Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Near Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness does not offer reservations through Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


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. 

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