Stein River Canyon & Stein Valley


Backpack - Stein River Canyon & Stein Valley

Scenic river canyon in early fall colors, pictograph sites, birds, mushrooms, and more

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.
  • Fri, Oct 5, 2018 — Sun, Oct 7, 2018
  • Seattle Backpacking Committee
  • Exploring Nature, Photography, Backpacking
  • Adults
  • Easy/Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 20.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft

7:45am: Lytton Esso service station (just off Hwy 1).  We'll convoy from Lytton to  ferry and trailhead.

Updated 10/1/18:  Canceled due to insufficient number of participants and potential extended maintenance on Lytton ferry.

Registration open to members only, with recent backpacking experience.  Leader approval required via permission link or email, PRIOR to registration.    Leader will have limited access to email, 9/15-29, and responses to leader approval requests may be delayed a few days.

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). 

Naturalists and others will enjoy the diversity of birds and small to larger wildlife sightings, geology, and botanical interest including trees and shrubs in fall color, fungi, lichens, etc.   Plenty of photo opportunities of scenic river canyon landscapes, macros and abstracts as well as naturalist subjects and autumn colors (mostly golden, some red/orange). 

Pace leisurely to moderate, with stops for photo opportunities and for enjoyment of nature. If you're seeking faster pace or prefer a different objective than photography/nature enjoyment, this is not the trip for you.  Thank you.

Recommended accommodations (evening prior to backpack):  Canyon Alpine RV Park and Campground (tent sites & motel rooms, just N of Boston Bar, abt 25 min S of Lytton) or Totem Motel in 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.  The park was recently nominated for review as a World Heritage Site!

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 on day 2 from our basecamp, along more pictograph sites and the scenic Lower Stein into the Middle Stein valley.

Leader will have copies of trail description and topo map for participants, and pictograph interpretive info.

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

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

Recommended guidebook:  Stein Valley Wilderness Guidebook (White), 2nd ed.

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


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