Lake Chelan Lakeshore Trail

An early heat wave had me heading north to Lake Chelan and Stehekin at the southern tip of North Cascades National Park and the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. I've wanted to visit the isolated Stehekin for some time. You can only get there by boat or hiking. This trip was Apr 16-18.

Lake Chelan is an inland fjord. It is about 55 miles long and averages 1 mile in width. It is the third deepest lake in the United States, at almost 1500 feet, behind Crater and Tahoe. Each day was a bit warmer than the one before. The first day was in the upper 60s lows were in the 40s.

Most people hike this trail one-way north after getting dropped by the boat at the southern trailhead. But the boat does not stop there this early in the season (not until May 1), so I would do and out-and-back hike from the north end.

I drove up and spent the night at Lake Chelan State Park at a walk-in lakeside camping spot.

Shared with some of the locals (there were marmots in those rocks too)

The next morning the boat left at 10am and headed north mostly empty this early in the season. There is development along the sides of the lake on the south and and it is dry country. The roads go about 10 miles up the east side and 20 miles up the west side.

In April the restaurant in Stehekin only opens for lunch on boat days and so I got fish and chips and then I was off at about 1:30.

The first half of my hike was in the national park and just before leaving it is the small camping area called Flick Creek. It was full on the way down and empty when I came back up.

Continuing south on the up-and-down trail, I would see mountains that would be straight across from my campsite

Eventually the site of my two night camp, Moore Point, would become visible.

Although there were high thin clouds, the lake was still shimmering.

There were many bright bunches of balsamroot along the trail.

The Lakeshore Trail crosses the peninsula up high, so you follow a spur trail along the side of Fish Creek for a half mile to the camping area.

On arriving at the Forest Service Moore Point campground (which has a dock for boats), a Washington Trails Assoc group that would work on the trails that week had filled most of the central sites with picnic tables so I headed to the west end of the camping area for a nice isolated spot a few hundred yards away. I was on a bench maybe 30 feet above the water, which was easy to get to.

I could walk down that slope a bit to get an unfiltered view of the North Cascades across the water. This was my morning coffee view.

I was spending two nights here and the next day I took a couple of dayhikes. First I went a few miles up the Fish Creek trail. At one point there was an unsigned side trail that went up a hill to a plateau that had heavy equipment and a house, obviously private land. There had been a dirt road that the Lakeshore trail crossed and this was used to access this plateau. On that trail there was a nice view across the lake.

I went further up the Fish Creek trail to the junction with the Round Lake trail and had a snack next to Fish Creek where there were lots of butterflies of many shapes, colors, and sizes.

On the way down, most of the logs I had had to squeeze around had already been cut and removed by the WTA work party. I headed back and got to camp at 1pm for lunch. Just behind camp was a large rolling meadow known as Orchard Camp. Nobody was camped there and I guess it is considered an overflow area. I had it to myself in the sun, and away from the shore which had gotten windy at that point.

After lunch I headed further south on the Lakeshore Trail for a couple of miles to a nice bluff well above the water. More of those same mountains from a slightly different angle.

Private homes on inholdings are quite common all the way up the lake. They are only accessible by boat. There was one near this bluff.

This is looking north from that same spot. Stehekin in just out of view on the shore hidden behind the trees.

The next morning I hiked the 7+ miles back to Stehekin and arrived almost two hours before the boat would depart. Here is the Stehekin Marina.

And the lodge with the restaurant deck.

On the boat ride back I got a zoom photo of where I camped on Moore Pt.