Installment 2 of our day hike suggestions for your stay in the Stehekin Valley (and at our Ranch of course!). The following suggestions fall into the “Moderate” category. More elevation, and more views, but still not overly strenuous.
Rainbow Loop Trail – This trail falls into the easy to moderate category. There are 2 trailheads for this hike. You must hike a bit of the road in order to complete the “loop”, but most people simply start at the Upper trailhead, and come out at the Lower trailhead, which is conveniently located about 1/2 mile from the bakery where they can get an ice cream cone and wait for the next bus to bring them back to the Ranch. The upper end of the trail is mostly wooded – quite nice as you are hiking uphill! You will cross a bridge about halfway – this is Rainbow Creek. From here on out you will get many view points looking out across the Stehekin Valley. Looking straight down, you will see Buckner Orchard, and off to the left is Lake Chelan. As an optional extension, you can branch off onto the main Rainbow Creek Trail a mile or so and get some more great views as you go up.
Easy-Moderate 4.5 miles with viewpoints of the Stehekin Valley and Lake Chelan.
McGregor Mountain Lite – This trail is the one for those looking to get some elevation and spectacular views of the North Cascades mountain range. It is 7 miles of uphill trail to get to the summit (stay tuned for our next installment if you are looking to summit), but the great thing about this trail is that you don’t have to go to the top to enjoy some fabulous views. As you head up, you will pass Coon Lake about 1 mile in. This is a beautiful alpine lake. Keep going past the lake and you will come to the McGregor Trail turnoff. As you continue up, you’ll start getting some great views about another mile from the lake. The farther up you go, the more you will be able to see, but you can turn around at any time. Regardless of how far you go, this hike is well worth the effort on a clear day!
Difficult, but with Moderate options for those not wanting to summit, 14 miles RT to summit, many viewpoints
There are many hikes to choose from when staying in the Stehekin Valley, but here at the Ranch, we do have our favorites. The following is the first of 3 articles describing our best suggestions. Today’s feature is on the list of “Easy” hikes in Stehekin. Stay tuned for “Moderate” and “Challenging” suggestions in future posts!
Agnes Gorge – While this is a fairly easy 1/2 day hike, it is hands down my favorite. 2.5 miles of trail takes you through wooded areas, and breaks out into spectacular mountain views. At the end of the trail, you can scramble right down to the creek, and watch it crash over a 30 foot falls into the gorge. Or you can stay up top, and look down at it from high above. You can also see the remains of the old suspension bridge that used to span the gorge – not for the faint of heart!! When you visit the Ranch, you can see a picture showing a pack string of horses crossing that bridge – quite impressive!
Easy 5 miles round-trip with viewpoints.
Coon Lake – This is the beginning of the trail to McGregor Mountain. It is just 1 mile in to get to Coon Lake, which is a beautiful alpine lake. If you continue up the McGregor trail another mile or 2, you will come to some great lookouts with mountain views to the south. You can also choose to return via the wagon trail, which will take you to a trailhead further up the Stehekin Road from where you started. There is very little traffic on this upper end of the road (the buses stop at High Bridge), so you can wander down this very pleasant 1.5 miles of road in peace. You will also cross Tumwater Bridge on this section of road, which is quite spectacular.
Easy 2+ miles (actual mileage depends on route)
Lakeshore Trail – This fun trail takes you back along the lake for a pleasant stroll. You can make this hike as long as you like – the trail continues 17 miles to Prince Creek. There is a nice picnic shelter at Flick Creek (~4 miles), which can make a good lunch/turn around point. For a longer hike, you can go to Moore Point (7 miles) or just wander until you feel like turning around. Don’t forget you have to walk back as far as you walked in!
Easy – as long as you like, with lake views
Want to learn more about hiking trails? Click here to read more…
Recently, I came across a video demonstrating a trend of today’s youth becoming addicted to technology rather than enjoying the outdoors and playing with other kids. Grandparents remember fishing adventures, exploring the woods and picking berries as some of their favorite activities. Their children remember playing with the neighborhood kids, games of baseball, building forts. What is important to the current generation of kids? Video games, movies, texting – they spend hour upon hour glued to their technology. Is this healthy? I would say introducing these kids to the outdoors and all that nature has to offer would be a huge service to them!
Stehekin Valley Ranch provides a great atmosphere for a technology-free vacation for the whole family! Don’t worry about cell phones – there is no service here. WiFi while available, is too slow to watch movies or play online games. So get outside! There are lots of fun activities to try, and natural wonders abound!
Guided activities include kayaking (kids as young as 3 can go with a parent), horseback riding (8 years and up for the trail ride, lessons and pony rides available for younger kids), and fly fishing. There are also mountain bikes to rent, trails to hike, and a lake to swim in!
If that isn’t enough to keep everyone entertained, there are a variety of games right here at the Ranch. We have ping pong, horseshoes, frisbee golf, volleyball, badminton, a playground and more. Or, if you want to stay inside we have a variety of board games, books and puzzles in our reading room.
Plus, with all your meals included, even Mom gets a vacation!
Visit our website for more details or to book your stay in paradise!