Hiking & Recreation

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 left over 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.

Once in the Village, The Cabin offers hiking information, local trail maps, meals for hikers, 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.

Marijuana is not permitted at Holden Village.

Backpackers and Climbers

Holden welcomes all backpackers and climbers who would like to make Holden a part of their route. Below are answers to a few of our frequently asked questions about hiking and climbing around Holden.

Backpackers and climbers can register to stay in a room at Holden or utilize the nearby U.S. Forest Service campground, which is located approximately one mile by trail from Holden (space is limited).

Food and Supplies
Holden offers individual meals for a small cost to backpackers & climbers. The Holden Store has a limited supply of maps, camping gear, and candy available for sale. If you are not staying at Holden but would like to eat a meal/meals in the Village, costs are as follows:
Breakfast: $8   Lunch: $10   Dinner: $12
Please visit Registration to pay for meals (cash only) and find information about mealtimes.

What routes can I take?
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.

Where can I find more information about trails?
The Cabin, located just west of the Village, offers information on the trails in the area and can help hikers and climbers orient themselves to the Village. Groups of hikers, climbers, and those wishing to reserve a spot on the Holden bus ahead of time must fill out the form below with dates and group numbers.

I would like to ride to Holden from Lake Chelan or from Lake Chelan to Holden - can I do this if I didn't reserve a stay?
Yes! Backpackers and climbers may catch a ride on Holden’s daily transport (via school bus or van) to and from Lucerne – Holden's landing on Lake Chelan – which connects Holden with Stehekin, Chelan, and Fields Point Landing via the Lady of the Lake ferry. It is essential that you reserve a seat on the bus ahead of time in order to guarantee we have room. You can do this by filling out the form below. Transportation prices are as follows:
One-way transportation: $10   Round trip transportation: $15
After completing this form you will receive a link to pay online by credit card. If your plans change or you do not email ahead of time, please pay with cash while in the Village - however, we cannot guarantee space on transport if you do not email ahead of time.

Transportation Request Form

This form is only for backpackers, climbers, and any other visitors who are not planning to stay at Holden Village.

 1st run (leaves Lucerne approx. 12:00pm)
 2nd run (leaves Lucerne approx. 2:30pm)
 10:45am (to meet the downlake Lady Express or Lady II to Stehekin)
 1:45pm (to meet the downlake Lady II)


As of July 1st, 2018, Railroad Creek will be reopened to licensed Anglers. The 2018 season saw Railroad Creek stocked with many thousands of Lake Chelan cutthroat trout in an effort to rehabilitate Railroad Creek after the Mine Remediation and Wolverine Creek fire. Beyond Railroad Creek there are numerous lakes in the valley that have been stocked with trout, providing excellent fishing opportunities.

We recommend that fishing licenses be purchased ahead of arriving in the Village – click here to purchase a Washington State fishing license. While you may purchase licenses at the Holden Post Office, our internet is limited and often slow.

The Cabin lends out fishing rods and offers periodic fly tying and fly casting workshops. We also strongly recommend that Anglers take catch cards from the Cabin to help monitor the health of the fish populations in Railroad Creek.


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 The Cabin hosts 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 daily 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.

Hike Haus

Where'd the Hike Haus go?

In Spring of 2018, thanks to the work of many volunteers, the Hike Haus got a new home! Located just West of the Village near the footbridge, The Cabin offers hikers all of the amenities of the Hike Haus with additional space for environmental education and more!

The Cabin

The Cabin offers information on the trails in the valley, hiking basics, day and overnight pre-made meals, 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 • sandwiches • trail mix • day packs • fly and spin cast fishing rods and tackle

Overnight Hiking Supplies
Tents • sleeping bags • sleeping pads • stoves • rope & bear bags • pre-made simple meals • 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.

As mentioned above, fishing poles are available for check out in The Cabin. While you may purchase fishing licenses in the Holden Post Office, that you purchase one before your arrival in the Village as our internet is limited and often slow. Holden does not provide bait.