Visiting Stehekin in the Winter

Do you want to truly escape?  Perhaps read that book, do that puzzle, learn that card game, or apply that long overdue facemask? I’ve got just the place for you!

I grew up hearing about the tiresome day my mom took me, my brother and sister on a four-hour boat ride the full length of Lake Chelan. Apparently, doing so with little kids wasn’t a fond memory for her  - which I say with a smile! I did not realize until recently, that there is a quaint town at the far end of the lake that that holds year-round appeal. And if you take the ferry from Fields Point landing it’s only 1.5 hours to Stehekin.  


*Fun Fact: Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the US with a maximum depth of 1,486 ft.

In the summer, there is a bustling community, amazing bakery, North Cascades Lodge, and Stehekin Valley ranch. Visitors arrive via ferry, plane, hike in on the Pacific Crest Trail, or on horseback. It’s a popular day trip destination for hiking, horse riding, kayaking, fishing, and visiting the Buckner Orchard and Homestead. Electric bikes are available to rent for transportation while you are exploring.  


*Remember: There is no cell service in Stehekin. Some of the rental homes have wifi,  check ahead of time and plan to be off grid. I took my Garmin InReach, so that my kids could message me while I was visiting.

welcome to stehekin sign
Stehekin winter landscape

Winter Season

Winter is when the magic really happens in Stehekin. There’s an adventurous draw to traveling out to an area when everything is closed for the season. Even when camping, I know I can always drive out to a gas station somewhere to find any last-minute items. In Stehekin that isn’t the case. You’d have to catch the ferry the following day! It is strikingly beautiful covered in the 4-7 feet of snowpack they typically get each year, and it is remote. So, dress warm, and along with your duffle bag, bring a cooler! 


*Weekend meal planning: I premade a lasagna, which was the main staple for dinners.  A loaf of fresh sourdough from my local bakery made for amazing avocado toast in the morning and Field Roast veggie sandwiches for lunch. A package of Flax for Life Chocolate Brownies solved the need for something sweet, along with sliced apples, crackers and hummus for snacks. A couple bottles of local wine from Cave B was a must!

Lake surrounded by snow
winter in stehekin

Getting There

Getting there is easy and enjoyable on the Stehekin ferry from Fields Point landing, approximately 17 miles from the town of Chelan. Don’t be shy, drive right down to the landing and use the provided cart to take your things down to the boat. Leave everything at the “Stehekin” sign and they will load it up for you. Drive your vehicle up to the parking area and pay at the office, and you’re set to go!  Remember to arrive 30 minutes prior to sailing. 


Reminder: There are free warm drinks on the ferry; hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. Bring cash if you would like a snack, cookies, chips and nutrition bars available!

You've Arrived

A warm greeting from the hosts, as they helped us load our things into a large green van, then handed me the keys! I had a huge smile jumping in and following them out to the log cabin. They said, “Have fun, explore, and leave the keys inside when you catch the ferry home on Sunday!”

Mountain landscape behind lakefront

While in Town

While there, make sure to check out Rainbow Falls. It’s just a couple miles up the road. It was stunning partially frozen, and the snow-covered trail was amazing to explore. The old schoolhouse is a fun piece of history to check out as, and the road is dotted with unique homes and cabins to admire.  The main road is plowed, so it is possible to explore on foot or via vehicle.  

At the cabin, take in rustling sounds of the snow sliding off the roof, work on a puzzle, practice your Scrabble skills, eat, drink, and be merry.  There is nothing better than being snowed into a log cabin to force yourself to sit back and unwind. And, let’s face it, we could all benefit from a little more rest and relaxation.

If you need some more ideas for what to do in town and around the area, check out some of our other articles!

Tara B Headshot

Tara Burnett

Avid adventurer and weekend wanderer Tara fervidly explores the Pacific Northwest and beyond with her tiny trailer in tow! You can find her at @tarastinytrailer


  1. J Elliott on February 24, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    This is on my bucket list! Great overview – can’t wait to put it on my calendar

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 24, 2023 at 5:21 pm

      You really should head out there! I’m going to try it this summer as well!

  2. Michelle Rowlett on February 24, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I had no idea there was such a magical town so close by in my home state of Washington! Adding to my list of “must-visits” right now! Great tips and descriptions! 🙂

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 25, 2023 at 10:35 am

      I feel the same way! Such an amazing adventure, a place you can actually sneak away and have that private remote experience! For sure check it out!

  3. Gary Caldwell on February 24, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Tara, you did an excellent job describing this wonderful place, now I want to go visit it someday. It sounds like an awesome and fascinating place. Thank you for your input, GaryC.

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 25, 2023 at 10:37 am

      I sincerely appreciate that! It’s a tough job, being able to describe this amazing place and give it the attention it deserves!

  4. S Goodell on February 24, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    Looks and sounds like an amazing place and that blue sky, wow! Great info, thanks for sharing, I’ll have to look into a visit.

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 25, 2023 at 10:40 am

      It’s fantastic and I cannot wait to explore it in the summer as well. The locals gave a little insight into some other areas out there to check out! More to come for sure!

  5. Kelli O. on February 24, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    This seems like a great place when you want to get away and slow down for a bit! I love all the small touches like snacks on the ferry and the help loading. Washington just seems friendly and gorgeous!

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 25, 2023 at 10:42 am

      Yes absolutely! The ferry is such a welcoming personalized moment, what amazing people. And everyone was very welcoming! And the views on that ride out there a major bonus!

  6. Kevin McCabe on February 24, 2023 at 10:36 pm

    What a great article.
    What’s it like in the summer?

    • Tarastinytrailer on February 25, 2023 at 10:44 am

      Hey thanks is much! I hear the summer is really cool. I’m looking forward to giving that a try actually! I must admit I love the quiet of off season, the personal feel and lack of people is refreshing sometimes!

  7. Kristi aka All 50 States or Bust on February 25, 2023 at 5:56 am

    Great read! Seems like an amazing adventure.

    • Tarastinytailer on February 27, 2023 at 7:21 am

      So glad you enjoyed it thank you! I’m sincerely looking forward to heading back out this summer and doing a little comparison trip!

  8. Leslie Noborikawa on February 25, 2023 at 6:09 am

    I have never heard of Stehakin but reading this article I’m ready to xheck it out!!

    • Tarastinytailer on February 27, 2023 at 7:28 am

      Right! It’s like a little hidden gem that so many of us don’t know about! I’m so glad one of my friends mentioned it to me. It’s as cool as it sounds!

  9. Suzanne S on February 25, 2023 at 8:50 am

    I’ve always wanted to get up there! You make it sound so magical! Great tips and article!

    • Tarastinytailer on February 27, 2023 at 7:30 am

      Absolutely as good as I was hoping it was! I really appreciated the wonderful conversations we had with the locals. They were so welcoming. It’s much easier to actually relax when you are in such a beautiful remote location! Obviously I highly recommend it!

  10. Dallas on February 25, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    This looks amazing!! Wish the drive from Alberta to Washington wasn’t so sketchy in the winter! But makes me want to explore more of my own local gems in the winter!

    • Tarastinytailer on February 27, 2023 at 7:34 am

      Oh absolutely! I bet you have some amazing places up your way to discover. I’m often shocked at what’s just under our noses! Good luck!

  11. Christy on February 25, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    Love this place! Looking forward to hiking in during the summer. Your snowy pics are spectacular !

    • Tarastinytailer on February 27, 2023 at 7:35 am

      I had a great friend suggest this to me (wink wink) I’m so glad she did! I am excited to try it in the summer!

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