Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park

4.0
#9 of 9 in Parks in North Cascades National Park
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area (NRA) located about 35mi south of the Canadian border in Chelan County, Washington. It encompasses an area of 61958acre including the northern end of Lake Chelan and the surrounding area of the Stehekin Valley and the Stehekin River. The area is managed by the U.S. National Park Service as part of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.Lake Chelan NRA is adjacent to the North Cascades National Park South Unit. There are no roads that lead into Lake Chelan NRA. The recreation area and Stehekin, a small town located within the park with fewer than 100 permanent residents, are accessible only by floatplane or passenger ferry from the south end of Lake Chelan near the town of Chelan, Washington. The area can also be accessed by hiking trails through the Cascade Range during the summer months. During the summer, an off-road bus service operated by the NPS carries weary hikers to the town from the Pacific Crest Trail.Visitors to Lake Chelan NRA can get general information about the area at the Golden West Visitor Center located near the ferry landing. The Buckner Homestead Historic District, Purple Point-Stehekin Ranger Station House, and the one-room Stehekin School are located within the Lake Chelan NRA. They are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
19 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • January 11, 2017
    Drove through this beautiful area while doing the North Cascades Scenic loop drive. Just stunning. Beautiful properties along the lake and nearby farming areas.  more »
  • May 16, 2016
    The lake looks very beautiful in summer. Water activities are relatively cheaper compared to some other places like Lake Tahoe, Hawaii etc. Good place for folks in the Seattle region to go for a weeke...  more »
  • September 26, 2015
    Wonderful scenes along the lake. Much different from the wet western side of the Cascades. Great for boating, hiking, picnics!  more »
Google
  • July 6, 2017
    This is truly a wonderful and beautiful spot in the Northern Cascades National Park complex! One takes a passenger ferry up to the lodge area or any of the other stops and can enjoy mountainous beauty. I definitely recommend getting a reservation for the lodge as early as possible as a summertime definitely fills out. There's plenty to do with hiking as well as taking a bus ride to any of the points further into the recreation area or national Park. You can even rent a bike for the day or afternoon!
  • June 12, 2017
    Washington is full of great recreation areas and this might be my favorite. Complete with an inland fresh water fjord, Lake Chelan has access many of Washington's great wilderness climates.
  • May 31, 2017
    Beautiful lake, wineries and tasting. Good restaurants tons of things to do.
  • May 13, 2017
    Beautiful lake, interesting boat trip, great Lodge.
  • August 10, 2016
    If you're not hiking any of the Lakeshore trails or other backcountry trails I can't really speak for the rest of the attractions. The Lakeshore trail I got to hike 3 years in a row with a school and every year I enjoyed it more than they previous year. The campgrounds along the trail have the perfect backdrop of alpine lake and mountain scenery with plenty of wildlife along the way especially if you keep your eye out for birds of prey. The boat ride is kind an icing on the cake for both your trip in and out, with friendly folk who always want to chat up the group with the large backpacks.

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Where to stay in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park offers various styles of camping, including camping from a car, RV, or boat at a developed campground (wilderness camping is also available). The park permits numerous private concessionaires to provide lodging within the park's boundaries, so you'll find numerous lodges, rustic resorts, and cabins throughout the park. Many visitors also stay in the assortment of lodges, inns, motels, and campgrounds lining Route 20 on both the western and eastern sides of the park.
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