What, no road access? Cut off from the rest of Washington's highway network by craggy mountains, Stehekin is that rarest of modern American settlements: one that is unreachable by car. Visitors get here either by boat or seaplane across Lake Chelan, or by a trio of long-distance hikes through the wilderness-flecked North Cascades National Park to the north.
Such purposeful inaccessibility has worked wonders for the settlement's special beauty. Largely untouched by the foibles of 21st-century culture, Stehekin is within the boundaries of the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (part of the North Cascades National Park). It has become a byword for solitude, and a magnificent obsession for backcountry adventure enthusiasts keen to break away from the pleasure cruisers and water-skiers who ply Lake Chelan further south.