Thank you for consulting the Holden Village FAQ! Many common questions about Holden are answered below. Please see our Summer 2022 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) if you have questions about this summer. 

We invite you to contact us with additional questions. Please note that transportation services are always subject to change, and Holden Village is not always notified when bus and other schedules change.


FAQpagephoto.jpg1.      How do I get to Holden?
2.      How do I get to Chelan without a car?


3.      What are meal times like?
4.      What are accommodations like?
5.      What should I bring or not bring to Holden?
6.      What if I have special dietary needs?

Health & Safety

7.      How can people contact me if there is an emergency?
8.      What if I need medical attention?
9.      Are alcoholic beverages and/or marijuana allowed?
10.    Are pets allowed in the Village?
11.    Will I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to come to Holden Village?
12.    Should I travel to Holden if I am fully vaccinated, but fall into a high-risk category?
13.    What are Holden Village’s policies to keep the community safe and healthy during the pandemic? What do I need to do before I arrive?

Programs, Recreation & Community Life

14.    What type of person comes to Holden? Do I have to be Lutheran or Christian to come? Is Holden welcoming to those who have been excluded elsewhere in the church?
15.    What is expected of me when I’m there?
16.    Is there programming for children and youth?
17.    Can I come in the winter?
18.    Can I be on staff? For how long?
19.    Is there a school at Holden Village?
20.    Can I go fishing?

Connectivity & Technology 

21.    Will my cell phone work? Can I check my e-mail?
22.    Do you take credit cards?

1.    How do I get to Holden? Getting to Holden Village is part of the adventure! We are located in the Cascade Mountains of north central Washington state. There are no roads that connect Holden to the rest of the world. We are accessible only by a scenic passenger ferry ride up Lake Chelan (schedule). You can board the boat at one of two locations: the city dock in the town of Chelan, or at Field’s Point Landing further up the lake. Field’s Point, operated by Holden Village, is a U.S. Forest Service concession area with paid parking. Visitors disembark the boat at the port of Lucerne where a bus will be waiting. You arrive at the Village after an eleven mile trip up the mountain switchbacks. Lunch and room assignments will be ready when you step off the bus. See Getting to Holden for more information.

2.    How do I get to Chelan without a car? From Seattle, you can travel to Wenatchee by plane,  train, bus, or shuttle van. There is an inexpensive commuter bus that departs from Wenatchee’s Columbia bus station to Chelan. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Chelan boat dock. There are also taxis in Wenatchee which will make the 35 mile trip to Chelan, but this can be pricey. For links to all of these resources, see our Getting to Holden page.

3.    What are meal times like? All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are served buffet-style in the Dining Hall. Arrangements can be made for special diets, and healthy snack food (cereal, bread for toast or PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit, etc.) is available 24 hours a day.

4.    What are accommodations like? Most guests are housed in comfortable lodge rooms which can accommodate between two and four people. Bathrooms are down the hall. Families are typically housed in one room. A limited number of wheelchair accessible rooms are available in summer only. 

5. What should I bring or not bring to Holden?

Holden provides guests with:

  • Plenty of hand sanitizer in community spaces
  • Linens and towels
  • Laundry facilities (no coins needed) and laundry detergent. To protect our septic system, please use the laundry detergent provided by Holden Village. However, during the winter, we cannot offer facilities for guest laundry due to low power. There are drying racks available for hand-washed clothes, and if a true emergency arises, please connect with Registration or Guest Services.
  • Cloth diaper service for all families with children in diapers. Our diaper service provides cloth diapers, waterproof diaper coverings, changing pads, washcloths, and diaper pails. We encourage families to use Holden's diaper service as all disposable diapers and baby wipes must be packed out. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Community Services.
  • Camping/Hiking/Fishing Equipment - A limited selection of hiking, camping, and fishing equipment is available for check out in the Village Hike Haus.  Please see FAQ #19 for fishing license information.

