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.
- Key access points: Trail and trailhead information
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||Current conditions information|
|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|
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 Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.
- Bridge Creek Trailhead – Access to Pacific Crest Trail south to Copper Pass Trail #426.
- Cedar Creek Trailhead- Access to Cedar Creek Trail #476.
- East Fork Buttermilk Trailhead - Access to East Fork Buttermilk Trail #420.
- Gilbert Trailhead - Access to Copper Pass Trail #426, North Creek Trail #413, Twisp Pass Trail #432, and Twisp River Trail #440.
- Reynolds Creek Trailhead - Access to Reynolds Creek Trail #402
- Scatter Creek Trailhead - Access to Scatter Creek Trail #427.
- Slate Creek Trailhead-Access to Slate Lake Trail #414, Twisp River Trail #440.
- South Creek Trailhead - Access to South Creek Trail #401, Twisp River Trail #440.
- South Navarre Campground - Access to Summit Wilderness Trail #1259.1, 1259.2.
- Twisp River Horse Camp Trailhead - Access to Twisp River Trail #440.
- Libby Lake Trailhead - Access to Libby Creek Trail #415.
- Moore Point Campground - Lakeshore Trail #1247, Fish Creek Trail #1248.
- Oval/Eagle Trailhead- Eagle Creek Trail #410Oval Creek Trail #410A, Oval Lakes Trail #410B and Eagle Pass Trail.
- Prince Creek Campground - Access to Lakeshore Trail #1247, Prince Creek Wilderness Trail #1255.
- War Creek Trailhead- Access to War Creek Trail #408 .
- West Fork Buttermilk Trailhead - Access to West Fork Buttermilk Trail #411.
- Williams Trailhead- Access to Williams Creek Trail #407.
- Wolf Creek Trailhead- Access to Wolf Creek trail #527.
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.
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.