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Stehekin to Rainy Pass

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.3093, -120.6575 Map & Directions
18.7 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
3,600 feet
Highest Point
4,900 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
A misty morning on the PCT out of Stehekin. Photo by hannahgrossblatt Full-size image
  • Ridges/passes
  • Wildlife
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Mountain views
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Fall foliage
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Connect between the Stehekin River and Rainy Pass on this section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Views of peaks in every direction capture the hiker's attention as you walk through the beautiful North Cascades. Continue reading

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Hiking Stehekin to Rainy Pass

Walk along the iconic Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as you connect between the Stehekin River and Rainy Pass in the North Cascades. This section of the PCT features limitless views of peaks as you walk along bustling creeks. Gradually ascend through the forest as you pass by multiple campsites as PCT through-hikers approach the last leg of their journey.

Begin your journey on the Stehekin River at High Bridge Camp. As you first set off, the trail treats you to views of  Howard Lake after just 1.3 miles. Towering high above Howard Lake and a good portion of this trail is McGregor Mountain. Admire the Sandalee Glacier as you walk for the first 6 miles. The trail stays close to the Upper Valley Road along the Stehekin River. Meet with the road once more at Bridge Creek Camp, then dive deep into the North Cascades backcountry.

Wrap around McGregor Mountain as the trail follows Bridge Creek. Goode Mountain and Storm King are on the left as you approach North Fork Camp. Stay right at the fork, and continue to Sixmile Camp and South Fork Camps. Rest here, or continue left on the PCT. Past South Fork Camps, you approach Hideaway Camp and Fireweed Camp. On the right is the Stephen Mather Wilderness, and you may be able to see Bowan Mountain and Rainbow Ridge in the distance. Kettling Lake is also hidden in the trees up Kettling Creek off the PCT.

Just past Fireweed Camp, you must cross log over a creek. The bridge washed out in a flood years ago. Use caution. Once over the creek, wind around Frisco Mountain on the left. Try to spot the Lyall Glacier as you walk by. To the right are Twisp Mountain and Stiletto Peak. Continue along Bridge Creek until you finally reach Rainy Pass. At Rainy Pass, cross Highway 20 to continue along the PCT. There is also a network of trails there that takes you to Rainy Lake and/or Lake Ann.

Throughout the trail, the trails are well maintained, the campgrounds are in good condition, and you may even see wildlife. There is a picnic area at Rainy Pass, and the views of the mountains are unparalleled.

Hike Description Written by
McKenzie Carlson, WTA Correspondent

Stehekin to Rainy Pass

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.3093, -120.6575 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

A $26 backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex (incl. Ross Lake National Rec Area and Lake Chelan National Rec Area). Permits must be picked up in person at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. See the National Park Service website for more information.

See weather forecast

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Chelan, take the Lady of the Lake ferry to the village of Stehekin, a trip of 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on which ferry you catch. Note that each ferry only makes one trip per day from Chelan, so plan on overnighting in Stehekin in order to complete this hike. From the ferry landing, catch the bus up valley to the High Bridge stop at the end of the road. A one-way trip costs $7 per adult.

More Hike Details


North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

Pacific Crest Trail (#2000)

North Cascades National Park, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

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Stehekin to Rainy Pass

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