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The Lake Chelan Area in Winter

Story and photos by Steve Giordano

Looking toward the town of Chelan from Lake Chelan on a wintry day
Enjoying a stop on a mountain plateau

On the eastern slope of the Washington Cascades, the outdoor winter possibilities are enchanting. There is easy cross country skiing to the scenic ridges north of 55-mile-long Lake Chelan, snowmobiling to the high country above Echo Valley and plenty of local wineries to absorb an afternoon. Yes, in the Chelan area, wine touring is winter recreation.

Mountains on both sides of fog-shrouded Lake Chealan

In the Lake Chelan area there are portions of a National Park, two National Forest Wilderness Areas, and a National Recreation Area. It's a "natural," you could say, for winter recreation. Pristine snow capped peaks rise over 7,000 feet from the lakeshore to the mountains.

Fleet at the ready at Chelan Rentals

Start of the trail from Chelan Rentals

SnoWest Magazine readers have voted the Lake Chelan Valley the number one snowmobiling location in Washington. The 200 miles of well-marked and groomed trails could have something to do with that, not to mention the fact that sunny days easily outnumber cloudy days.

Lone tree, a favorite snowmobiler stop
Picture-taking on the highest point around

In addition to snowmobiling and cross country skiing, there is downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing at the Echo Valley Ski Area. Snow permitting, Echo Valley Ski & Tubing Area is open on weekends & holidays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. throughout the ski season - Late December to Late February.

At Chelan Rentals
Mounds of fluffy snow

Echo Ridge Nordic Area
This professionally designed ski area offers 23 km (14 miles) of groomed trails and 7 km (4 miles) of ungroomed trails that follow the contours of the terrain for all ability levels.

To get there, drive north of Chelan on Manson Highway about 2 miles to Boyd Road. Turn right and follow Boyd Road approximately 7 miles to Cooper Gulch Road. Continue past the Echo Valley Ski Area about 2 miles.

Another sunny start
On the trails...



Echo Ridge is a U.S. Forest Service facility operated by the Chelan Ranger District and the Lake Chelan Nordic Club. It is a fee-use area under the Northwest Forest Pass program. Season's Passes are available at USFS Chelan Ranger Station, Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Lake Chelan Sports in downtown Chelan, and at the Rental Shop at Echo Valley.
Mountains line both sides of the fog-shrouded Lake Chelan

The season pass is $70 and daily fees are $10 (09-10 season). Seasons passes are available at the USFS Chelan Ranger Station and at Echo Valley at Uncle Tim's Chelan Rentals and Mountain Cabins. For more information, contact www.lakechelannordic.org

Echo Valley Sno-Park
Bask in the warm sun while snowmobiling the endless play areas. Stop for lunch at the warming hut and enjoy the fire pit, then head toward Grade Creek road and its spectacular views of beautiful Lake Chelan. Follow the trail past Antilon Lake, and back to the Echo Valley.

How to get there: Drive north of Chelan on the Manson Highway about 2 miles to Boyd Road. Turn right and follow Boyd Road approximately 7 miles to Cooper Gulch Road. Follow signs a short distance to the Sno Park.
Recorded Groomer Reports: 509-682-4439

Additional Web sites:
www.chelanrentals.com (509-670-8467)

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