The park's tangles of waterways offer access to remote areas inaccessible by road or trail; here are some of the most pristine and secluded mountain scenes on the continent. Bring your own kayak and you can launch from any boat ramp or beach; otherwise, companies in several nearby towns and Seattle suburbs offer kayak and canoe rentals, portage, and tours. The upper basin of Lake Chelan (at the park's southern end) and Ross Lake (at the top edge of the park) are two well-known kayaking expanses, but there are dozens of smaller lakes and creeks between. The Stehekin River also provides many kayaking possibilities.
Tours and Outfitters
Outward Bound. Based in the mountain-sports center of Mazama, Outward Bound stages backpacking and mountaineering expeditions for older teens and adults on peaks throughout the park, and offers a variety of special programs for youth and veterans, including canoeing and rock climbing. 226 Lost River Rd., Mazama, Washington, 98833. 866/467–7651; 866/404–1512; www.outwardbound.com or www.nwobs.org.
Ross Lake Resort. The resort rents kayaks, motor boats, canoes, and fishing equipment, and offers portage service for exploring Ross Lake. A water-taxi service is also available; the resort is not accessible by road. 503 Diablo St., Rockport, Washington, 98283. 206/386–4437; www.rosslakeresort.com.
Stehekin Valley Ranch. Kayak tours of the upper estuary of Lake Chelan are offered daily at 8:45 am. Stehekin Valley Rd., Stehekin, Washington, 98852. 509/682–4677; 800/536–0745; www.stehekinvalleyranch.com. $40.