|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Hike the east side of the Cascade Range, and you’ll discover jagged skyline views that equal those on the more crowded west side—and that aren’t obscured by a near-daily dose of cold, pounding rain. This four-day, 32-mile traverse from the tiny village of Stehekin to Prince Creek Campground (both on Lake Chelan) begins with a relentless, 5,700-foot climb on the Purple Creek Trail to Purple Pass. Camp at Lake Juanita after 7.3 hard-earned miles. For the next two days, follow the Chelan Summit Trail below the craggy Sawtooth Range; you’ll likely see more black bears than people (our Northwest Editor notched daily bruin sightings). The rugged trail pays off with views of Glacier Peak and the North Cascades across 50-mile-long and two-mile-wide Lake Chelan, which sits at the bottom of a trench 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. Bridges—including a critical one across Prince Creek, which cannot be forded—receive infrequent maintenance; call the Chelan Ranger District before heading out.
Best campsite: the stream-cut wildflower meadows of Horseshoe Basin at mile 16.5
Directions Take the Lady of the Lake ferry across Lake Chelan to Stehekin Campground (509-682-4584; ladyofthelake.com). The Purple Creek Trail begins behind the visitor center (pick up a free backcountry permit here).
Guidebook Backpacking Washington, by Douglas Lorain ($18, wildernesspress.com)
Contact (509) 682-4900; nps.gov/noca