Our final suggestion in the Best Day Hikes series. The following describes the best of the best in the “Challenging” category. If you are all about getting the fantastic views, and don’t mind breaking a sweat to get them, then this is for you. I would put this in the “well worth it” category, but you will certainly earn your dinner (and dessert) with this one!
McGregor Mountain – This trail is the one for those looking to get some elevation and spectacular views of the North Cascades mountain range. There is a well built trail most of the way to the top of the 8,129′ mountain. The last mile is a relatively easy scramble, but you definitely want to exercise caution and use good judgement. The scramble route is marked with red paint, but it can be tricky to find, so if you plan to summit, do your homework before you head out. From the trailhead, it is 7 miles to the top. Those looking for a shorter hike will start getting some great views about 2 miles from the trailhead. 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
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
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!
“When I grow up I want to live at Stehekin” – Ben (Ranch Guest, 6 years old)
Highlighted Activities and Events
The river is high and the holes big.
The snow melt has made for an unusually exciting June and is still going strong for July. Looking up there is still plenty of snow to melt to make for an amazing season of rafting. For those of us who live to be on the river, this year has had some ideal conditions and looks promising to stay put for a nice season into mid-August. However, you never know what the weather will do. Get here while the water’s good!
Spin Spin Spin!
Last weekend was our annual spinning weekend where wool went flying and yarn was spun. Wheels turned impressively and in their spare time they worked in some other great arts and crafts projects. See this picture of this group making necklaces from cut up old shirts. How creative!
Flora and Fauna Sightings
Wild flowers are out in storm. On a hike up to Agnes Gorge we seemed to see a new beautiful and unique flower every two minutes and we kept stopping for pictures making our hike a bit longer than planned. In the last week I’ve personally seen osprey, several bald eagles, what we think was a baby river otter, numerous deer, a black bear and a cougar! Pictures of these have been more difficult than the sightings so you’ll have to come and see for yourself.
I was enjoying a nice chat with some early rising guests this morning over coffee, when all of a sudden, one of them stood up and exclaimed, “There’s a moose out there!”
Obviously, since we don’t have moose around here, I thought to myself, “Yeah, right. It is probably a deer or something.” But, I did turn around and take a look just to humor them…
Sure enough, big as life, there was a moose in the pasture! He was probably only a yearling, with a very small rack. In fact, from a distance, it was difficult to tell that he had one at all until he turned his head.
In my 7 years here, this is the first moose I have even heard of this far up valley. Every couple years or so, someone spots a lone moose down by the head of the lake, but they are definitely a rare sight in the valley. It was a great treat for those of us that got up early!
(Unfortunately, it did not stick around long enough for me to track down a camera, but a couple guests did manage to get photos. If they send them back to me I will post them!)
I have often been asked what a “spinner” is. If you aren’t up on the lingo, you might think we are talking about spinning tops or turning around in circles, but actually we are talking about making yarn. “Spinning” refers to taking wool from a sheep (or any other kind of fiber a person thinks of spinning), and turning it into yarn.
At our annual Spinning Rendezvous, spinners of all skill levels get together and have a great weekend of crafting fun. Laughter, learning, sharing, teaching – all are present in large quantities. Friendships grow, and ideas are passed around. And, as you might expect, a great deal of beautiful yarn is spun!
There is still room to sign up for this great weekend of fun! Visit our website for more information, or contact our reservation office at 1-800-536-0745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.