Packing Suggestions:

  • Masks/face coverings
  • Summer clothing should consist of: a warm jacket (summer temperatures still dip into the 40's at night), lightweight casual clothing (summer day temperatures hover in the 70-80s, but can often be hotter), comfortable walking/hiking shoes, and light rain gear. (Please see Winter Visits to learn more about preparing to visit Holden Village during the winter months.)
  • Bathrobe - bathrooms are located at the end of each guest lodge hallway.
  • In addition to your toiletries, we suggest bringing sunscreen, bug repellent, a flashlight/headlamp, and a battery operated alarm clock.  (The Holden Store carries a limited number of toiletry items in case you forget something!)
  • Cash and Checkbook - The Holden Store and Registration can accept cash and credit card payments. Punch cards and coupons available at Registration and the Store can then be used to purchase items anywhere in the Village, such as the post office, the snack bar, and the Arts Studio.
Things to leave at home:
  • Linens
  • Hair dryers and curling irons (these items strain our hydroelectric plant)
  • Cellular/satellite phones
  • Disposable diapers (see: Cloth Diaper Service above)
  • Pets.  Due to our remote wilderness location, Holden does not allow guests to bring their pets. However, service animals–trained and certified to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability–are permitted in the Village.  READ MORE
  • Firearms: Holden does not allow firearms, including hunting rifles, in the Village or on our transportation. For hunters, please note that Holden also does not transport or store game.
  • Illegal drugs (please see FAQ #9)
  • Candles and/or incense - these are fire hazards not only to our historic buildings, but also to the surrounding forest.
  • GLASS: Due to the recent elimination of glass recycling in Chelan and the nature of Holden’s waste management system, we ask that guests bringing beverages into the Village opt for plastic or aluminum containers or take glass with you at the end of your stay to recycle downlake. Thank you for helping us minimize our negative impact on the environment!
6.    What if I have special dietary needs? Our kitchen staff are happy to assist you with any special dietary needs. Before arriving in the Village, please email the Food Services Lead to let them know your dietary needs so that they can plan to prepare appropriate quantities and types of food. Most meals offer a vegan/vegetarian alternative, and we often have gluten-free and dairy-free options. If you have specific dietary concerns, we encourage you to bring food items with you to the Village. Especially during the winter months, we can often provide a space for you to cook, along with ingredients, should your diet require very specific needs. We will do our very best to help you, but we cannot always provide alternative items for every dietary need. Emailing the Food Services Lead in advance of your stay is the best way to ensure that you are well-fed while at Holden. When you arrive in the Village, be sure to stop at the silver counter in the Dining Hall and speak with the Food Services Lead or a Head Cook to let them know you of your needs and that you have arrived.
7.    How can people contact me if there is an emergency? Please see our contact page for emergency contact procedures.
8.    What if I need medical attention? Holden maintains a basic first aid station staffed by a medic trained in advanced first aid in case a visitor is ill or injured. The Holden Store carries a few over-the-counter medications and first aid supplies. In the event that an incident requires more care than this, please know that evacuations are difficult, expensive, and can take hours to even days in winter. We suggest that those with known medical difficulties consult their physician before coming to Holden. Please bring all personal medications, including extras for any potential delays in departure. READ MORE ABOUT WELLNESS AT HOLDEN
9.    Are alcoholic beverages or marijuana allowed? Any guest over the age of 21 may bring alcoholic beverages into the Village. We request that you limit the enjoyment of these products to your living space or the porch of your lodge. Providing alcohol to persons under 21 or drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is not allowed.  Those violating this state law will be asked to leave the Village on the next transport. There are no exceptions to this policy. Because the Village is located on federal land, marijuana is also illegal, and its use will not be tolerated.

10.   Are pets allowed in the Village? Due to our remote wilderness location, Holden does not allow guests to bring their pets. However, service animals – trained and certified to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability – are permitted in the Village. You must keep your service animal under control at all times. The animals should always be on a leash, harness or other tether, unless this is not possible due to a disability or if the leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control. Owners are responsible for picking up after their service animals. If your service animal is a requisite for your visit to Holden Village, please contact the Registrar.

11. Will I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to come to Holden Village? Full vaccination is required for all staff, guests, and teaching faculty in age groups eligible to be vaccinated. Currently, this includes all guests ages 5 years old and up. Before January 30, people ages 5-11 who are not yet fully vaccinated are welcome in the Village with evidence of a negative test result. After January 30th, all people eligible for vaccination must be fully vaccinated and test negative in the 3 days prior to traveling on the boat up to the Village.

12. Should I travel to Holden if I am fully vaccinated, but fall into a high-risk category? According to CDC guidelines, even if you are fully vaccinated you should still avoid travel if you fall into one of the high-risk categories. As the health and safety of our guests will always be our number one priority, we urge you to reconsider a trip to Holden  if you fall into one of the high-risk categories found here.

