For the Backpacker: Washington’s Stehekin Valley and Rainbow Falls s

Accessible from Chelan, Washington Stehekin is a Native American term for “the way through,” and it aptly describes the narrow

Stehekin Valley and Rainbow Falls, Washington
This tiny and isolated village, accessible only by boat or floatplane, looks out over 50-mile-long Lake Chelan.

Accessible from Chelan, Washington

Stehekin is a Native American term for “the way through,” and it aptly describes the narrow fjord-like valley in which 50-mile-long Lake Chelan lies, providing a way through the almost impenetrable mountain barrier of the North Cascades. At the upper end of the lake is the quiet, isolated village of Stehekin; settled in 1885, it has fewer than 100 residents. Even today there are no roads to Stehekin, but it can be reached by a delightful four-hour cruise from Chelan on a diesel-powered boat. Floatplane trips are also available. A shuttle bus runs up the valley from the village to campsites, trailheads, and Rainbow Falls, which plunge 312 feet.

Stehekin is a popular starting point for backpacking into the North Cascades; horses and bikes can be rented here, and there are numerous trails to explore. Spring and fall are the best times to visit; summers are often crowded. Lodging is limited, and reservations are recommended. Boat operates year-round. Daily mid-Mar.–mid-Oct.; Mon., Wed., Fri. mid – Oct. – mid-Mar. Cruise fee charged.

www.stehekin.biz

www.ladyofthelake.com (for cruise info)

(800) 536-0745

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest