Get off the grid by vacationing in Lucerne, a quaint spot tucked away on the remote shores of the enormous Lake Chelan in northern Washington. Venture through tall peaks of the Wenatchee Range — this rugged area attracts travelers in search of adventure. Most attractions take place in the spectacular landscape of the fjord-like lake valley, such as hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, and diving. Book a stay at one of many vacation rentals in Lucerne today. Take a look at some of the most exciting things to do in the Lucerne area.
Get a stunning view of the dramatic slopes that rise from the shores around Lucerne with a boat trip on Lake Chelan. Travel north to see the colorful cliffs of the Painted Rocks, or travel to Manly Wham Campground to float beneath Bridal Veil Falls. The nearest boat rental location is Shoreline Watercraft and Boat Rentals in Chelan; if you’re bringing your own boat, use the boat launch at Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park.
2. Fish Lake Chelan
Pack your fishing gear and reel in a rainbow trout or a Chinook salmon on Lake Chelan. Fish from the shore at the Refrigerator Campground or off of the boat landing in Lucerne. The lake is stocked with more than 800,000 fish each year, so it’s easy to bring a freshly caught dinner back to your vacation rental. If you’re hoping for locals-only secret fishing spots, look to Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service in Manson.
3. Hike Railroad Creek
Get out into the remote wilderness surrounding Lucerne with a hike up Railroad Creek. Catch the creek where it crosses National Forest Service Road 8301, and follow its banks upstream through dense groves of pine trees. The location of MGM’s 1946 film, “Courage of Lassie,” Railroad Creek offers stunning nature views and many places to stop to cool off in the creek. Sturdy shoes are crucial for the uneven terrain, so plan to stop at Lake Chelan Sports in Chelan to pick up a pair and any hiking gear that you may need.
4. Mountain Bike to Holden Village
Bring your mountain bikes on the ferry to Lucerne and take a challenging ride up Railroad Creek Valley to Holden Village. As you pedal the 10 miles along the mountain road, look for deer and eagles on the steep hillsides. The road is only traveled by the Holden shuttle and an occasional Forest Service vehicle, so you can enjoy the wilderness in complete silence. In Holden Village, refuel with snacks from Holden’s Hike Haus or the Holden Store before the return trip.
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5. Cruise Lake Chelan
Cruise the length of Lake Chelan aboard the Lady Express or the Lady of the Lake II. Enjoy panoramic views of glaciers and snow-capped peaks from inside the cozy cabin or the upper viewing deck. This view is particularly lovely in the winter, when the snowy mountains reflect in the water. In Stehekin, hop off the ferry for lunch at the rustic Lodge at Stehekin Restaurant.
6. Cross-Country Ski at the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area
Explore the hills on cross-country skis at the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area. Glide over gently rolling terrain on the beginner-friendly Nuthatch trail, or brave steep hills and exciting turns through the trees on the experts-only Outback loop. Rental gear is available at Chelan Rentals Resort or Lake Chelan Sports.
7. Go Off-Road on Snowshoes
The wild mountain peaks surrounding Lucerne offer fantastic snowshoeing in the winter, so be sure to rent snowshoes at Lake Chelan Sports on your way to Lucerne. For an easy afternoon, trek east around the point from the boat landing to Refrigerator Campground. If you want a challenge, head west from the landing and break your own path up into the pine-covered hills for beautiful views of Lake Chelan.
8. Dive Lake Chelan
Explore the incredible 1,486-foot depths of Lake Chelan’s Lucerne Basin with a scuba diving trip. Dive the location of a WWII-era school bus crash at the Monument dive site, or head to the center of the lake to go deep. The Orca Scuba Center in Wenatchee offers guided dives in Lake Chelan. If you’re brave, try the eerie nighttime dive before heading back to your vacation rental.
9. Kayak to Cascade Creek
Load your kayak or paddle board on the boat to Lucerne for a thrilling paddle trip. Launch your boat near the Lucerne landing and head straight across the lake, which is less than 2 miles wide. Since the area is only accessible by boat, you can hike or picnic in absolute solitude. If you’re not traveling with your own boat, rent a kayak from Lakerider Sports in Chelan.
10. Go Wine Tasting in the Lake Chelan Valley
The Lake Chelan Valley is known for its excellent wine. Taste locally produced reds and whites in nearby Manson. Start at Napeequa Vintners, a funky “garagiste winery,” where you can taste the Dirtyface Peak red or the Davey Outrageous ¡Chica!. Move on to Rio Vista Wines at The Cabin for a tasting in front of a roaring fire. Finish at Hard Row to Hoe, where you can tour the vineyard and enjoy a glass of the flagship Cabernet Franc. Remember to pick up a few bottles of your favorite vino to enjoy at your vacation rental.
11. Visit the Lake Chelan Historical Society
See how the communities around Lake Chelan have developed over the centuries at the Lake Chelan Historical Society museum. Situated in a 1907 bank, the museum offers an excellent collection of artifacts ranging from wagon wheels to Native American baskets. Don’t miss the historic photos of the lake in the days of horse-drawn wagons and Model T Fords.
12. Shop at the Chelan Evening Farmers Market
Taste fresh produce grown in the Lake Chelan Valley at the Chelan Evening Farmers Market. Sip a cold drink from Steelhead Cider and snack on fruit from growers such as Dietrich Cherries while you take in the music from the performer’s tent. Be sure to participate in the market’s events, such as the zucchini races and puppet shows.
13. Take a Helicopter Tour
Enjoy a breathtaking view of Lucerne, Lake Chelan, and the Wenatchee Range with a Lake Chelan Helicopters tour. Fly over vineyards and mountain mansions on the half-hour tour, or choose the one-hour option to fly up to Stehekin and pick up a treat at the legendary Stehekin Pastry Company or hike to Rainbow Falls.
14. Snowmobile with a View
Experience the frosty Lake Chelan winters at top speeds with a snowmobile rental from Uncle Tim’s Toys. This friendly shop sits right on a groomed snowmobile trail network, so you can head out immediately. Hop on the ridge trail for unparalleled views of the lake and Lucerne across the way, or transport your snowmobile to Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park to ride the western peaks.
15. Ski Echo Valley
Board the morning ferry to Chelan for a day trip of skiing at Echo Valley. Small and community-oriented, Echo Valley is one of the top local family attractions. A special kids-only area creates a safe spot for learning, and friendly instructors can provide individual or group lessons. Get started with an easy trip through the trees on Ridge Run, or head to Ptarmigan for incredible views and steep drops.
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