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The Purple Creek Trail in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is now open. This trail was impacted by the Flick Creek Fire, which burned from the end of July through October 2006 and also experienced a significant number of downed trees from winter storms.
The Purple Creek Trail is a popular, but steep trail that originates in Stehekin and continues up to Boulder Butte, Lake Juanita, and Purple Pass where it intersects with the Boulder Trail, the Summit Trail and the War Creek Trail. The Purple Creek Trail offer sweeping views of Lake Chelan and the Stehekin Valley, but is one of the more strenuous trails found in the area.
Hikers should expect to see patches of burned area with pockets of unburned vegetation. In the areas affected by fire, vegetation is growing and many wildlife species have returned, making this an exciting time to explore and discover the natural cycle of change that follows a wildland fire.
Although numerous efforts have been taken to reduce hazards, all hikers should use caution and be aware of their surroundings. The potential for debris flow, surface erosion and flash flooding exists in fire affected areas and is greatest where major drainages cross the trail. Please do not linger in these areas, especially when it is raining. Wind can blow trees down across the trail. Even trees that appear healthy may have root damage and could be blown over during strong winds. Watch for rolling rocks and falling debris in areas with a steep slope above you. Park trails are maintained for your safety, and off-trail areas remain hazardous, so it is important to stay on the trail.
Camping is only allowed in designated campsites in the National Recreation Area. All overnight stays in the backcountry require a free permit, which must be obtained in person and is issued on a first come first served basis.
Two fires are burning in the area. The Tolo Fire, located 15 miles northwest of Stehekin in North Cascades National Park, is now 307 acres and has very low fire activity. The fire is quietly smoldering in an alder drainage on the north flank of Tolo Mountain. No trails or camps have been impacted by this fire. The Domke Lake Complex Fire is burning nine miles southeast of Stehekin near Lucerne and Domke Lake. This wildfire is 8066 acres and actively burning. Both fires were started by lightning strikes. Neither fire has impacted Stehekin or any trails in North Cascades National Park Service Complex.
All businesses and recreational opportunities in Stehekin are open, including the newly renovated NPS concession facilities, the Stehekin Landing Resort. With the beautiful changing fall leaves, less insects, and cool nights, fall is a fabulous time to visit Stehekin. Access to Stehekin is by ferry, floatplane, or hiking over one of the many mountain passes.
For updated trail conditions, call 360-854-7245 or visit
For current fire information, visit www.inciweb.org.