Top Activities And Adventures: Things To Do In Stehekin

Things To Do In Stehekin

If the charm of a quiet, small town is calling your name, you’re not alone. We stumbled upon Stehekin, a tucked-away treasure that perfectly fits the bill. Our guide will navigate you through getting there—whether it’s boarding the Lady of the Lake ferry or trekking trails through North Cascades National Park—and highlight local adventures waiting for you.

Imagine yourself kayaking on Lake Chelan‘s serene waters or being awestruck by Rainbow Falls. Welcome to Stehekin, ready for exploration!

Key Takeaways

  • You can get to Stehekin by ferry, backpacking, or flying. The Lake Chelan Boat Company and the Stehekin Ferry offer rides across Lake Chelan with amazing views.
  • There are lots of things to do in Stehekin like hiking, biking, and water activities. You can explore trails or enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake Chelan.
  • A variety of places to stay are available in Stehekin including lodges, rental homes, campgrounds for outdoor lovers, and even backcountry camping for those looking for adventure.
  • Guided tours provide a deeper understanding of Stehekin’s history and natural beauty. Options include hiking tours, lake excursions, cultural walks, birdwatching expeditions, and photography tours.
  • Don’t miss visiting local attractions like Rainbow Falls with its 312-foot drop and Buckner Orchard‘s historic apple trees.

Getting to Stehekin

Things To Do In Stehekin - A photo of a backpack and hiking boots on a trail with lush greenery.

Arriving in Stehekin is part of the adventure, whether it’s by ferry, backpacking, or flying. The journey sets the stage for the excitement that lies ahead.

Ferry ride

We can choose between two ferry companies to get to Stehekin, the Lake Chelan Boat Company and the Stehekin Ferry. They offer rides across Lake Chelan, giving us breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

The fastest way across is with The Liberty, which takes just 1.5 hours. For those who prefer a slower journey, Lady of the Lake takes 4 hours but allows more time to soak in the scenery.

There’s also a middle ground option with the Stehekin Ferry that gets us there in about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

On these ferries, we’ll experience more than just a simple boat ride; it’s our gateway to adventure in North Cascades National Park Complex. Whether we’re excited for hiking trails or kayaking on the Stehekin River, starting our trip with a ferry ride sets the tone for an unforgettable visit to Stehekin Valley Ranch or grabbing pastries at Stehekin Pastry Company.

This is not just transport; it’s part of our adventure into quieter towns filled with outdoor activities and charming local attractions like Buckner Orchard and Golden West Visitor Center.


Backpacking to Stehekin offers an adventure through breathtaking landscapes. The journey can start from Cascade Pass or Rainy Pass. For those seeking a path less traveled, the Cascade Pass route stretches 20.6 miles with an elevation gain of 6,601 feet.

It promises stunning views and a rewarding challenge. Meanwhile, Rainy Pass provides a slightly shorter trek at 18.9 miles one-way, featuring an elevation gain of 4,812 feet, ideal for adventurers looking for beauty and endurance.

We pack light but carry essentials – maps, water filters, and tents merge into our backpacks as we step onto the trailhead. The Lakeshore Trail whispers tales from Prince Creek to Stehekin Landing over 16.9 serene miles hugged by nature’s finest scenes – making every step worth the effort.


We choose to fly for a unique view of Stehekin. Our flight gives us a bird’s eye view of the area. We see the wilderness and Lake Chelan from up high. This trip lets us spot places we can’t see from the ground. It’s an adventure many love.

The flights into Stehekin offer more than just travel. They show us beauty that walking or driving can’t match. Flying turns our journey into an exciting part of our trip, mixing thrill with stunning sights. It’s a must-do for anyone seeking adventure tourism in this peaceful place.

Getting Around Stehekin

Bicycles parked in front of a scenic city bus stop with a bustling atmosphere.

Explore Stehekin on foot, or rent bikes or ATVs for a more adventurous mode of transport. Discover the convenience of bus services for easier exploration in this scenic town.


Walking is the primary mode of transportation in Stehekin due to its spread-out nature and lack of car accessibility. Visitors can embrace the serene surroundings by strolling through the town’s quaint streets or venturing onto numerous hiking trails, each offering a unique connection with nature.

Exploring on foot uncovers hidden gems waiting to be discovered amidst the picturesque landscapes.

Bike or ATV rentals

Looking for adventure in Stehekin? Here are some options for renting bikes or ATVs:

  • Discovery Bikes offers regular and electric bike rentals.
  • The Stehekin Valley Ranch also provides electric bike rentals for exploring the area’s scenic trails.
  • For a different adventure, consider renting Polaris Rangers or electric boats from Stehekin Outfitters.

Ready to explore the great outdoors in style and comfort? These rental options will elevate your Stehekin experience.

Bus services

During the tourist season from June to October, bus services operate between main visitor spots. These buses provide a convenient and comfortable mode of transportation for exploring various attractions in Stehekin Valley.

You can hop on these buses to travel between lodging facilities, campgrounds, hiking trails, and other points of interest. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate around the town without needing a personal vehicle.

For those seeking an eco-friendly and hassle-free way to get around Stehekin Valley Road, these bus services offer a practical solution. With their regular schedules and reliable operation during peak tourism months, they efficiently cater to travelers looking for an accessible means of exploring this charming area.

Whether you’re heading out for fishing adventures or planning to visit local landmarks like Rainbow Falls or the Stehekin River, utilizing these bus services allows you to enjoy effortless access while reducing your environmental impact.

Where to Stay

When planning your stay in Stehekin, you can choose from a variety of lodging options including comfortable lodges, rental homes with scenic views, tranquil campgrounds nestled in nature, or backcountry camping for the adventurous.

To explore more about these accommodations and find the perfect fit for your stay, delve into our comprehensive guide packed with useful details.


When visiting Stehekin, one can choose from various lodging options that cater to different preferences and needs. The North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin is a rustic accommodation located next to the ferry dock, offering a convenient location for those arriving by ferry or seeking easy access to nearby amenities.

On the other hand, the Stehekin Valley Ranch provides diverse accommodations such as tent cabins, ranch cabins, wagons, and a ranch house with inclusive meal plans. Both options present unique experiences amidst the tranquility of this small town – perfect for our adventurous travelers seeking comfort and nature in equal measure.

Remembering that both lodgings provide distinct offerings: while North Cascades Lodge sits next to the ferry dock providing convenience and proximity to local facilities; on the other hand, Stehekin Valley Ranch offers an array of accommodations with meal plans for comprehensive comfort during your stay in this serene town.

Rental homes

Rental homes in Stehekin offer a diverse selection of cabins, varying in age and size. The options are limited, but they provide a cozy and authentic experience nestled within the tranquil surroundings.

These accommodations present an opportunity to immerse oneself in the natural beauty that defines this quaint town – providing a comfortable base from which to explore the area’s recreational pursuits.


We’ve got diverse camping options in Stehekin, offering the chance to enjoy nature up close. From Purple Point Campground’s lakeside setting to Harlequin Campground’s riverside charm, you’re spoiled for choice.

Lakeview Campground sits near the dock and offers easy access to amenities, making it a convenient option for those who want both beauty and convenience.

If a tranquil morning by the water sounds like your kind of start to the day, look no further than these campgrounds. Whether it’s fishing adventures or simply soaking in scenic views, our campsites offer a perfect base for an outdoor getaway.

Backcountry camping

When backcountry camping in Stehekin, remember to secure permits from the visitor center. The closest campsites such as Bridge Creek, North Fork, Heaton, Rainbow Bridge, and Rainbow Lake offer captivating natural settings ideal for a quiet retreat into nature.

Whether it’s fishing adventures at Rainbow Lake or exploring the scenic trails around these campgrounds, our experiences are tailored for those seeking an adventure off the beaten path.

Top Things to Do in Stehekin

Explore scenic hiking trails that wind through breathtaking landscapes.

Embark on a biking adventure, discovering the charm of this serene town.

Engage in water activities like kayaking or fishing to make the most of Stehekin’s natural beauty.


When in Stehekin, we uncover an array of hiking adventures to satisfy our craving for exploration. From the mesmerizing Rainbow Falls to the tranquil McGregor Mountain Trail, there’s something for every hiker.

Step into a world of nature’s grandeur with the 312-foot Rainbow Falls or challenge yourself on the rugged Boulder Creek Trail. Whether it’s admiring spring thaw or embracing the winter freeze, these trails promise an unforgettable journey through Stehekin’s untamed beauty.

