Stehekin has just under 100 permanent residents, though its population swells during the summer with vacationers and seasonal workers. The name "Stehekin" comes from a Columbia-Moses word meaning "the way through."
Located at the northwest end of Lake Chelan, it lies just south of the North Cascades National Park at 48°18′34″N 120°39′19″W. It is within Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, a unit administered by the National Park Service.
Things To DoEdit
Sights to see in Stehekin include the Stehekin Pastry Company, The One Room Schoolhouse, 312' Rainbow Falls, and Harlequin Bridge. Stehekin is a great location for hikers and bikers in the summer, and snowshoers and skiers in the winter. Stehekin is a mecca for photographers year-round.
There is no road access to Stehekin, though several miles of road exist there. It is reachable by passenger ferry, by foot over the Cascade Pass, the Lady of the Lake, or private boat from Chelan, or by floatplane. The vehicles in Stehekin have been barged there on Lake Chelan.
In addition to access by Lake Chelan, visitors come to Stehekin by horseback, hiking, and flying into Stehekin State Airport. The airport is only open July, August, and September, and is noted by Washington State as being one of the state's most challenging airports. While only 1,230 ft (370 m), there are mountains on the sides and trees at each end of the 2,630 ft (800 m) runway. Pilots should call (360.651.6300) prior to use. The airport is often a base for firefighting, at which times it is closed to public use. The ranger station is next to the airport, but everything else is a hike. There's good fishing in the area, but trout come through for a short time and then they're gone. One can usually catch small kokanee.
In 2003, much of the upper (northern) half of the Stehekin Valley Road was washed out by the nearby Stehekin River. Thus, access via Cascade Pass has become extensively more difficult, adding as much as 10 miles (16 km) to the already strenuous trek. Another town with a similarly small population and similar access is Holden Village, surrounded by the Glacier Peak Wilderness and located 12 miles up the Railroad Creek Valley from Lucerne, a boat landing on Lake Chelan.
Between March 15 and 28 of 2007, WeavTel, a telecommunications company based out of Chelan at the head of the lake began normal operations of standard-delivery residential and business telephone service. Stehekin, previously served only by highly expensive satellite and radio telephones, finally joined the Washington Telephone Grid after decades of isolation. The move was not widely accepted amongst residents, however business owners agreed that there is a benefit to having normal telephone service. The service is currently limited to the Lower Stehekin Valley, around Stehekin Landing and the village proper, however, WeavTel is applying for permits to extend the service into the Upper Valley using underground fiber-optic cables. The move was made possible under Federal and State grants that provide support for any telecommunications company willing to extend service to rural areas. Although most other areas of North Central Washington have standard service, most of the areas outside of Wenatchee benefit from the grants as well. One of the first calls, a test call, was placed from Stehekin's Silver Bay Resort.