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.

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

Whislter, BC

When I was in middle school (about 15 years ago), my parents and I went up to Whistler, BC for a weekend. They bought a timeshare, and neither of us have returned since.

Initially, my husband and I originally planned on bringing our mountain bikes up. But as I was doing research about mountain biking in the area, I got a little intimidated by the Whistler Bike Park. It looked pretty technical, and way above my skill level. As soon as we drove into town, I knew that not bringing the bikes was a mistake. There are miles (or should I say kilometers) of paved and gravel biking trails. Everyone there was biking! I was constantly reminded that I left my bikes at home. So if you’re not an aggressive downhill rider, here is some information about biking trails in the area. There are a lot of paved trails for road bikes too. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!!

Whistler valley trail

Lost Lake trails

In the summer if you buy your gondola pass 5 days in advance, you get a second day for free.  Luckily we saw that deal exactly five days before our trip.  We spent two days up on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. First we rode up to the top of Whistler Mountain. Then we rode the chairlift up to the peak.

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We then rode of the peak to peak gondola. That was a really cool ride!!

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At Blackcomb, we rode the chairlift down to the upper village.

Since we didn’t have our bikes, our weekend activities included shopping, strolling through the village, and watching the hawks game at a sports bar.

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We were in town for two of the summer concerts. We went to one of the concerts. The band was really fun and I really enjoyed it.

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Whistler is such an awesome place to visit year round. This is a place I’d like to visit every couple of years. Maybe next time I’ll come up during winter and go skiing (another thing that I haven’t done since middle school).

Neahkahnie Mountain Hike

About a week before my trip to Seaside, a friend posted a picture of her on top of this mountain on Instagram. So I decided that I needed to hike it on my trip. I’m so used to looking up hiking information in Washington. We have an organization called Washington Trails Association that publishes an awesome website with lots of great hiking information. There doesn’t appear to be an Oregon version of that website. I had to look in like three different places to find the information I needed.

The trail guides all say that the hike is 5.1 miles as a loop. I opted to just hike up to the look out and back, which was about three miles total. There are a few different lookouts on the mountain, I chose to hike up to the South Peak.  From Seaside, we drove south on highway 101. The trail head isn’t hard to find, but you have to be looking for it. There is only a small hiker sign pointing to the road you take. The road is on the left hand side (if you are driving south on 101), and it is between mileposts 41 and 42, not quite 2 miles north of Manzinita. Just drive up the road for a little bit until you see the trail head.

Next, start climbing up the mountain. At one point, we came to an four way intersection and we continued strait which took us to the south viewpoint. There is a short scramble up to the top but later we found a better trail to get up there. Either way, I’d suggest to climb to the top of the rocks to get a better viewpoint.

The view is pretty spectacular, especially on a clear day.

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After that, we just hiked down and drove home.

More information:

Portland Hikers Field Guide

Oregonhiking.com

Summitpost.org – South peak information