Water defines numerous of the marvels of Washington state. Stunning lakes stand out among the glaciated mountains and also dense green forests of the Pacific Northwest. From glacier-carved shorelines to aquamarine waters, the best lakes in Washington have actually a distinct look and also natural appeal.
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Popular activities on and around Washington"s ideal lakes encompass boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and also exploring the postcard settings. A valid Washington fishing patent is forced for every anglers period 15 and older. Using any kind of state park watercraft launch requires a fee. The Washington State Park Boating Program page has much more information about boating in state parks.
Plan your freshwater funny this summer through our list of the best lakes in Washington.
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1. Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent is one of many stunning natural functions on the Olympic Peninsula within Olympic national Park. This incredibly clear and glacially carved lake is 18 mile west of port Angeles near the Strait the Juan de Fuca shoreline. Numerous hiking trails and park infrastructure surround Lake Crescent, giving plenty because that a day trip or overnight visit.
Hiking is a popular task around the lake. One of Olympic"s best hiking trails starts near the southern shore and traverses to Marymere Falls. A strenuous 2.2-mile hike up to Mount Storm King additionally begins on the southern side that the lake, climbing more than 2,000 feet up. Both hikes start near the Storm King Ranger Station, where an ext information around the area is available.
Near the Storm King Ranger Station, the Lake Crescent Lodge provides a memorable location to continue to be at the water"s edge. This historic log cabin resort, built in 1915, provides a timeless ambience that adventure and also the outdoors. Other locations to stay close to Lake Crescent encompass the Fairholme Campground, v 87 web page available.
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2. Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan is a spectacular 50.5-mile-long lake extending into the east flank the the north Cascades. This glacier-fed body of water attractive visitors and boaters from across the state. The tourist-friendly city that Chelan sit at the lake"s southerly end. It is terrific basecamp for obtaining on the water.
The lake caters to all species of floating vessels, from wake up paddleboards to powerboats. Waterskiing and wakeboarding are regularly a go-to activity on the water. Number of watercraft and boat rental service providers surround the southern finish near Chelan. Several marinas, public watercraft launches, and day-use parks additionally line this part of the lake.
The tiny mountain town of Stehekin is top top the northern end of the lake, serving as an entrance to the North Cascades national Park Complex. No roads lead to Stehekin, and also the neighborhood is only easily accessible by boat or seaplane. The remarkable Lady the the Lake ferry offers day-to-day service throughout the lake in between May and also October.
3. Lake Wenatchee
Lake Wenatchee is top top the eastern flank the the main Cascade Mountains, 16 mile west the Leavenworth top top Highway 2. This glacier-fed lake is five miles long and backdropped by beautiful mountains. Much of the recreation in ~ Lake Wenatchee centers approximately Lake Wenatchee State Park – one of Washington"s finest parks.
Lake Wenatchee State Park has a public boat launch to accessibility the water. The lake is over 200 feet deep in part areas, and also the water is very frigid. The most usual aquatic activities include fishing and also windsurfing. Periodically the occasional Jet Ski renders an appearance. The state park provides stand up paddleboard and also kayak rentals transparent the summer.
Onshore tasks are also popular at Lake Wenatchee State Park. The watch from the state park beach, looking throughout the lake toward the huge mountains behind, is precious the visit alone. Several miles of long trails meander transparent the area, as perform groomed cross-country ski routes come winter.
The state park has nearly 200 campsites split between a North and also South Campground. Winter camping is also accessible with cook restrooms and also hot showers nearby. The U.S. Forest service operates an different campground, Glacier view Campground, farther west on the southerly shore.
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4. Lake Washington
Lake Washington sits between Seattle and Bellevue and also is the biggest lake in King County. City streets surround all sides the this roughly 15-mile-long lake. Lakefront property is a valuable asset roughly Lake Washington, however public accessibility points heat the shore. This free-to-visit parklands include a couple of of the ideal beaches in the Seattle area.
Madrona Park, Denny Blaine Park, and Madison Beach space all fun areas to suffer the shoreline on Seattle"s northside. And also Seward Park, among the largest public parks bordering the water, is ~ above the lake"s southern end. This sprawling 300-acre park features watercraft launches and also a beautiful coastline beach.
These lakeshore parks space the many popular means to reap Lake Washington. The body of water has actually a long background tied come the city"s development. An interesting spot to learn more is Chittenden Locks, likewise known together Ballard Locks. This ingenious engineering stays clear of the lake"s freshwater native mixing v the Sound"s saltwater. Interpretive information is easily accessible on-site.
5. Ross Lake & Diablo Lake
Ross Lake is a influential stop on Highway 20, far better known together the North Cascades Scenic Byway. This approximately 23-mile-long lake is the centerpiece that Ross Lake national Recreation Area. And it is part of the much larger North Cascades national Park Complex.
The aquamarine waters that this substantial reservoir easily capture the eye native the Ross Lake Overlook top top Highway 20. This scenic vantage allude is around 60 miles west of Winthrop. Nearby, equally impressive views of Diablo Lake also vie for attention. Standing over these two lakes and admiring the far-reaching mountain backgrounds is one of the most well-known ways to enjoy the environment.
Ross Lake has actually minimal entry points because that boaters. Boaters looking to accessibility the south finish of Ross Lake an initial need come launch right into Diablo Lake in ~ the Colonial Creek Campground (one that the phibìc Cascade"s finest campgrounds). Indigenous here, it"s a five-mile paddle and a mile-long portage to affix with Ross Lake.
