Boat-in Camping at Lake Chelan

Rate this Adventure Washington Lady of the Lake

Added by Whitney James

  • True remote camping just south of North Cascades National Park
  • Accessible only by boat, horseback, or plane
  • Multiple campgrounds for every type of visitor

You'll pick up the Lady of the Lake Ferry in downtown Chelan. Take the slowboat or the faster version, and prepare to settle in to an incredibly scenic and enjoyable ride up the 50 mile long Lake Chelan (the largest lake in the state by any measure). Don't forget to wear your sunblock if you sit on the open deck. You won't notice you're getting burned with the cool breeze, but this part of Washington is arid and the sun shines bright!

Arrive several hours later at the small town of Stehekin. You've got options once you dock. First, check in with the Golden West Visitor Center to get your bearings. You can camp right there on the lawn to have access to the lake, or you can check out any number of backcountry options. We hitched a ride just across the lake to Weaver Point campground, where we were eaten alive by mosquitos, but had an entire dock and view of the surrounding 9,000-foot peaks to ourselves.

If you're not into the backcountry hiking scene, don't worry. You can always rent a kayak, bike, or horse, and explore the surrounding area. Insider tip: you'll pull salmon out of the lake if you bring a fishing pole. Return down-lake on the ferry or by hitchhike (the locals are friendly) and stop by one of the area's many, many wineries for some well-deserved chilled vino.

Pack List

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Your own coffee and beer
  • Camp stove
  • Water filter
  • Swimsuit
  • Ferry ticket
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Camping, Chillin, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



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