Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your commonly asked questions here. If you still have additional questions after looking through our website and this page, please contact us.

General Info

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. 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! Learn more about our Mission, Vision, and Values here.

Most guests are housed in comfortable lodge rooms which can accommodate between one 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, as well as two rechargeable scooters available to check out from Registration.  Learn more about accommodations here!

Part of Holden’s charm is the opportunity to unplug. Due to our remote location, you will not have cell service and Wi-Fi is not available. There are, however, two computers in the library that are connected to the internet and available for limited guest use. Put your phone on airplane mode and discover the joy of not being immediately available! Learn more about our Technology Policy here

Please see our contact page for emergency contact procedures.

Yes! We accept credit cards at the Registration Office in the Village, in the Holden Store, and for online registration deposits. 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.

Yes, Holden is a year-round retreat center. With an average snowfall of about 270 inches and a winter staff community of about 60 to 80 people, the winter season offers special opportunities for renewal. However, due to the extreme snowfall in the Railroad Creek Valley each winter, the Village may not be accessible for people with physical disabilities. Check mountain pass information and Washington State travel alerts before winter travel to Holden. Please note that there is an increased risk of avalanche danger throughout winter, which may cause Holden to cancel transportation.

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. Because the Village is located on federal land, marijuana is illegal and therefore not allowed.

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. If your service animal is a requisite for your visit to Holden Village, please contact the Registrar for more information.

Holden Village is committed to creating an inclusive community that is open and welcoming to all. In order to facilitate a welcoming community, we practice naming our pronouns and gender identities. We respect and honor the pronouns and gender identities others claim for themselves.

Sacred Space is the time each day for the community to gather and honor the holiness of this place and one another. This daily ritual takes on different forms throughout the week: evening prayer, sung Vespers, morning Matins, and more. Sacred Space includes voices and leadership from all parts of the community. All guests and staff are encouraged and expected to attend and close our day together. This is part of the meaning of commitment to a community of practice. We hope that people who are drawn to Holden will participate in Sacred Space out of care and curiosity. Check the schedule in the Dining Hall or outdoor kiosk for more detail about the daily offerings, and learn more about faith and spirituality at Holden here.

Holden Village has a rich legacy of volunteering, with thousands of volunteers over the past 60+ years. We would love for you to join the legacy! Guests often choose to contribute to community life by helping clean the Dining Hall, assisting with housekeeping, scooping ice cream, weeding flower beds, and more. Our needs are always changing and your help is always welcome. You are also welcome to apply to be a volunteer  – positions are available for two weeks up to a year and employment positions are also available. LEARN MORE

There will be a checklist on the back of your door outlining what you should do before you leave to prepare your room for the next guests. This is an act of hospitality for the person who is coming after you. Your participation welcomes the next guest and allows us to keep our prices low and accessible to more people.

Travel to Holden

Getting to Holden Village is a multistage adventure! Our remote location means we are accessible only by a scenic passenger ferry ride up Lake Chelan, or by hiking in. You are responsible for purchasing your own boat ticket.  See Getting to Holden for more information.

For questions about boat schedules and the Holden Village transportation schedule, please see the Getting to Holden page.

Holden is a great base camp for adventures in Washington’s North Cascade Mountains, whether you are exploring the Pacific Crest Trail or other trails. Holden welcomes all backpackers and climbers who would like to make Holden a part of their route. Please see more information about transportation and services offered to hikers.

Food & Diet

All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are served buffet-style in the Dining Hall, with outdoor seating available in the summer. Healthy snack food (cereal, bread for toast or PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit, etc.) is available 24 hours a day.

Holden’s food philosophy emphasizes simple and sustainable practices. Learn more about our Food Philosophy here.

We are happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions to the best of our ability. Before arriving in the Village, please email the Food Services Lead to let them know your dietary needs. Most meals offer a vegan/vegetarian alternative, and we often have gluten-free and dairy-free options. Please note that the Holden Village kitchen is NOT an allergen-free kitchen. We have certain processes in place to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination, but we cannot guarantee that cross-contamination will not take place. When you arrive, please check with kitchen staff at the silver counter to make sure your name is on the dietary restriction list.

Due to food safety laws, we cannot allow non-kitchen staff to use the Dining Hall Kitchen.

Programs, Outdoor Recreation, & Community Life

Yes! Holden is committed to providing fun, educational, and appropriate programming for children and youth. During the summer months, the children and youth program provides activities for kids ages 4-17. From September to May, there are not regularly scheduled children and youth programs; however, there are many family-friendly activities in which kids and parents can participate.

Whether you want to rest and recharge, learn and connect, or go on an adventure, your time at Holden Village is your own! Check out an art class, a teaching session, or enjoy the great outdoors. Learn more about Things to Do here!

You can sign-up for art, pottery, and naturalist classes in the Village. You do not need to sign up for most teaching faculty sessions, though some sessions involving art and movement have a limited capacity. Check the session description on the schedule and the sign-up board of the Kiosk, the central outdoor bulletin board, for more information once you arrive.

Yes! Holden Village is surrounded by miles and miles of easily accessible trails, making it a hiker’s paradise. Because you will not have internet access in the Village, consider downloading planned routes and map information to your devices before arrival. Maps can also be checked out from registration or purchased from the Holden store. Learn more about Hiking & Outdoor Recreation here.

Yes! However, you must have a Washington State Fishing License. Please obtain your fishing license before arriving, as Holden does not issue them. 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. Learn More about fishing on our Outdoor Recreation page

This depends on the fire regulations which will change over the course of the summer. Fire regulations will be posted throughout the Village.

No. For the health and safety of animals and humans alike, please do not approach or feed any wildlife. Not only does that make them more of a nuisance for the Village and for other guests, but it’s bad for the animals to eat people-food!

Health & Safety

We certainly hope you stay healthy and well throughout your visit, but Holden Village has a First Aid Station equipped to handle basic needs should they arise. Common over-the-counter medications are located next to the First Aid Station and some are available for purchase in the Holden Store. The Village is not well equipped to handle medical emergencies on site. Emergency evacuations are possible in most weather conditions, However, due to our isolated location, evacuation can take many hours or even days in winter. Helicopter evacuation, if available, is very expensive and you are responsible for the cost. If you have any questions about coming to Holden in regards to your health, please contact your doctor and/or the Village Medic before finalizing your visit.If you use medication, be sure to bring more than enough for your stay including an extra 5-10 day supply in the event of possible delays leaving the Village. Learn more about Health & Safety at Holden Village.

In the event of an emergency, pull the nearest fire alarm and trained staff will respond. Please stay at the alarm in order to direct first responders to the injured person.

Please either go to the Medic Station or alert a staff member to connect with the Village Medic. Learn more about Health & Safety at Holden Village!

 Holden strongly urges everyone who comes to the Village to take precautions against seasonal and recurring illness such as colds, flu, and any infectious disease by staying up to date with vaccines and boosters. Learn more about Health & Safety.


Holden Village is a community where your questions are valued and encouraged. Most programs led by visiting teaching faculty occur during the summer months. However, Holden also invites faculty to teach sessions for special events and retreats throughout the rest of the year.
Check out a list of the 2024 Summer Faculty.