Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

The 153,057 acre Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness straddles the Sawtooth range that runs southeast from the Cascade Crest and separates the Methow Valley and Lake Chelan, and is bordered to the northwest by the North Cascades National Park Complex. Wolf Creek and other creek drainages have cut deep ravines through much of the terrain, with elevations ranging from 1,100 feet to 9,000 feet.

There are 63 lakes, many too small to have ever been named, often located in the high country without trail access.  The Wilderness encompasses a diverse mixture of dense forest, meadows, alpine slopes, geology, and high country. The open forest below tree line is home to bears and mule deer. Snow often covers much of the area from mid or late October through late June.

Approximately 194 miles of trails traverse the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. Trails tend to be steady climbs into high basins and glacial cirques with lakes. The south facing portion of the range has more open, rolling high country that falls off very steeply into the Lake Chelan valley. Many parts of the Wilderness can be visited on a day trip and those areas are often crowded, particularly on weekends.  

The major trailheads are located along the North Cascades Highway (State Highway 20); the Twisp River on the northeast; Cooper Mountain and Grade Creek Roads to the south; and Lake Chelan on the southwest. All trailheads on the south side, on Lake Chelan, must be gained via a regularly scheduled ferry boat or a private craft. Trails entering from the west first cross North Cascades National Park or Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. No wilderness permits are need to camp or hike in this area. However, some trailheads may require a pass to park at. Please see our Pass and Permit section to fnd out which trailheads require a pass. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Current conditions information
Permit Info:
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Closest Towns: Chelan, WA; Winthrop, WA
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:
  • Chelan Ranger District: (509) 682-2576
  • Methow Valley Ranger District: (509) 996-4003

General Information


Topo Maps

Big Goat Mountain, Gilbert, Hoodoo Peak, Lucerne, Martin Peak, Mazama, McAlester Mountain, Midnight Mountain, Oval Peak, Prince Creek, Rendevous Mountain, Silver Star  Mountain, Sun Mountain, Thompson Ridge. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Trailheads/Trails that access Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness at Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Other trails within Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness at Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest


Help protect your wilderness by following wilderness regulations and using Leave No Trace principles.

The majority of The Chelan Ranger District hiking and camping areas are only accessible by boat or ferry. The Lady of the Lake II provides up lake travel from Chelan to Stehekin with stops available at Fields Point, Prince Creek, Moore Point, and Lucerne. Please check their website for availability, fees, and scheduling.

Lady of the Lake

Please Note:  Drop off stops at Prince Creek and Moore Point are by request only. If you are at Prince Creek or Moore Point waiting to be picked up, “flagging” down the boat maybe necessary.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding