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.

Wallace Falls Hike

Since I don’t work during the summers, I like spending my time exploring the hiking options around me. After doing a few hikes off the I-90 corridor, I decided to move on to the Highway 2 area. Wallace Falls seemed like a perfect choice for a day hike. I called up a co-worker and we met in Monroe.

The trail  head is easy to find. It’s within the Wallace Falls State Park. There are a lot of road signs pointing to the park.

We started on the trail head around 10:00ish, and surprisingly it wasn’t that crowded. I read that this is a really popular trail but we only passed people at the viewpoints. Of course, we were hiking mid-week which helps. We hiked all the way up to the upper falls viewpoint. It’s a pretty challenging hike at times, and we were both sweating by the time we got to the top.

After a quick snack, we hiked back down. At this point, the trail was getting more crowded and we passed by a lot more people. Overall, it is a beautiful hike. The old forests are lush and green. There are numerous views of the river and waterfalls. Next time, I’d like to try mountain biking up to Wallace Lake.

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More information

WTA Wallace Falls Hike

Wallace Falls State Park

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.

Dungeness Spit Hike

Dungeness Spit is a 5.5 mile long sand spit in the Strait of Juan de Fuca  near Sequim, Washington. It’s the longest natural sand spit in the United States. It is located within the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.

At the tip of the spit is a lighthouse that was once operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Now a group of dedicated volunteers from the New Dungeness Lighthouse Organization work as keepers of the lighthouse and the grounds.

  To get to the sand spit, you park at the Dugeness Wildlife Refuge park. You have to pay $3 for a day pass. There is a nice half mile paved trail with colorful signs down to the beach.

The hike is much easier on a low tide. The tide does not cover up the spit, but you will have more room when the tide is low. I picked a day with a low tide at -1.2. I started about an hour before the low tide. I’m typically an early morning hiker but I left later than I planned. I’m actually glad I didn’t leave earlier because there was a still a fog bank over the water when I arrived.

I started the hike with fog covering the spit. I couldn’t really see very far ahead or behind me. About a half hour later, I could see the fog disappearing and the sun shinning through. Then I looked behind me and all the sudden I could see the Olympic Mountains. By the time I reached the lighthouse, the sky was clear and the views were gorgeous.

You can rent out the house at the lighthouse for $350 a week per person. You can stay there but you have to help mow the lawn, clean the brass, and lead lighthouse tours.

The foggy start to my hike

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The fog clearing out

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The view at the top of the lighthouse overlooking the sand spit

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Leaving serenity behind

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The view of the spit from the main trail

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It was a really pretty hike. I was walked pretty quickly and got to the lighthouse within an hour and a half. With a rest and a tour at the lighthouse, the total trip was four hours.

More information

WTA – Dungeness Spit Hike

New Dungeness Lighthouse Organization

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge