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Chelan Lakeshore Trail

Chelan, Washington

based on 2 reviews



18.13 miles

Elevation Gain

4478 ft

Route Type



Added by Nathan Wall

Enjoy low-elevation backpacking in a spectacular backcountry setting nestled in the North Cascades along Washington State's largest fresh water lake: Lake Chelan.  

Make Note: This adventure requires out-and-back travel via the 'Lady of the Lake' ferry from Chelan, Washington or Field's Point Landing on Lake Chelan. Schedules, fares, and reservations can be made at: http://ladyofthelake.com/

The route described herein utilizes the Lake Chelan Lakeshore Trail and traverses through the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, Okanogan National Forest, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and ultimately ends at the town of Stehekin. The trip can be done from Prince Creek to Stehekin, or vice versa, but it is recommended that the route be done as described since the ferry cannot land at Prince Creek in rough waters. I will be describing a relaxed 2-night, 3-day itinerary below, but the route could reasonably be completed with a single overnight. Please respect the plethora of private land that dots the lake shore so future generations are guaranteed access to the same backcountry splendor!

Board the Lady of the Lake at either Chelan, WA, or Field's Point Landing and relax for over an hour admiring the fjord-like chasm of Lake Chelan while the captain points out various landmarks as you make your way up the lake. Disembark at Prince Creek landing around 11 am and either make camp or begin your trek Northwestward. The trail rolls up and down, gradually gaining and losing elevation with the lake often in sight, and meanders through riparian zones and shady ponderosa forests. Cross Rattlesnake and Rex creeks and eventually pass or utilize the first designated backcountry camp at Cascade Creek. Shortly thereafter, come to Meander Creek Camp 7 miles from from Prince Creek and locate one of the many fine sites nestled in the woods or use the provided lean-to if you're traveling light. 

The next morning set out once again along the idyllic shores of the lake as cares fall away and you hike unencumbered towards camps at Moore Point or Flick Creek (note: the Flick Creek Campground is about a half mile south of the creek). Be silent and watch for deer, elk, and black bears roving in the meadows and take in the bird songs and hum of the forest. Shortly after setting out from Meadow Creek, you'll reach the high point of the trail before dropping down to Fish Creek about 11 miles from Prince Creek. A spur trail leads to Moore Point where many fine camps abound. Be sure to take the time to explore the ancient orchard and if the weather allows take an enticing swim in the cold glacial waters of Lake Chelan. If Moore Point is too crowded, or your legs simply desire more walking, make for the small, but blissful camp at Flick Creek by continuing over Hunt's Bluff: a stunning outcrop with panoramic vistas of the lake and formidable North Cascade peaks. After passing over the bluff and basking in the fantastic views abruptly drop to the lake shore yet again and pass (or find camp) at Flick Creek. Continue ambling along the shore eventually crossing Fourmile, Hazard, and Purple Creeks before marching into the absurdly handsome town of Stehekin. Kick back and relax, grab a cold beer or a sandwich at one of the restaurants before boarding the Lady of the Lake yet again to return to your car.

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Chelan Lakeshore Trail Reviews

Great backpack. Absolutely gorgeous views and great sites to camp. Would recommend going in early or late summer, as I did it in August and it was quite hot and very dry. This website claims 1800ft of elevation, but others say 4000ft. I would lean towards the 4000 number, as it is pretty consistently up and down and was certainly more difficult than expected from a lakeside trail. The 11 miles from Prince Creek to Moore Point is a beautiful 1st day and makes for a nice 2day/1night trip, but splitting the journey into 3 days and camping at Cascade Creek and Moore’s or Flick Creek would be a little more relaxing, especially if doing the trip during the hot summer months. Highly recommend the trail, Chelan, Stehekin, and the Lady of the Lake!

Such a great hike with spectacular views!

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