Lake Chelan State Park

Lake Chelan is located in the central part of Washington, north of Wenatchee. I biked in the general area last year for the Chelan Century Challenge. I didn’t participate in the ride this year, but am considering doing so next year.

Dates visited: June 9 – 11
Campsite: Site 93. I had the foresight to book my spot several months in advance, securing (to me) a primo position on the west loop. There was a steep (35′) drop behind the site leading to a “social trail” parallelling the river. The river’s babbling filters out the other campers’ noises. The tradeoff is a longer hike to the bathrooms.

Best features:

  • The lakeside beach is the primary attraction. (Bonus mention: The concession shop didn’t have extortionist pricing. Their firewood is much better than the wood I bought on the way to the park)
  • Geology – it’s not basalt!. Deena provided some great “Geology 101” pointers. Chris, her spouse, has a nifty
    state geology browser. (See also: USGS)
  • The proximity to the town of Chelan. A storm blew through as we were setting up the tent. (In retrospect, if we had waited an hour, it would have been fine.) No one relished the prospect of heating up “camping food” in the rain, so we went to the “Apple Cafe” in town. (There’s also a guy selling Mexican food in a truck parked two blocks up. It’s good, but I was outvoted.) Sunday was also

Worst parts: (1) Juveniles on jet-skis. Yes, the jet skis look fun, but with miles of lake available, I don’t think they need to be hot-dogging near the swimming area.
(2) The park is also very small, with few hiking opportunities.

Hiking: * Nonexistent. There’s a short social trail along the river.
Swimming: *** The lake has a great swimming beach.
Scenery: ** It’s geologically very interesting. Chelan’s water is a lovely blue-greenish..
Campsites:** I chose wisely this time. The beach sites would be very sardined.
Noise:** The roaring river behind the site drowns out most incidental noise.

2 thoughts on “Lake Chelan State Park”

  1. Hey, next time you’re in the area, take the boat from Chelan up to Stehekin at the north end of the lake. There are Forest Service vans that’ll take you to campsites and trailheads in the back country. Hikes are fabulous (Agnes Creek Gorge). This is my favorite area in the whole state–it’s just stunning. Sounds like you guys are having lots of fun this summer.

  2. The Stehekin ferry has been an intriguing option that I’ve not had the opportunity to try. Thanks for the suggestion, Deena.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *