Lake Chelan State Park

Most of Washington’s state parks are pretty great. The parks are located in some of the most beautiful areas in Washington. If I were to rate the parks on a scale of 1-10, Lake Chelan would most definitely be a 10. You can get a campsite on a gorgeous lake, and park your boat on a nearby dock. What else can you ask for?

Okay, okay. Maybe it would have been nice to be closer to a bathroom (it was a 5 minute walk from my site), and my husband said that the men’s bathroom was gross. Also, it’s extremely popular, which means it’s very crowded. But man, Lake Chelan is really amazing, and those lakefront campsites are calling me to return.

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The campsite

The stairs from the road to the campsite – The view of the lake from the campsite

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The campsite

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Enjoying the lake at Don Morse Park in Chelen. It was 90 degrees and sunny. Does it get any better?

More information

Lake Chelan State Park – reservations are highly recommended in the summer

Exploring northern Lake Chelan

Ever since my first visit to Stehekin (the town on the north end of Lake Chelan), I’ve been wanting to explore the remote campsites along the lake. Luckily, I have family members who own boats, and said family members sometimes take us out on their boats.

Back in May, we took a quick weekend trip over to Chelan. One day, we explored the entire lake by boat. We launched the boat in the town of Chelan, and we drove it all the way up to Stehekin.

Along the way, we stopped at a few of the remote campgrounds. There were not any campers yet, so we had the places to ourselves.

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Safety Harbor campground

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Prince Creek campground

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The final stop for the day was Stehekin. We had a delicious lunch at the lodge. Unfortunately, the Stehekin Pastry Company was still closed for the season.

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Lake Chelan is probably my favorite lake in the state. I love how beautiful it gets as you travel north. I’d like to camp at one of the many northern campgrounds sometime.  Below is a list of the campgrounds in the national park.

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For more information on camping at Lake Chelan, go to the national park service website here.

Fort Stevens State Park

While staying in Seaside for a week, we visited Fort Stevens State Park. When I was little, I used to camp there every other summer. It’s probably been at least 15 years since I last went, and I couldn’t really remember what it was like.

We first drove to the beach to check out Peter Iredale, the shipwreck. It ran ashore in 1906 during a storm.

It was a sunny but windy day on the beach. It was crowded, and perfect for people watching. I enjoyed watching the kite surfers for a while.

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Next, we drove over to the museum. We looked through the main building for a while, and then we walked around the old bunkers. This fort was built during the Civil War and was used during World War II to defend the Columbia River.

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That ended our tour of Fort Stevens State Park. I’d love to go back and camp. There were a ton of bike trails that I’d like to ride.

More information:

Friends of Old Fort Stevens

Oregon State Parks – Fort Stevens

Alta Lake State Park

Back in June, we took a camping trip to Alta Lake State Park.  This was my first time at Alta Lake, and what a little gem it is. It’s in a great location (about 30 minutes from Chelan), and it’s really pretty. The campground was also really nice. There were a lot of trees which provided a lot of shade throughout the day.  We were a little too close to our neighbors for my comfort, but that’s typical for summer camping. On the lake, there is a good swimming spot with a snack shack.This is a great weekend destination. There isn’t a lot to do in the vicinity except for swim or golf. But I enjoyed it for a few days. This campground even had WiFi.

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Since camping here a month ago, a huge wildfire destroyed the nearby town of Pateros and much of Alta Lake State Park. My thoughts are with those that lost their homes, and I hope that they will get help quickly.  I check everyday for updates about the fire, and it heartbreaking to read that it is still going strong. Thank you to all the firefighters that are out battling the fire everyday.

How to help wildfire victims:

See a full  list on the Wentachee World website

A few of the ways to donate (taken from the Wentachee World website)

Red Cross

pter posted on their facebook today: “Right now, we do not need any donations of items so please do not bring things by the shelters or chapter office.” The organization said it will put out a notice if it needs a specific item donation.

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit redcross.org/ewa for information on how to get involved.

For help or for more information, call the Red Cross at 663-3907.

Chelan PUD

Chelan PUD offices are now accepting donations of money or gift cards to the Red Cross at their Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Chelan locations. They will also collect donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Chelan Riverwalk Park. For more information, call 663-8121 or (888) 663-8121.

  • Wenatchee: 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.,
  • Chelan: 1034 E. Woodin Ave.
  • Leavenworth:  222 Chumstick Hwy.

North Cascades Bank

North Cascades Bank has set up a fire relief fund at all of its branches. Anyone can donate. For more information, call your local branch — Wenatchee, 888-6000.

Stehekin, Washington

Stehekin is a remote community on the top of Lake Chelan. It is only accessible by boat, plane, or by hiking over Cascade Pass. There are 22 miles of roads around Stehekin, but there is no road that leads to the area. Most of the visitors get to the town by taking the Lady of the Lake ferry-boat. It’s about a 3 hour journey from the town of Chelan. One weekend, we took the boat up to Moore Point, and we hiked 7 miles into Stehekin.

Upon arriving into Stehekin, we stopped at the Golden West Visitor Center to get a camping site. The campsites are free, but you have to get a permit. The Golden West Visitor Center is located in a former hotel, and it was a really pretty  building.

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We camped at the Purple Point Campground. There are 6 sites, with a flush toilet nearby. There’s really nothing special about it, but it is really close to the landing and the main part of town.

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After getting our campsite all set-up, we ate dinner at the Stehekin Lodge restaurant (We really know how to rough it). The next morning, we rented bikes and road up the road into the Stehekin Valley.  We rode all the way up the hill to the Harlequin Campground. It’s four miles up the road, and it’s located on the Stehekin River.

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On the way back from the campground, we stopped at a few of the tourist destinations. This was the beautiful Bucknar Orchard.

 

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The next stop was the Rainbow Falls. The mist off of these falls was so powerful, that I could barely get a picture without getting my camera wet. The mist was also very cold.

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The last stop on our bike ride was the Stehekin Pastery Company for some yummy baked treats and coffee. This is two miles up from the landing, and definitely worth a stop.

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I really enjoyed my quick visit to Stehekin. It’s a really unique town in Washington. I’d definitely recommend that a visitor stay overnight. You can see so much more than if you just stopped for a few hours and got back on the ferry. The park services has a shuttle during the summer that will take you all the way up the valley. That will make it easier to get around to all the sites.

More information:

NPS – Stehekin Information 

NPS –  Stehekin Valley Map