Woman sitting looking at view of lake and trees | North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

Moderate Day Hikes

Coon Lake-McGregor Bullion Loop Trail
This hike is full of options with three different trailheads to choose from. One is .5 miles above Tumwater Bridge, another at High Bridge, and the third is at Bullion Campground. At the Bullion Campground trailhead, there is also a small loop trail and another leg of the trail that leads to Cascade Corrals. This is better understood by looking at a trail map. The easiest route is to start above the Tumwater Bridge as the road has gained much of the elevation for you. From this trailhead, you may elect to meet the Stehekin Road at High Bridge, Bullion Campground or Cascade Corrals. Starting at Tumwater Trailhead, it is an easy one-mile hike through mostly cedar and fir timber to Howard Lake and McGregor Trail Junction.

An option for those wanting a longer hike is to turn left onto McGregor Mountain Trail for a ways and then come back and continue on the loop. One mile up the McGregor Mountain trail takes you to a nice view of the valley and to a falls, which provides a scramble trail to water. The higher you go up McGregor Trail, the better the view!

Rainbow Loop Trail
This is a five-mile loop with the lower trailhead taking off from the road 2.6 miles from Stehekin Landing and the upper trailhead at 5.0 miles up-valley from the landing, or .4 miles above Harlequin Bridge. We recommend starting at the upper trailhead as the elevation gain is a little less. Also, the first half of the loop is forested, so it is cooler uphill hiking.

Two miles will bring you to the junction of Rainbow Loop and Rainbow Creek Trails; here you take a right. An optional hike is up Rainbow Creek Trail a little more than a mile, which will take you to an exposed bluff with an excellent 180-degree view of Lake Chelan and the Stehekin Valley. Continuing right at the junction, you will drop down a short distance to where the trail crosses Rainbow Creek. This is a nice spot for a rest or lunch beside the creek. After climbing up from the creek, the next .4 miles you will be on a flat bench that takes you past Boulder Creek Trail on your left.

Stay right and you will start descending into the valley. On the way down there are several nice views of the valley and lake. If you do not plan on hiking the whole loop, the lower leg is your best choice for scenery.

There are many other trails that could be considered moderate, depending on how far and how fast you go.

Bridge Creek Trail
Part of the Pacific Crest Trail System, this trail can also make a nice day hike. Six miles takes you to a bridge and a nice spot to rest or try your hand at catching some wild cutthroat trout. If you continue on from here, you will switchback up about one-half mile to a trail junction. Take a left here and go up the North Fork of Bridge Creek to Walker Park about three miles or continue on to Grizzly Creek for a total of six miles. This trail takes you up a mountain valley with only moderate elevation gain. Although not as picturesque as some of the more strenuous hikes, this is nonetheless a nice place to spend the day.

To get to the trailhead, take the Old Wagon Road to Bridge Creek Camp. Keep going for another 100 yards, and the trail will take off on your right. On a hot day continue another 100 yards past the trailhead on the road and be prepared to jump into a marvelous (but cold) swimming hole when you arrive at the Bridge Creek bridge.