We’re surrounded by choice – from easy strolls along Rainbow Loop Trail to more demanding treks like Rainbow Lake and McGregor Mountain Trail. Each trail unveils its own story, guiding us through diverse landscapes and showcasing Stehekin’s enchanting wilderness.

Embrace this opportunity to discover hidden gems and immerse ourselves in the serene wonder of Stehekin’s natural treasures.


When visiting Stehekin, biking is an excellent way to explore the area. With options for electric bike rentals at Discovery Bikes and the Stehekin Valley Ranch, visitors can easily navigate the scenic trails and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region.

Whether it’s a leisurely ride around town or an adventurous journey into the backcountry, biking offers a unique and enjoyable way to experience all that Stehekin has to offer.

For those looking for an active and eco-friendly way to discover this picturesque destination, electric bikes provide a convenient option for exploring the stunning landscapes while reducing their environmental impact.

Whether cruising along the lakeshore or venturing deeper into enchanting forested paths, biking in Stehekin offers an immersive experience amidst unspoiled wilderness.

Water activities

Our adventure in Stehekin wouldn’t be complete without exploring the water activities available to us. From kayaking and paddleboarding to guided fly fishing tours, there’s no shortage of options for those who love being on the water.

The serene beauty of Lake Chelan provides a perfect backdrop for boating and swimming, while electric boat rentals offer a unique way to explore the headwaters of the lake. Whether it’s meandering along in a kayak or casting a line with expert guides from Stehekin Fishing Adventures, our time spent on the water is sure to be both relaxing and exhilarating.

Guided tours

Looking for an all-encompassing experience in Stehekin? Our guided tours offer a deeper insight into the town’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Embark on a captivating journey with our knowledgeable guides.

  • Expert-led Hiking Tours: Uncover hidden gems and breathtaking views while learning about the area’s flora, fauna, and geological features.
  • Lake Excursions: Navigate the pristine waters with experienced guides who share intriguing tales of the lake and its surroundings.
  • Cultural Walkabouts: Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Stehekin as you visit historical sites and interact with local artisans.
  • Birdwatching Expeditions: Discover the diverse avian population under the guidance of seasoned bird enthusiasts.
  • Customized Photography Tours: Capture the essence of Stehekin with insider tips from professional photographers while exploring picturesque locations.

Unlock the secrets of Stehekin through these carefully curated guided tours that cater to your adventurous spirit and thirst for knowledge!

Local attractions (Rainbow Falls, Stehekin River, etc.)

Stehekin offers stunning natural attractions perfect for exploring. Here are some must-see local spots:

  • Rainbow Falls: Witness the captivating 312-foot waterfall, best viewed during spring thaw or winter freeze.
  • Buckner Orchard and Homestead: Delve into history as you tour 350 apple trees and historic structures.
  • The Garden: Explore the organic produce on offer, including fruits, vegetables, goat cheese, honey, and beeswax candles.

Things To Do In Stehekin Conclusion

Stehekin offers a plethora of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. Accommodation options range from cozy lodges to scenic campgrounds.

The town’s natural beauty and attractions like Rainbow Falls make it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure in a serene setting. Whether you’re exploring Buckner Orchard or savoring the tranquility of Stehekin River, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque valley.

Things To Do In Stehekin FAQs

1. What can we do in Stehekin Valley for fun?

In Stehekin Valley, we have loads of adventures waiting for us. We can rent kayaks to explore the waters at our own pace, or if we’re feeling more adventurous, try scrambling on some of the trails. The scenery is breathtaking and there’s always something new to discover.

2. Is there a place where we can learn about Stehekin’s history?

Yes! The Stehekin Roundhouse offers a unique glimpse into the area’s past. It’s not just any building; it’s a hub for learning and appreciating how this beautiful place came to be what it is today…plus, they sometimes host events that are definitely worth checking out.

3. Are there guided tours available in Stehekin?

While exploring on our own is always an option, having someone guide us through the valley can enhance our experience. Guides know all the hidden gems and stories behind every turn…it’s like unlocking secret levels in a game but in real life!

4. What should we not miss when visiting Stehekin?

Don’t skip out on getting onto the water – whether that’s paddling quietly in kayaks or maybe even trying your hand at fishing…And definitely make time to visit the Roundhouse; it’s like stepping into another world – one filled with tales of yesteryears and insights into local traditions.

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