Stein River Canyon & Stein Valley


Backpack - Stein River Canyon & Stein Valley

Scenic river canyon with autumn colors, mushrooms, lichens, pictograph sites, birds and other wildlife, including many photo/naturalist opportunities.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 18.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 3,000 ft

 Lytton Esso 7:30am or trailhead 8:15am.

Registration open to members only, with 2-3 day moderate Mountaineers backpacking experience. 

Photo/naturalist-oriented backpack for members only, with  2-3+ day moderate Mountaineers backpacking experience.  Minimum 3 persons.

Before  requesting leader permission, be sure to review all trip details (leader notes, route/place info, links) to ensure your interests and qualifications are compatible with trip expectations.

* Leader permission required (use leader permission link) for leader review and approval, prior to registration - your complete request will include 2-3+ day moderate Mountaineers backpacking experience (past 2 years), photography/naturalist interests,  carpooling/transportation needs, current border crossing docs. and why you're interested in the Stein backpack.  Indicate interest in carpooling - drive or ride, willing to drive solo (carpooling space not guaranteed).  Also confirm in your request that you have current passport or WA enhanced driver's license (or WA enhanced ID) valid through trip dates, required for border crossing.  Leader is unable to review or approve incomplete permission requests without above info.    

Experience the natural beauty, rock art, captivating spirit and power of the Stein River canyon! You can usually count on a dry or mostly dry backpack here, as the lower and middle valleys are situated in the rain shadow (rarely rains, except in winter).

Pace leisurely to moderate, paced with stops for photo opportunities and for enjoyment of nature. Depart camp between 8-8:30am, with approx 20 minute lunch .  If you're seeking a faster pace or prefer a different objective than photography/nature enjoyment, this is not the trip for you.

Motel/camp accommodations and reservations recommended (reserve 1-3 weeks in advance), evening prior to backpack:  tenting at Canyon Alpine RV Park/Campground/ 3K N of Boston Bar  along hwy 1 and 30 min S of Lytton ferry access to Stein ($30/night per site, up to 2 tents) , or motels Lytton, Boston Bar, Hope 60 min S iof Lytton).

Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park is a large provincial park (similar in size to Rainier), without requirements for backcountry camp reservations, fees, permits.

 Lower Stein Valley Trail description:                                                                                                                                    

Latest trail report:

The suspension bridge crosses the Stein River at about 7 miles, allowing access again to the Middle Stein valley and extended backpacking into remote sub-alpine/alpine upper Stein from the eastern trailhead.

On day 1, we'll backpack 5-6 miles along/above the Stein River, between trailhead and basecamp in a Lower Stein Canyon camp (Teepee or Earl's Cabin camp).  Camps have bearproof food storage, pit toilets and nearby water source.  We'll do a day hike (up to 10 miles RT, 1000' gain) on Saturday from our basecamp, along more pictograph sites and the scenic Lower Stein into the Middle Stein valley.  Return to trailhead on Sunday, early to mid-afternoon.

Leader will have copies of topo map for participants.

Current passport or WA enhanced driver's license (or WA enhanced ID), required for border crossing.

Drive time from Seattle, approx 4-3/4 hrs.

Background on Stein pictographs: (Leader will bring excerpts for those interested in pictograph interpretations).

NOTE:  Stein Valley was submitted into UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination process in April 2018.   For more info:


Stein River Canyon & Stein Valley

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