Backpack - Chelan Lakeshore Trail


Backpack - Chelan Lakeshore Trail

A classic backpack along the shoreline of beautiful Lake Chelan. This trip starts with a ferry ride to Prince Creek and ends in the remote and magical community of Stehekin which is at the southern tip of North Cascades National Park.

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 17.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,000 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2

Meet at the Field's Point Landing in Chelan by 8:00 a.m Tuesday May 21st.  The Lady Express Ferry leaves at 8:30 a.m. Parking is $7/day.  Participants will each be responsible for their own ferry and parking fees. Ferry tickets are $43 from Fields Point to Stehekin (we will be getting off at Prince Creek).  Do not reserve tickets until the leader has approved your participation.

It is about 3 hours and 45 minutes to Chelan from Seattle. If you wish to camp the night before, Lake Chelan State Park campground  is a 15-minute drive from the park to Field's Point.  

I reserved campsites 86 and87 at Lake Chelan State Park that can officially accommodate up to 6 tents (not sure if the rangers would allow more if small backpacking tents).  We will take an inventory of who is staying here and divide the $80 fee amongst ourselves/prob $10 each.  Extra cars are $10.

Day 1: We will get off the ferry around 11am, and walk along Chelan Lakeshore Trail 6.7 miles to Meadow Creek Camp.  Pace will be 1.5-2 mph to enjoy the wildflowers and views of the lake with mountain backdrop.  Plenty of time for picture taking! We will take a 30 min break in the middle of this section for lunch/snacks, and shorter breaks as needed to adjust clothing/get water. Rattlesnakes are common in this area-they like to sun themselves mid-day.  If we don't bother/startle them, they won't bother us.  The seasonal creeks along this stretch may not be a reliable water source, so start this trip with 2 liters of water. This camp area has no bear box-bring bear can or ursak.  Hanging food is also permitted.

Day 2: Walk 10.3 miles into Stehekin.  Same pace and plan to enjoy the scenery and each other's company. We will start the day around 8, taking shorter water breaks along the way and a longer lunch break mid-way. We will cross at least 2 reliable water sources.  Plan to be in Stehekin around 4pm.  

This is the end of the official trip

I reserved Lakeview Campground sites 1,7 & 8 (Each have 3 tent pads and a picnic table.  Toilet, sink, and bear boxes very close.  All are welcome to stay here.  The total fee was $60, again divided amongst ourselves will be approx $10.

The other options are getting a room at the Lodge, staying in the free for all (and free) backpacker area up the hill from the reserved Lakeview sites, or reserving a campsite closer to the lake at Purple Point Campground.  Theoretically, you could have a campfire at Purple Point.

 Lakeview Campground (Stehekin), North Cascades National Park -

Purple Point Campground, North Cascades National Park -

Home | North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

 Stehekin is a very small community with very limited staffing.  This trip is at the beginning of "Peak Season" which I hope means the Lodge restaurant will be open daily.  There is a small store in the Landing to buy a la carte food and drinks.  The infamous Stehekin Pastry Company emailed that they are only open Fri-Mon in May. As the time draws closer, we will figure out if we can get dinner/breakfast in Stehekin, or if we should bring extra sustenance.

Thursday May 23-Optional faster pace 2+mph road walk up Stehekin Valley Road to Rainbow falls. Could leave backpacks in bear lockers and just bring water to lighten the load. 7am start time to be back for the 12:30 ferry to Fields Point. (or you may choose to add a day to relax/explore more)

You will need to book your return trip from Stehekin to Field's Point in advance.  Lady of the Lake $43 once daily @ 12:30

Here is a nice description of the trip:

Chelan Lakeshore Trail — Washington Trails Association (

This trip will of course require you to be in good physical shape and capable of hiking with your backpack weight 6.7 miles on day one and 10.3 miles on day two.  Please consider if this will be realistic for you.  Stehekin is a very special place, and this trip requires advanced ferry and lodging/reservations.  Please do not sign up for this trip unless you serious about making it happen. 

*Leader Permission is required-please email me with a brief description of recent backpack experience and commitment level to a midweek backpack trip that requires ferry and camping/lodging reservations.


Chelan Lakeshore Trail

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports