For thousands of families in America in the Pacific Northwest, a summer trip to Lake Chelan is a family tradition — families keep going back to the same campsite year after year. The Lake Chelan State Park also welcomes thousands of new visitors each year, who often find themselves never wanting to leave this nature’s trove.
What Is Lake Chelan Known For?
The Lake Chelan Valley is home to the Chelon, Manson, and Stehekin communities. Other than its camping sites, it is known the world over for its juicy and delectable Chelan apples. The area is also home to over 30 wineries and is a wine lover’s paradise. If you want to go for a true Lake Chelan wine lover’s experience, we recommend planning a visit either during Red Wine & Chocolate event held in February or the Lake Chelan Crush organized during October.
Over the years, the Lake Chelan State Park has developed into a tourist hotspot, beguiling campers with its panoramic views and beautiful shopping districts. The 139-acre Lake Chelan camping park has the 50.5-mile Lake Chelan at its center. The lake stays flocked by boaters, anglers, skiers, and windsurfers around the year. Surrounded by the Cascade Mountains on the east side, the park offers some of the most scenic and popular hiking trails. While campers and hiking trails keep coming back for the thrill and beauty this park provides, the Chelan State Park offers a wide range of other activities, including fishing, sailboarding, waterskiing, bird watching, wildlife viewing, beach exploration, etc.
When Is the Best Time to Go to Lake Chelan?
The Lake Chelan area experiences arid climate and receives little rainfall throughout the year. The 100 or so glaciers that cover the Cascade Mountains drain into Lake Chelan, creating ample water storage for summers. This lack of rainfall and dry conditions make it possible for people to enjoy this state park and recreational area throughout the year. However, the summer season sees the maximum number of visitors. The cold season can be harsh and the bathrooms also close on October 31 for the winter season. If you are keen on doing a winter trail, you would be happy to know that RV and trailer reservations work through winters.
What Campsites Are There?
The 6000-feet long shoreline of the 139-acre Lake Chelan State Park is largely occupied by lakeshore forests, which create ideal grounds for camping. Campers and hikers can easily access the beach by taking the stairway that connects the campground to the beach.
The Lake Chelan State Park has 108 campsites in total, of which 18 are partial hook-up sites and 17 are full hook-up sites. Alongside this, the park also has two picnic tables, five restrooms, and a provision to buy groceries and other supplies. Some of the camping sites are right on the lake. However, these tent sites fill quickly. So, you will have to make reservations well in advance if you plan to use them.
The rates of the campsites are on the affordable side, with prices varying from $20 to $45 a night. Though camping continues throughout the year, anybody planning a camping trip to the Lake Chelan State Park in winters must know that the restrooms (which are five in total) close after October 31. Similarly, you may not be able to enjoy many of the activities that are available during the other seasons.
Things to Know Before Going to Lake Chelan
If you are planning to go for Lake Chelan camping, other than everything we have already discussed, here are a few things you must know for a memorable trip.
- Twenty-Five Mile Creek, located on the west side of the Chelan lake, is one of the most popular Lake Chelan camping sites. On your way to the campsite, you will find a small store where you can buy all the mandatory camping supplies.
- While you can plan a one-day camping trip to Lake Chelan, grill food, enjoy the beautiful scenery and come back, we recommend finding a little extra time to enjoy some of the other things the town has to offer. Visit one of the famous vineyards and indulge yourself in some wine tasting. Take the Lady of the Lake tour to truly enjoy the beauty of this state park, and visit the Chelan museum to familiarize yourself with the history of this place.
- The Lake Chelan National Recreation area was earlier a protected area with mining settlements. Today, visitors can access these areas by boat, seaplanes, and even on foot. If you are in for some adventure, hike to the beautiful Holden Village or Stehekin for a memorable trip.
Should You Go Camping to Lake Chelan?
Lake Chelan Camping is one of the most popular vacation spots. One of the reasons for this popularity is that this state park is one of the safest places to camp and hike. However, one must stay careful when interacting with nature. When camping in Lake Chelan, here are a few things you must keep in mind.
First, check the weather forecast for the dates during which you are planning your camping trip. Try and avoid bad weather conditions. Second, know that the water released from nearby dams can lead to sudden changes in flow and current and thereby, accidents and mishaps. Thus, if you decide to swim, boat, or go fishing during your camping trip, make sure to follow all signs, and stay away from Lake Chelan, Rock Island, and Rocky Reach dams. Similarly, know that river conditions in the area are dynamic and therefore if you are not an experienced boater or a skilled sailor, it’s best to hire an expert who knows the topography to go with you. The hikes are mostly safe, but it’s best to hike during the day time. Avoid stepping out of your campsites once it gets dark, especially if you don’t have a flashlight or camping lantern.
The Final Word
Lake Chelan is one of the most beautiful places to feel close to nature. Lake Chelan camping is safe and the 108 campsites serve as hosts to thousands of visitors each year. From adventurers and sailors to families and those seeking solace in the lap of nature, Lake Chelan State Park welcomes all with arms wide open. If you, your friends or family are planning to go to Lake Chelan camping, don’t think twice. Just remember to book well in advance.