From Wenatchee, US-97A runs north along the west bank of the Columbia River to beautiful Lake Chelan, at the southern edge of the North Cascades National Park. Edged by wilderness and surrounded by tall mountain peaks, fjord-like Lake Chelan offers a quick and comfortable escape from the modern world, thanks to a pair of Lady of the Lake tour boats (509/682-4584, daily May-Oct. shorter hours Nov.-Apr., $36-61 round-trip), which cross the waters to the peaceful hamlet of Stehekin, on the lake’s road-free northern shore. One Lady is faster than the other, so check the schedules.
From Stehekin, where there is a national park visitors center (509/699-2080), you can hike deep into the volcanic wilds of the North Cascades, ride bikes along old mining trails, fish or swim in the glacial lake, and stay the night at the 28-unit North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin (509/682-4494, $145 and up), one of a handful of tourist facilities in this delightfully isolated neck of the woods.
If you don’t have much time but still want to savor the Lake Chelan experience, head to Campbell’s Resort (509/682-2561), which has nice rooms and a great restaurant on the easier-to-reach south shore.