Hiking & Recreation

Backpackers, Climbers, and Thru-Hikers

Holden welcomes all backpackers and climbers who would like to make Holden a part of their route.

Backpackers, hikers, and climbers who are not registered guests are not allowed to enter any buildings in the Village. Masks are required on our transport and when interacting with Villagers. 


If you would like to inquire about transportation to and from the Village for recreation this winter/spring, please email registrar@holdenvillage.org. We are unable to provide transport to hikers who show up in Lucerne or the Village without a reservation. 


Backpackers, hikers, and climbers may utilize the nearby U.S. Forest Service campground, which is located approximately one mile by trail from Holden (space is limited). Hikers may book a guest room by pre-registering before they arrive. At this point, they become registered guests and may enter our buildings.


Popular routes into Holden include passing over Spider Gap from the Phelps Creek Trailhead, over Cloudy Pass from the Pacific Crest Trail/Darrington/Stehekin areas, or over Hilgard Pass from Stehekin. There are dozens of other hiking destinations in the valley that are readily accessible from Holden.

Marijuana is not permitted at Holden Village.

Hiking & Recreation

Located in Railroad Creek Valley within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Holden Village sits just one mile by trail outside of the Glacier Peak Wilderness in North Central Washington. Our unique setting gives visitors access to hundreds of miles of trails and wilderness right on our doorstep. All the trails surrounding Holden are open, and most are in great condition. A few trails contain hazards and damage leftover by the 2015 Wolverine Creek Fire, making them difficult and hazardous to navigate.  Please refer to the Forest Service’s information on trail conditions when planning trips.

Holden Village offers hiking information, local trail maps, sandwiches and snacks, and a limited selection of hiking gear (by no means a gear outfitter) to help guests and staff make the most of the trails. The Village Naturalist is also a resource for visitors, offering daily sessions exploring the natural history of the area.

For information on hiking and recreation around Holden Village: USFS Trail Conditions
For information regarding transportation, lodging, or meals: registrar@holdenvillage.org.

Gear Check Out

Holden Village offers information on the trails in the valley, hiking basics, and limited hiking gear for guests and staff. We are not a gear outfitter (and cannot guarantee a sufficient stock of gear for all guests), but we do provide the basics, including:

Day Hike Supplies
Water bottles & filters • day packs • trekking poles • fly and spin cast fishing rods and tackle

Ingredients for making sandwiches and trail mix will be available in the Dining Hall every morning from 6am to 7am. 

Overnight Hiking Supplies
Tents • sleeping bags • sleeping pads • stoves • rope & bear bags • cookware • fire starters

Essential items (pre-packaged food, water bottles, simple tools, fire starters, headlamps, space blankets, clothing, basic first aid supplies, sunscreen, area maps, bug spray, regional field guides etc.) can also be purchased in the Holden Store.


In order to fish in the beautiful streams, rivers, and lakes near Holden Village, you must have a Washington state fishing license. While you may purchase fishing licenses in the Holden Post Office, we suggest that you purchase one before your arrival in the Village as our internet is limited and often slow. Holden does not provide bait. The Village Naturalist can give you advice on where to go and Holden Village has some spin casting poles, fly fishing poles and reels for loan. You are welcome to bring your own fishing gear.


Hunters, please note that Holden does not allow firearms, including hunting rifles, on Holden transportation to or from Lucerne, nor are they permitted in the Village. Holden does not transport or store game. For more information, contact our Registrar.

Skiing & Winter Recreation

Holden is an excellent location for winter recreation. Holden often offers cross country skiing lessons and short guided hikes via snowshoe throughout the winter. We have a collection of cross country skis, boots, & poles, several sets of used backcountry skis, and many pairs of snowshoes that are available for use.

Winter recreation at Holden comes with many potential hazards. Avalanches run out frequently around the village and along popular recreational routes throughout the winter and spring. The Northwest Avalanche Center provides daily avalanche forecasts through most of the winter. Holden’s weather is also updated daily. Mountain weather may change quickly and unexpectedly. Come expecting the best, but be prepared for the worst.

Environmental Learning at Holden

Holden also offers numerous opportunities to learn about of the North Cascades ecosystem and the nature of Railroad Creek Valley. The Holden Library contains numerous books concerning environmental topics and a collection of field guides and information on the natural history of the North Cascades and the valley.

In the summer season, Teaching Staff from numerous professional backgrounds offer sessions on a variety of environmental topics. The Village Naturalist leads sessions on environmental topics throughout the summer and is available as a resource for guests, groups, and staff throughout the year. Feel free to contact the Village Naturalist with questions or ideas at naturalist@holdenvillage.org.