Little Bear Trail

Chelan, Washington
Little Bear Trail
Length : 2.3 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain : 250 ft.
Little Bear Trail is within the Lake Chelan State Park which is located on the south shore 15 minutes away from downtown Chelan. It's a great family hike a little over 2 miles if you complete the loop and has limited elevation gain. The trail starts next to the restrooms at the park and parallels South Lakeshore Road for a short while before going through a tunnel underneath the road. The trail then makes its way uphill, arriving at the junction of the loop. Either direction is fine, and the loop is a mix of wooded areas and more open spaces, with views of the lake along the way.

Directions

Heading away from Chelan on South Lakeshore Road, after 10 miles look for signs on the right for Lake Chelan State Park.

Parking

Parking is available at the Lake Chelan State Park, and requires a Discovery Pass or fee of $10 per car.
 

October 9, 2021 Trip Report

 
Type : hike
Length : 2.3 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain : 250 ft.
High Point : 1,350 ft.
The trailhead is in Lake Chelan State Park - drive right upon entering the park and eventually you will see a bathroom facility with some parking spots, and a sign indicating the start of the trail. I have wanted to hike this trail for awhile, but have stayed away in the summer, imagining it will be difficult to find parking (I’m not sure if that is actually the case). This fall provided the perfect opportunity for Little Bear Trail - clear skies, moderate temperatures and no crowds.
Trailhead for Little Bear Trail
Trailhead for Little Bear Trail
Cool overgrown tree on the trail
Cool overgrown tree on the trail
Tunnel underneath South Lakeshore Road
Tunnel underneath South Lakeshore Road
The trail parallels the road, with a path carved through a dense cluster of tree/brush and over a small creek before passing underneath South Lakeshore Road via a tunnel. After a little more hiking, we came to an intersection and opted to head left. The trail continued through the forest for a while, before starting to open up into a mix of trees and grass, providing our first glimpses of Lake Chelan.
Glimpses of Lake Chelan and fall color
Glimpses of Lake Chelan and fall color
Moss growing on a branch
Moss growing on a branch
There was some fall color in the trees and bushes, but not a ton. The trail was in good shape, and this lower section was flat. While the later part of the trail opened up, the first part was in the shade and would be a good place for a quick hike in the heat of the summer, especially with small children.
Nice view of Lake Chelan and Slide Ridge
Nice view of Lake Chelan and Slide Ridge
There was a tiny bit of uphill as the trail looped back West, and being a little higher up afforded more view of Lake Chelan. There were also a number of benches along the Little Bear Trail, offering places to rest to soak in the view. As we headed West, we entered back into the forest and were treated with muted fall colors.
Bench with a view
Bench with a view
Back in the forest
Back in the forest
Tall pine trees
Tall pine trees
Dried up stream crossing
Dried up stream crossing
We finished the loop, and made our way through the tunnel and back to the car.
A great hike for the family, with minimal uphill.