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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.