Your Base-Camp for Back-Country Adventures!

Looking for adventure? Want to get in touch with nature? See the untouched beauty of the Mountains? AND sleep in a real bed?
Then head to Stehekin Valley Ranch – the perfect base-camp for your next adventure into the back-country of the North Cascades!

Act Fast! Early season openings are waiting for YOU!

We are stepping out of the box this year, and opening our doors a little early. Don’t miss your chance to grab a cabin – this opportunity may not come around again!

Snow Shoveling Party!

HUGE thanks to everyone that helped us shovel snow today!!!

Trapper Cabin History

One of the most common questions we get at the Ranch is “What’s the story on that cute little cabin behind the Cookhouse?”

The short answer is that it was built by Cliff’s father, Ray Courtney. However, that answer does not even begin to scratch the surface of the rich and enchanting history of the “Trapper Cabin.” Read on for the rest of the story….

Ray Courtney grew up as the youngest of 4 children. While the older kids enjoyed smoking and listening to the radio with their father Hugh, Ray didn’t smoke, and preferred peace and quiet in the evenings to work on projects or write.

The Courtneys grew up in a self-sustaining atmosphere – if they couldn’t make it themselves, they generally did without. So Ray learned at an early age to build things and live off the land.

At age 15, he decided to build his own cabin. He set about falling trees and clearing land in the woods out behind their barn. He then started building a 12×20 foot log cabin with a cedar shake roof and a large porch where he could keep a supply of firewood.

Ray’s cabin served him well – giving him a place to retreat to when he needed space. He sculpted Cedar slats to fill all of the voids instead of using chinking, and built in a pine desk for his writing. Complete with a wood stove for warmth and a kerosene lamp for light, it had everything he needed.

In later years, the cabin started travelling – eventually ending up at its current location at Stehekin Valley Ranch.

Originally, the cabin was on the Courtney Family homestead – on the opposite side of the River from the Ranch.  Unfortunately, Curt Courtney, one of Ray’s older brothers, sold that piece of property where the cabin was located to the National Park Service. At that time the cabin was moved down lower on the homestead to a piece that Ray owned himself.  When Cliff started the Ranch, he decided to move that piece of family history as well – ensuring that it would be remembered and maintained for folks to enjoy. The cabin was taken apart log by log and re-assembled where it stands today.

Memorial Day Weekend

Looking for a new holiday destination? Head for the hills and join us for a pre-season weekend of fun!

Best Day Hikes in Stehekin: Part 3 – Going to the Top!

Our final suggestion in the Best Day Hikes series. The following describes the best of the best in the “Challenging” category. If you are all about getting the fantastic views, and don’t mind breaking a sweat to get them, then this is for you. I would put this in the “well worth it” category, but you will certainly earn your dinner (and dessert) with this one!

View from McGregor MountainMcGregor Mountain – This trail is the one for those looking to get some elevation and spectacular views of the North Cascades mountain range. There is a well built trail most of the way to the top of the 8,129′ mountain. The last mile is a relatively easy scramble, but you definitely want to exercise caution and use good judgement. The scramble route is marked with red paint, but it can be tricky to find, so if you plan to summit, do your homework before you head out. From the trailhead, it is 7 miles to the top. Those looking for a shorter hike will start getting some great views about 2 miles from the trailhead. Regardless of how far you go, this hike is well worth the effort on a clear day!

Difficult, but with Moderate options for those not wanting to summit, 14 miles RT to summit, many viewpoints

Best Day Hikes in Stehekin: Part 2 – Finding the Vistas

Installment 2 of our day hike suggestions for your stay in the Stehekin Valley (and at our Ranch of course!). The following suggestions fall into the “Moderate” category. More elevation, and more views, but still not overly strenuous.

View from Rainbow TrailRainbow Loop Trail – This trail falls into the easy to moderate category. There are 2 trailheads for this hike. You must hike a bit of the road in order to complete the “loop”, but most people simply start at the Upper trailhead, and come out at the Lower trailhead, which is conveniently located about 1/2 mile from the bakery where they can get an ice cream cone and wait for the next bus to bring them back to the Ranch. The upper end of the trail is mostly wooded – quite nice as you are hiking uphill! You will cross a bridge about halfway – this is Rainbow Creek. From here on out you will get many view points looking out across the Stehekin Valley. Looking straight down, you will see Buckner Orchard, and off to the left is Lake Chelan. As an optional extension, you can branch off onto the main Rainbow Creek Trail a mile or so and get some more great views as you go up.
Easy-Moderate 4.5 miles with viewpoints of the Stehekin Valley and Lake Chelan.

Hiking on the McGregor Mt. TrailMcGregor Mountain Lite – This trail is the one for those looking to get some elevation and spectacular views of the North Cascades mountain range. It is 7 miles of uphill trail to get to the summit (stay tuned for our next installment if you are looking to summit), but the great thing about this trail is that you don’t have to go to the top to enjoy some fabulous views. As you head up, you will pass Coon Lake about 1 mile in. This is a beautiful alpine lake. Keep going past the lake and you will come to the McGregor Trail turnoff. As you continue up, you’ll start getting some great views about another mile from the lake. The farther up you go, the more you will be able to see, but you can turn around at any time. Regardless of how far you go, this hike is well worth the effort on a clear day!
Difficult, but with Moderate options for those not wanting to summit, 14 miles RT to summit, many viewpoints

Family Fun at the Ranch!

Recently, I came across a video demonstrating a trend of today’s youth becoming addicted to technology rather than enjoying the outdoors and playing with other kids. Grandparents remember fishing adventures, exploring the woods and picking berries as some of their favorite activities. Their children remember playing with the neighborhood kids, games of baseball, building forts. What is important to the current generation of kids? Video games, movies, texting – they spend hour upon hour glued to their technology. Is this healthy? I would say introducing these kids to the outdoors and all that nature has to offer would be a huge service to them!

Enjoying a Kayak Tour on Lake ChelanStehekin Valley Ranch provides a great atmosphere for a technology-free vacation for the whole family! Don’t worry about cell phones – there is no service here. WiFi while available, is too slow to watch movies or play online games. So get outside! There are lots of fun activities to try, and natural wonders abound!

Fantastic views on a Trail RideGuided activities include kayaking (kids as young as 3 can go with a parent), horseback riding (8 years and up for the trail ride, lessons and pony rides available for younger kids), and fly fishing. There are also mountain bikes to rent, trails to hike, and a lake to swim in!

Nelsons playing cardsIf that isn’t enough to keep everyone entertained, there are a variety of games right here at the Ranch. We have ping pong, horseshoes, frisbee golf, volleyball, badminton, a playground and more. Or, if you want to stay inside we have a variety of board games, books and puzzles in our reading room.

Plus, with all your meals included, even Mom gets a vacation!

Visit our website for more details or to book your stay in paradise!