Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Washington Wednesday: Stehekin
Stehekin, a small outpost at the head of the 55-mile long glacier-fed Lake Chelan in Central Washington State is one of our favorite getaway destinations.
Accessible by boat or float plane (or for the outdoors enthusiasts) by trail; this remote treasure has been ‘discovered’ in recent years by Sunset and Martha Stewart magazines - yet, it remains a place where the biggest excitement of the day is the ferry’s arrival at The Landing. (That bus in the photo provides the shuttle service up into the Valley – a must trip if you go.)
Getting there: Most visitors depart for Stehekin from Chelan, about 180 miles from Seattle. This small town wraps around the foot of Lake Chelan (consider staying there at least a day to visit its wineries). Note: You can also catch the ferry at Field's Point, about mid-way up the lake but you'll need a car to get there.
The nearest airport is Pangborn in Wenatchee, some 35 miles from Chelan. From there you’ll need to use public transportation or rent a car. The route from Wenatchee follows Washington’s Columbia River. If you are driving, a stop at Rocky Reach Dam visitor's center, just a few miles north of Wenatchee shouldn't be missed.
The Lady of the Lake – a bit of lake history in itself – and the Lady Express are our favorite forms of travel between Chelan and Stehekin. (I snapped this photo of the Express stopping at Field’s Point to pick up passengers.) For day-trippers, there's time for a long lunch (a trip to the Stehekin Bakery is a must) before heading back to Chelan.
Accommodations: In the Stehekin Valley range from cabin rentals to ranch stays and hotel type rooms at The Landing. (Click the link to see photos, availability and prices).
Activities: Way too many choices: hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls and meadows. You can rent bikes (seasonally) or simply set off walking – the road to the bakery and beyond is level and paved. Disconnect: There’s limited computer access at The Landing and a public phone. Turn off your cell – it won’t work anyway. Don't forget your camera!
Have you been to Stehekin? Got a recommendation? Share it with us in the comments below.