Sequestered along the shores of Lake Chelan surrounded by the formidable peaks and crags of the North Cascades lies a valley of impressive beauty and simplicity. Stehekin is a valley and a village set apart from the pace and “progress” of modernity. Inaccessible except by boat, plane or trail this small enclave of gardens, artists, and naturalists at the northern end of Lake Chelan is the perfect late summer running destination.
Thursday, Day 1: Meet in Burlington WA, Run into Stehekin
We meet runners at 8 am at Bob’s Burgers and Brews in Burlington WA. We divide our group in half and shuttle runners to trailheads at Cascade Pass and Rainy Pass respectively.
Cascade Pass: At the terminus of the Cascade River Road is remote trailhead leading to some of the most expansive and inspiring views of the North Cascades. A 4 mile climb of 2,000′. crests with epic views before dropping into the upper headwaters of the Stehekin River. From the pass the trail parallels the river for another 22 miles to the High Bridge Camp where runners meet a shuttle leading to the Stehekin Valley Ranch.
Rainy Pass: At Rainy Pass, the east-west divide of the Cascades, the Pacific Crest Trail serves as the most direct portal to Stehekin. Given the late season nature of this trip we are always meeting through hikers who are within days of finishing their epic journey. The trail follows the Bridge Creek drainage for 17 miles before connecting with the Stehekin Valley Road at the High Bridge Camp, here a shuttle takes in to the Stehekin Valley Ranch. Longer alternatives to this direct route include an additional 10 mile lollipop loop over Heather and Maple Pass or PCT variations that include McCalester Pass (19 miles) or a route between Bowan Mountain and Rainbow Lake (25 miles).
Friday/Saturday Day 2/3: Experience and Explore Stehekin
Once in the valley there are many options for trail running and peak bagging. One also has the option spending all or part of a day lakeside lounging, making the stop at the world famous Stehekin bakery, and exploring the many historical sites in the valley. We intentionally added a day to this trip to give runners the option to experience both the running and leisure elements of exploring the valley.
Sunday, Day 4: Run to Cascade or Rainy Pass. Shuttle Back to Burlington WA
After a last hearty breakfast we catch the 8am shuttle back to High Bridge Camp. Here our group re-divides for the second half of the “horseshoe” run out to Cascade or Rainy Pass. An Aspire shuttle will bring runners back to Burlington, WA. Generally arriving between 5-7pm.
Running to Stehekin means hot showers, home cooked meals, and sleeping in comfortable beds. For this trip Aspire has partnered with the Stehekin Valley Ranch for food and lodging. The Ranch offers home cooked meals and both furnished cabins and rustic tent cabins.
Tent Cabins are built with wood frame walls, have canvas roofs and screened in windows. They are furnished with queen, double, and twin beds (configurations vary by cabin), small dressers and night stands, and kerosene and battery operated lanterns. All cabins are within 250' of the main Ranch Building, which houses the common bathrooms and showers.
Ranch Cabins are fully enclosed sleeping cabins with their own private bathroom with shower. These cabins also have electric lights, and limited outlets. Furnished with queen and twin beds, a futon or daybed, armoire, and a table with chairs.
9:00am. Course check in. Burlington WA
Meet in the parking lot of Bob’s Burgers and Brews
Address: 9440 Old Hwy 99 N, Bow, WA 98232
Look for the green Suburban with “Aspire Adventure Running” decals
9:30. Depart for Cascade Pass and Bridge Creek Trailheads.
12:30. Approximate trailhead arrival time.
Run to High Bridge Camp
5:20: Shuttle to Stehekin Valley Ranch
5:30: Stehekin Valley Ranch Check In
7:00-? Chill Time
8:00am. Shuttle to High Bridge
8:30am. Shuttle to Bakery and Lake.
2:15pm. Shuttle to High Bridge, Return shuttle to Ranch
5:20pm. Shuttle, High Bridge to Ranch
7:00-? Chill Time
8:00am. Shuttle to High Bridge
Run back to the Aspire shuttle vehicles. Bridge Creek or Cascade Pass.
1:00-3:00. Arrival at Aspire vehicles.
5:00pm. Arrival Burlington. Dinner at Bob’s Burgers and Brews.
Running Gear: Each runner is responsible for their own running kit including snacks and clothing appropriate for the possibility of rain and/or snow and/or daytime temperatures in the mid 70’s.
Ranch Gear: Comfortable evening and sleepwear, personal toiletries and accessories can either be packed into the valley or they can be mailed in advance to Stehekin Valley Ranch. Address: P.O. Box 36 Stehekin, WA 98852
Every year we have at least one runner who due to injury, illness, or personal/familial circumstances can not participate in their registered trip. While registrations can be transferred, Aspire does not issue refunds. See our FAQ’s. We strongly encourage each runner to purchase 3rd party trip insurance that will reimburse the cost of registration in the event that you are unable to participate in the event.
Aspire courses are non-competitive runs that embrace the challenge and adventure of traveling in wild and scenic terrain. Each event operates in accordance with its respective wilderness land use designation and authorization. Course fees include: transportation, the safety net of a trail guide, and a post run celebratory meal. Check out our website for more information: www.AspireAdventureRunning.com
Local time: 2:44 AM