13. What are Holden Village’s policies to keep the community safe and healthy during the pandemic? What do I need to do before I arrive? As you prepare for your travels and anticipate your time in the Village, we recommend you determine your comfort level in light of your family's unique health situation. Please monitor yourself for symptoms for 2 weeks before arriving at Holden Village and practice COVID-19 prevention measures, such as staying up to date on vaccination, handwashing, testing, staying home when you are sick, and complying with CDC guidelines for using masks on public transportationas you journey. All guests, staff, and faculty who are in age groups eligible to be vaccinated must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving at Holden Village. Currently, this includes everyone 5 years old and up. All guests and staff arriving at Holden Village are required to test negative for COVID-19 in the 3 days prior to traveling on the boat up to the Village (including children ages 5 and older). Learn more about our Community Health Practices & Protocols

14.    What type of person comes to Holden? Do I have to be Lutheran or Christian to come? The mission statement of Holden Village calls us to “welcome all people into the wilderness.” This means everybody! Holden Village welcomes and embraces people of all races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. We strive to overcome learned prejudices and develop relationships across difference. We actively seek liberation and transformation through education, relationship, and engagement with the Village’s core values. While Holden is rooted in the Lutheran Christian tradition, all faith traditions are celebrated and welcomed into this community. Non-Christians can feel comfortable in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and conversation. We celebrate the unity and diversity of the church, all humanity, and all creation. All are welcome!

15. What is expected of me when I’m there? There is a great deal of freedom in deciding what you want to do when you are at Holden. Some people spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the wilderness area; others stay close by to take advantage of the outstanding program and educational offerings. You might want to try your hand at one of the many arts and crafts projects or spend time alone reading. All new and returning Villagers bless this community with their presence. Everyone is invited to join together daily for worship.  Daily worship is usually 20 to 30 minutes long. Sunday worship is slightly longer so that we can gather and enjoy a Eucharist service.

16. Do you have children's and youth programs? Yes! During the summer months, the children's and youth programs provide activities for kids ages 4-17. Children's programs (age 4 through fifth grade) meet in the morning, and youth programs (sixth through twelfth grade) meet at a variety of times throughout the day.

Holden Village is shifting the scope of programming for children ages 0-3. Rather than drop-off morning programming, we will offer age-specific programming with parents or guardians present in the afternoons. Holden is committed to providing fun, educational, and appropriate programming for all children and youth. From September to May, regularly scheduled children's and youth programming is not available; however, there are many family-friendly activities in which kids and parents can participate.

17.    Can I come in the winter? Yes, Holden is a year-round retreat center. Our average winter community is about 60 to 80 people, and the winter season (December and February-April) offers special opportunities for renewal. (January is reserved for “J-Term” college students.) With our average snowfall of about 270 inches, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and other winter recreations become popular activities. During winter, the Village may not be accessible for people with physical disabilities due to the extreme snowfall in Railroad Creek Valley. While children are welcome to visit with their families, there are no children’s programs in winter. READ MORE

18.    Can I be on staff? For how long? Holden Village has a rich legacy of volunteering. Thousands of people of all ages have helped maintain this facility from our very first year to now. Yes, you can join in!  Even guests often enjoy volunteering for a few hours during their stay by helping out with dishes, cleaning the Dining Hall, housekeeping, scooping ice cream, weeding flowerbeds, and more. Our needs are always changing and your help is always welcome.  You are welcome to apply to be a volunteer - positions are available for two weeks up to a year. LEARN MORE

19.    Is there a school at Holden Village? Yes, the Holden public school is operated by the Chelan School District under state provisions for schools that are remote but necessary. It meets all state educational requirements and credits earned are transferrable. Our kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum meets the educational needs of the children of long-term staff families. If you have questions about the school, contact Staffing.

20.    Can I go fishing? Yes! However, you must have a Washington state fishing license.  Holden does not issue fishing licenses, so please obtain your fishing license before coming to the Village.  Our Hike Haus can give you advice on where to go and has some spin casting poles, fly fishing poles and reels for loan. You are welcome to bring your own fishing gear.

21.    Will my cell phone work? Can I check my e-mail?  Cell phones will not work in this remote setting (trust us on this one!). We do have email service, but this is only available to volunteers and staff who are here for three weeks or longer.  A laptop is available in the library for guests to briefly check email, flight details, etc. As satellite communication improves, Holden will continue to respond to new technology. We ask you to leave your cell or satellite phone behind and discover the joy of not being immediately available.

22.    Do you take credit cards? We accept credit cards at the Registration Office in the Village, in the Holden Store, and for online registration deposits. To pay the remainder of your registration balance when you arrive for your stay at Holden, you may use Visa, Mastercard, American Express, cash, or check. Payments for small items in the Village, such as Art Studio materials, pottery projects, Beanie's Coffee Cart, and the Snack Bar can be made using punch cards and coupons available at Registration and the Store.