Cruise North America’s Deepest Gorge
Any trip to NCW is not complete without a tour of “North America’s Deepest Gorge” and the mountain community of Stehekin at the headwaters of Lake Chelan. Just a little over an hour from Grand Coulee, Lake Chelan is an easy jaunt, though the far end of the lake is only accessible by boat or float plane as there are no roads to the upper half of the lake. Not to worry, the “Lady of the Lake” provides year-round service and tours to the far end of this lake.
The boat trip takes you from the lower basin deep into the Cascades. The ultimate destination is the small isolated community of Stehekin which sits at the head of the ancient lake, and at the foot of a mountain pass once used by Indians traveling on foot over the mountains. Stehekin is an old Indian word meaning “the way through.”
During your layover in Stehekin, make sure to enjoy one of the several valley tours offered. Reservations can be made in advance with the Lady of the Lake to ensure availability. The new “Lady Cat“ cuts the travel time to the other end, with speeds up to 50 miles per hour.
Along with the new Lady Cat, there are also two other vessels that make the daily trip to Stehekin giving you several choices to mix and match the schedules into a combination that fits your time frame. Utilizing the various schedules, you can create a layover in Stehekin anywhere from 1 hour to 7 hours. During your stay in Stehekin, you can take advantage of tours like the High Bridge Lunch tour, the Rainbow Falls tour, a self guided bike tour, horseback rides, fishing, day hiking, or just wandering around the valley. To make reservations, call the Lady of the Lake office at 509-682-4584 or the recorded info line at 509-682-2224.
Centrally located about 150 miles between Spokane and Seattle, Lake Chelan is an easy drive from almost anywhere in Washington State and offers all the comforts of a resort community with the natural splendor of wilderness adventure. The valley includes portions of a national park, two national forest wilderness areas, and a national recreation area. At the lower end of the lake lies the resort community and town of Chelan. Chelan is well- known throughout the state as one of the premier resort destinations for sun seekers.
Tastes of all types can be satisfied in Chelan that is host to activities as diverse as a WRA rodeo and a summer Bach festival. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation opened a casino on tribally-held trust land at Manson. The casino adds one more great attraction to this already splendid and interesting area. Visitors will find plenty of lodging and restaurants available to add pleasure to days spent in the amiable community. Slidewaters at Lake Chelan, with nine waterslides, is one of the largest such parks in the Northwest. It’s a tempting time-out for families in the hot summer sun.
A beautiful golf course overlooks the lake. History buffs can see several old buildings still in use and in excellent condition. In summer, the four-mile-long Chelan River can be seen roaring through its gorge and over the Chelan Falls on its way to the Columbia River. If you wish to continue your vacation through Chelan, contact your motel or the Lake Chelan Visitor Information Center TOLL FREE at 1-877-440-7933