is to get caught in a down pour and have to stop to dig out the rain gear once the clouds seem to burst. If you have never hiked in the rain, you might be surprised how wet you can get in just a few minutes!

On to Stehekin . . .
On to Stehekin . . .

Vegetation along the trail was still wet from all the rain the day before, and the streams were running high. Stream crossings for the day turned out to be quite easy and with proper bridges though. This make-shift bridge of small logs that we encountered not long after we started out was not even much of a challenge.

Stream crossing . . .
Stream crossing . . .

The trail, often took us high above the shore of Lake Chelan and then dipped down right to the waters edge as we continued on to Stehekin. There really barely a couple feet in elevation difference between the beginning and ending of this hike, but there were certainly many, many ups and downs along the way.

Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin
Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin

The views were great the entire day.

Along the trail to Stehekin
Along the trail to Stehekin

And then we reached Stehekin!

Arriving at Stehekin . . .
Arriving at Stehekin . . .

Stehekin is quite a remarkable little town. Really just an “unincorporated” community, there are only about 75 full-time residents. There is no road access to Stehekin. The only way in and out of Stehekin is to take a boat, a float plane or hike in – or some combination or those options like we did (boat and hike).

The resort in Stehekin . . .
The resort in Stehekin . . .

Downtown Stehekin, now we’ve been there – done that.

In Stehekin . . .
In Stehekin . . .

We arrived in plenty of time to check out the town, eat our lunch, have tea and coffee and rest and relax before it was time for us to catch the ferry back to the town of Chelan.

R & R at the resort in Stehekin
R & R at the resort in Stehekin

The boat, the Lady of the Lake II, arrived and we dug our tickets out of our packs so we could complete our trip.

At the Stehekin dock
At the Stehekin dock

It was a four and a half boat ride from the Stehekin at the northern most end of Lake Chelan to the town of Chelan at the southern most end of the lake, and oh so beautiful. As we headed south, the clouds (which, by the way, never did rain on us as during our final hike to Stehekin), lifted to expose beautiful snow-capped peaks. By the time we reached Chelan, the sky was clear.

On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan
On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan

We tossed our heavy backpacks in the back of the car once we got off the boat at Chelan and made the one-hour drive back to son Brian’s to spend the night, then hit the road in the morning to complete the five and a half hour drive back home. What an exceptional adventure this was!

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2 thoughts on “140 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – On to Stehekin

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  1. I had really hoped to do this hike as a group with our kids this year, but dang that boat ride is pricey! But it was nice to experience it vicariously though you; thanks for sharing. I like the slideshow option on your blog–wish I had that.

    1. Thanks Kelly! It is a great hike and we had nearly the entire place to ourselves – which was great. But I heard from others that the following week, they shared the ferry and trail with 43 scouts. Oh my, can’t imagine 43 kids on that little ferry boat – or the trail – or the camps. It was crowded enough at our first camp with the AmeriCorp workers that we ran into! I use wordpress for my blogging . . . and the slideshows are practically effortless. Hope you get a chance to enjoy this trail yourself someday too!

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