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Horseshoe Basin (Stehekin)

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan

Length

1.6 miles, one-way

Elevation

Gain: 1315 ft.
Highest Point: 4950 ft.

Rating

3.67 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
A backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers
 
 

A spectacular, waterfall-filled cirque near Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, Horseshoe Basin is just far enough away from both trailheads that access it to warrant making it an overnight trip. But you'll need to be sure to have your backpacking permits should you elect to hike here.

Please note that the mileage indicated here is for the Horseshoe Basin trail itself. It's 17 miles and 4550 feet of elevation gain to the basin from Cascade Pass.

Horseshoe Basin is accessible via either the Upper Stehekin Valley Road, or Cascade Pass. Choose your approach, and near Pelton Basin Camp, turn east onto a narrow, sometimes brushy trail.

It's a steep climb; more than 1300 miles in just over a mile and a half, but you'll be rewarded with scenery right out of a fairytale. Waterfalls cascade from glaciers that are just out of sight above the valley walls, lush greenery abounds, and views of the valley across the way, complete with staggering mountain views are stunning. 

 

Horseshoe Basin (Stehekin)

Map & Directions

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan

North Cascades National Park

Getting There

To access Horseshoe Basin from the Cascade Pass trailhead, drive Highway 20 to the little town of Marblemount. Look for a sign indicating the turn for the Cascade River Road. Turn onto this road, and drive 23 miles to the end. You will follow the Cascade River the whole way; it takes nearly an hour on Cascade River Road.

To access Horseshoe Basin from the Stehekin valley, travel to the town of Chelan and find your way to the Lady of the Lake ferry terminal. Ticket prices for the ferry vary depending on which ferry you take and what season you visit; check them at ladyofthelake.com.

Once you're in Stehekin, make arrangements to get to High Bridge. The easiest way to do this is to take a bus. There are four shuttles each day. You can also rent bikes, though keep in mind it's a 14 mile-long ride to High Bridge.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
A backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers
 

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Horseshoe Basin (Stehekin)

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