Ross Lake resort sits ~ above the southwest shore and is only available by watercraft or long trail. The lake is also lined with boat-in camping spots whereby permits room required. A hiking trail extends along the entire east bank of Ross Lake and also connects plenty of of this overnight areas to pitch a tent.
6. Pearrygin Lake
Visiting Pearrygin Lake, in the sunny Methow Valley on the eastern side of the north Cascades, is one of many things to carry out in Winthrop, Washington. Pearrygin Lake State Park borders the north shore that this around 200-acre reservoir. The park"s campground gives several methods to enjoy the water.
A boat launch in the east Campground opens for the season ~ above the an initial Friday of April. All boats take benefit of the boat launch, including powerboats, Jet Skis, and fishing rigs. A valid watercraft launch permit is forced for everyone looking to get onto the water.
The park also accommodates various other activities, prefer swimming and shoreline fishing through a sandy beach and also 60-foot dock. Lakeside camping is also catered for, with nearly 170 campsites in proximity to the water. The state park also features 2 cabins and a vacation house available for overnight trips.
7. Mowich Lake
Mowich Lake is in the much less visited but still well-known northwest region of Mount Rainier nationwide Park. It"s available via State Highway 165, of i beg your pardon the last six miles room rough and rocky and also should be taken slowly. Make the dusty drive, though, and also enjoy the biggest lake in mountain Rainier nationwide Park.
One of mountain Rainier"s best campgrounds, Mowich Lake Campground, sits at the finish of State Highway 165 alongside the shoreline. This first-come, first-served primitive campground permits several job of experimenting the lake and mountain tasks nearby.
Mowich Lake, fed largely by snowmelt, is incredibly cold. This icy temperatures make swimming a brief task at best. However, brave souls tho take fast dips indigenous the coast hiking trail. Favor all lakes in the park, only non-motorized watercrafts are permitted on Mowich. Those v fishing licenses reap angling from the shoreline or an individual water vessels.
A few of Rainier"s best hiking trails additionally stem from the lake and also campground. The hike up to the Tolmie height Lookout starts indigenous Mowich Lake and also ends with a see of Eunice Lake backdropped by mountain Rainier. The circumnavigating Wonderland Trail additionally skirts by the lake, and other long walking destinations choose Spray Falls prolong from the campground.
8. Colchuck Lake
This inspiring backcountry lake is in ~ the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the Okanogan-Wenatchee national Forest. The lake is available from the Stuart Lake Trailhead turn off Icicle road from Leavenworth. It"s a strenuous four-mile climb to reach, v over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Still, the views along the coastline are precious the uphill effort.
Behind Colchuck Lake, Dragontail and Aasgard Peaks cut into the sky past the southerly shoreline. Here, hikers deserve to see the challenging Aasgard Pass that leads into the main point Enchantment area of the wilderness. Number of mesmerizing high alpine lakes and one of Washington"s best hiking trails lace this main section the pure mountain beauty.
Permits are compelled to camp within the charm or at Colchuck Lake. Numerous hikers do the eight-mile roundtrip to Colchuck Lake in a day. The Stuart Lake Trailhead also leads to another impressive lake, Lake Stuart, with a nine-mile roundtrip.
9. Financial institutions Lake
Banks Lake is a enormous human-made reservoir stretching from Coulee City to electric City in eastern Washington. This distinct lake is part of the much bigger Columbia container Project, which provides irrigation and energy across this region.
Banks Lake is likewise a famous recreational outlet in east Washington. The main spot for things to carry out is Steamboat absent State Park near the lake"s north shore. The park is named for a hard-to-miss absent monolith jutting 800 feet over the water. This significant plateau spans end 600 acres.
A strenuous yet popular long trail leads to the optimal of Steamboat absent for fantastic view that the water. The state park also features end 50,000 feet that freshwater shoreline. This access to financial institutions Lake includes seven watercraft launches spread across three areas.
10. Baker Lake
Baker Lake is easily accessible from the west next of the North Cascades Scenic Byway, additionally known as Highway 20. The is a well-known recreation lake in ~ the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie nationwide Forest. Number of campsites, long walking trails, and general woodland attractions surround this nine-mile-long and also skinny lake.
Within a two-hour journey from Seattle, and also even closer come Bellingham, Baker Lake is a well-known place throughout the summer. However, the enormous size and facilities in ~ the lake tend to save things quite well spread out out. The west side of the lake is the occurred side, with number of campgrounds lining the shore.
The east side of the lake is much less developed. The 14-mile Baker Lake Trail extends along this shoreline and also offers views of the organic environment. The whole of the path is renowned for backpackers looking come camp in solitude near the lake. The start of the trail is also popular for day hikes.
11. Kachess Lake
Kachess Lake, within the Okanogan-Wenatchee national Forest, is a deep-water reservoir offered to irrigate south-central Washington. Located 70 miles east of Seattle turn off Interstate 90, this tremendous body the water is likewise used because that all types of recreation.
The main suggest of accessibility is the Kachess Campground on the northwest shore. This Forest business campground attributes a surplus of lakeside campsites because that both tents and also RVs. The campground likewise features two boat launches, a picnic area, and also a beautiful sandy coast primed for swimming. These campground fixtures are open to the public and also not simply overnight guests.
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Fishing is just one of the most well-known boating activities at the lake. Anglers often actors for the numerous rainbow and cutthroat trout swim in the water, amongst many other species. Launching a kayak or canoe right into the water is additionally popular in ~ the campground.