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North Cascades National Park

Lake Juanita Trail

Lake Juanita lies in a larch-dotted basin between Purple and War Creek Passes. At over 6,600' elevation (2010 m), it is not a casual hike by any approach route, but offers days of exploring in several directions for backpackers.

From the west, Purple Creek Trail ascends steeply from Stehekin over Purple Pass. From the east, War Creek Trail climbs from Twisp River drainage over War Creek Pass. These trail systems access Lake Juanita in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Although the east side of the Cascades is generally drier than the moisture-laden west slope, snow may still linger in the high country into summer months. The Lake Juanita area is likely to have snow covering the trails into early July, making route-finding difficult. Conditions vary each year, so check in advance with a ranger station.

From Stehekin
The trail begins near the Golden West Visitor Center (1,200' or 370 m) and ascends the Purple Creek drainage for the first two miles (3 km). After crossing the creek, the trail ascends toward Hazard Creek, with steep switchbacks for a total of 7.8 miles (12.6 km) to Purple Pass (6,884' or 2098 m). It is a hot, dry trail in late season and hikers and stock parties should carry water. The reward is a magnificent view of Lake Chelan thousands of feet below and peaks beyond lining the horizon. It is about .7 miles (1.1 km) to Lake Juanita and campsites. The total distance from Stehekin is 8.5 miles (13.7 km).

From Twisp River Road
The War Creek Trail on the Twisp Ranger District of Okanogan National Forest is an easier, but longer (9.3 mile or 15 km) approach to Lake Juanita. From Twisp, take the Twisp River Road 14.7 miles (23.7 km), just beyond War Creek Campground turn left across the river. Just beyond War Creek Bridge, turn right for half a mile and find the trailhead at elevation 3,100' (940 m). The required Northwest Forest Pass for parking at the trailhead may be obtained at any ranger station. The trail is nearly flat at first, then makes a steady rise to War Creek Pass, elevation 6,800' (2070 m). The Boulder Creek Trail joins the War Creek Trail a short distance before War Creek Pass. The Boulder Creek Trail goes north at this point for a longer loop into the Stehekin Valley. Notice the fire evidence from the 1994 Boulder Creek fire. Just west of the pass the trail junctions the Chelan Summit Trail. Continuing west, the trail drops a short distance to Lake Juanita.

At The Passes
Dynamic rock peaks and spectacular views await following these hefty ascents. Afternoon lightning storms are not uncommon during the hot summer months, especially east of the Cascade Crest. Visitors should be aware of the changing sky, note the building of cumuli, and plan to be clear of summits and high, exposed ridge points during these storms.

There are both hiker and stock camps near the lake. A permit is needed to camp at either and the group limit is 12 persons, or a total of 12 pairs of eyes, stock and people. Fires are permitted in the fire grates, although the wood supply is limited and campers are encouraged to bring a stove and avoid the use of wood fires.

Boulder Butte
Hiking from Lake Juanita towards Purple Pass, you will find the .5 mile cutoff trail to Boulder Butte. Site of a former lookout tower, the Butte is a tremendous vantage point for views in all directions.

Summit Trail
The Summit Trail heads south from between War Creek Pass and Lake Juanita. The trail continues more than 30 miles (48 km) through the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness connecting Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. The first several miles offer options for day trips from Lake Juanita. Many alternatives are possible for extending the backpack and looping back to Stehekin on Fish Creek or Prince Creek Trails.

Information and permits are available from the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (360-873-4500 ext. 39), the Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin (360-857-5700 ext. 340 then 14) and the Methow Valley Visitor Center in Winthrop (509-996-4000). A permit (no charge) is required for all stays in the National Park Service Complex backcountry. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at Forest Service trailheads. Washington State hunting and fishing regulations apply. Rangers have maps and current information to assist you in planning a safe, fun trip.




For Additional Information Contact:

North Cascades National Park
2105 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-9394
(360) 856-5700


For more information visit the National Park Service website