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Lake Chelan National Recreation Area: Rainbow Falls Loop

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Distance: 7.2 miles


Travel by boat to a 7.2-mile loop in the North Cascades that features vibrant wildflowers, a rocky overlook above Lake Chelan, and a 300-foot waterfall.
  • Views of Lake Chelan

Located near the headwaters of Lake Chelan in the North Cascades, this 7.2-mile loop travels across remote landscapes accessible only by boat or plane. After a scenic, 50-mile boat ride to Stehekin, hop on the shuttle for a quick ride to Harlequin Bridge. The hike starts at the bridge and follows Stehekin Valley Road to the northwest for 0.5 mile to the Rainbow Falls Loop.

From there, climb through lush forest and meadows speckled with calypso orchids, vanilla leaf, and wild ginger, and then cross the rushing waters of Rainbow Creek on a wooden footbridge. At mile 4, take a worthy side trip to a rocky knob overlooking the lake, then tackle a steep descent back to the valley floor. The hike culminates at the foot of Rainbow Falls, a two-tiered waterfall that plummets more than 300 feet to the ground. Savor the views before following the road back to the shuttle pick-up at Harlequin Bridge.

Info: Lady of the Lake and Stehekin Shuttle

-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography

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