A favorite day trip for visitors, the beautiful town of Stehekin
Accessible only by boat and float plane, the town of Stehekin is a year-round destination in the heart of the North Cascades, and home to only 75 year-round residents. The allure of Stehekin is it’s seclusion, which has helped the natural beauty flourish. Once you reach Stehekin you’ll find yourself dwarfed by evergreens in a valley surrounded by the peaks of the North Cascades.
Getting to Stehekin
Enjoy a leisurely ride on Lady of the Lake II or speed along with the Lady express boat.
Insider’s tip: Take the express boat (2.25 hours) on the way to Stehekin and the slow ferry (4 hours) on the way back to Chelan. This provides 3 hours on land in which to explore the town.
If you take the Express round-trip, you only get 60 minutes on land and the Lady of the Lake II round-trip, nets 90 minutes on land.
Looking to save more time?
When you stay at Kelly’s Resort on the South Shore, you can drive a quick 7 minutes up the road to Field’s Point Landing and catch the boat there instead of in Chelan.
The express boat picks up at Field’s Point Landing at 9:20am and gets you to Stehken at 11am. The slower boat will pick you up at Field’s Point at 9:45am and you’ll arrive in Stehekin at 12:30. Either way, parking and boarding at Field’s Point will save you considerable time.
Upon Arrival in Stehekin
Stehekin Landing, where the boats and float-planes dock, is the main downtown area of the village. Across from the dock is the The North Cascades Lodge. The store and restaurant make a pleasant lunch stop. The landing also offers picnic areas, a post office, ranger station, and the Golden West Visitor Center: open daily in summer, 8am-4:30pm.
For a great day trip, we recommend either walking, biking, or taking the shuttle up to Rainbow Falls. Stop along the way at the Stehekin Pastry Company and the Stehekin School. If you’re walking or biking, it’s about 3 miles to the falls, 2 miles to the bakery. You can also choose to simply walk one way and grab the shuttle back the other.
What to See and Do in Stehekin
If biking or walking, Stehekin Pastry Company is only two miles away on a flat, paved road. The Stehekin School is located about a mile further up the road, just before the falls.
This one-room log school was built in 1921 and was recently replaced by a new school a 1/4 mile away. The old school is now a local history museum and community event center. Tours of the school are self-guided and free. Continue on to Rainbow Falls after your visit to the school. It’s only a short walk away and the 312 foot cascade is breathtaking.
Rainbow Falls and Rainbow Falls Bus Tour
You say you’d rather not have to hike to see Rainbow Falls? No problem. Take a bus tour, instead!
Bus tours leave from Stehekin Landing twice daily with tour departures coinciding with the Lady of the Lake ferries. The Rainbow Falls Bus Tour departs next to the Lady of the Lake’s arrival dock.
Catch the Red Bus from the Landing directly after departing the boat. The tour will take you on an hour-long, park ranger narrated trip to Rainbow Falls. Only $10 per person. Also, the bus is more than happy to drop visitors at Stehekin Pastry Company!
Discovery Bikes Bicycle Rentals
Renting bikes is another great way to explore the valley!
Discovery Bikes is a family-owned mountain bike rental company offering both rental bikes and bike tours. Biking is a fantastic way to both see a lot of the valley and its natural beauty up close.
Hiking near Stehekin
Next to biking, hiking is the best way to really experience Stehekin.
Some of the more popular trails include Agnes Gorge Trail and the Rainbow Loop Trail.
Lakeshore Trail starts at the Golden West Visitor Center. While you may not have time for the trail’s full 17 miles on a day trip, you’ll at least have time for the easy, half-mile stroll to the beach!
Stop by the Golden West Visitor Center to ask the rangers’ advice on day hikes. You can also read more detailed Stehekin trail info here.
Eating in Stehekin
The Restaurant at North Cascades Lodge offers a small convenience store and everything from hamburgers to steaks and pasta.
Stehekin Pastry Company is open daily for coffee, fresh baked goods, breakfast, and lunch. All the goodies are made by hand, with that personal touch shining through in every bite. Stop by and try one of their delicious homemade treats for yourself. A visit to Stehekin isn’t complete without a stop at the bakery!
Picnic! Another option is to pack a cooler or picnic basket to enjoy while in Stehekin. There are many places to enjoy a picnic with fantastic views along the lake.
At the end of the day… relaxation!
After a full day of exploring Stehekin, return to your home away from home at Kelly’s Resort.
Our convenient location on the South Shore of Lake Chelan saves you considerable driving time and boating time. This gives you more freedom to enjoy all there is to see and do in the stunning Lake Chelan area.