Photo | Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce

The fall season is the perfect time of year for exploring the hiking trails in and around Lake Chelan. The larch and aspen trees glow in beautiful gold, orange and red colors against a background of dark green conifers, wispy clouds, and bright blue skies. What makes hiking in Lake Chelan extra special is the guaranteed lake views from so many vantage points along the way. We’ve handpicked some of our favorite trails for hikers of all age levels.

Elephant’s Head

A popular hike for locals and visitors alike, the Elephant Head trailhead is a short 5 minute drive from downtown Chelan. This 2 mile hike up one side of the Chelan Butte is gorgeous all year round and is extra special at sunrise and sunset.

The first half of the hike can get steep, but the 360 degree views of Lake Chelan, the Columbia River, and the Central Cascade Mountains you will find at the top are worth the effort.

Photo | Lake Chelan Trails Alliance

Photo | Lake Chelan Trails Alliance

4th of July Mountain

Take a short thirty-minute drive from downtown Chelan to find this trailhead beginning at Antilon Lake in Manson.

Considered one of the best day hikes in the lower Lake Chelan Basin, this hike provides top notch views. About 2.5 miles round trip and a 1200 foot elevation gain, this hike provides a great little workout for all who tackle it. Make sure you wear good shoes as the last portion of the hike is off-trail.

Chelan River (Reach 1 Trail)

This 3 mile roundtrip walk is a great option for families and individuals who want a beginner level trail. This scenic path overlooks the Chelan Dam and the Chelan River and is a wonderful option to get a quick hike in without leaving the City of Chelan. The first section of the trail, beginning at the Riverwalk Park Boat Launch, is paved and accessible to everyone.

The lower section of the trail, a little over a mile long, is gravel and winds through the natural riverbanks. Informational signs depict history of the Lake Chelan area including wildlife, geology, hydropower and American Indian Tribes that inhabited the valley. This trail is also a great snowshoe experience in the winter.

Photo | Lake Chelan Real Estate

Photo |

Pot Peak

Not for the faint of heart, this 9.5 mile hike is a real workout but the Lake Chelan views found at the summit are definitely worth it. A 30 minute drive from downtown Chelan, the trail begins at Slide Ridge Road and ends at Devil’s Backbone trail.

Although popular with mountain bikers, the trail is often overlooked as a hiking option, which means you’re likely to enjoy the trail due to less foot traffic. Make sure to bring some water and good hiking shoes!

Find more information on hiking trails in the Lake Chelan area here. Happy hiking!