Alder Lake Park is one of the four Tacoma Power Parks managed by Tacoma Power in coordination with Washington State Parks. It is located near the town of Eatonville roughly an hour and a half drive from Seattle. Alder Lake is a 7 mile reservoir formed by the Alder Dam on the Nisqually River. The dam was completed in 1945 and at the time was one of the tallest in the nation at 330 feet high. The Alder Dam provides energy to thousands of Tacoma area homes. The park is located nearby to Mt. Rainier National Park and is a popular place for all kinds of recreating including, fishing, boating, picnicking and of course camping.
This park is in a fantastic location, easy to get to from many directions. Mt. Rainier National Park is only a 30 minute drive from the park where you can make the stunningly beautiful drive to the visitor center at Paradise as well as the numerous other recreating opportunities there are in the park. This is the closest campground to Mt. Rainier we can fit into with our 35 foot trailer. There are several campgrounds in the national park but most are not that RV friendly. The park is also close to the towns of Eatonville and Elbe where you can find restaurants, gas and shopping. The bigger town of Yelm is a 30 minute drive if you need some bigger chain stores such as a Safeway to get essentials.
Things to see in the area:
- Paradise Visitor Center
- Longmire Museum
- Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Train Museum *it is best to drive to the museum as the train that takes you there only gives you 20 minutes to look around
- Elbe Historic Church
- Northwest Trek
It was hard for me to not give 5 stars for the campsites as ours was just fantastic but not all of the sites are as good as ours. This park includes 4 loops one of which is 4 miles or so down Hwy 7 away from the main park. There are 173 campsites between the 4 loops, 37 with full hookups and 74 with water/electric. We stayed in the main campground loop which is the best loop but not all spots are suited for large rvs. There is an big rv friendly loop, the osprey loop, and some sites have peek a boo water views however when the loop is full it is packed tight in there with very little privacy. The main campground loop where we stayed is an easy walk to the beautiful day use area and swim beach. Our site was huge and it felt like we had our own backyard. We had a lot of company for the 4th and our site was perfect for a large gathering and potluck. It was private as well surrounded by trees on all sites. The only complaint I had was, it was not very level. The rv pad was, but the site itself was not. Our site was easily the biggest in the park. Most sites were also nice and Tacoma Power is really great about maintaining them. They mowed the lawns of the un-occupied sites all the time. Each site had a decent sized sitting area and fire pit. This park is open year round.
This park has all the amenities you can possibly need. There are full hookups, water/electric hookups, tent camping only loops, big rv loops, and a nice group camp. The park is beautifully maintained with the exception of the bathrooms. They were really dated and needed some help, especially the showers. In addition to all the camping areas they have a very large day use area, two boat launches (one is at the rocky point campground), a 20 slip boat dock (which is really nice not having to put the boat in and out of the water every time you use it). The tent area has a nice covered dish washing station which would’ve been really nice to have back when we were tenting it. Just outside of the park there is a little mini-mart. Cell coverage is pretty terrible here. We had none, and no 3G. We also have Sprint which has pretty terrible coverage areas everywhere. I was told Verizon had 3 bars of phone, and spotty 3G.
Our kids loved this park. There is simply so much to do here we didn’t even get to do it all. It is a great place to ride bikes. There are playgrounds around the parks and at the beach area. They have horseshoes and two big field areas at the day use area for soccer and football. There are multiple hiking trails around the park, one of which takes you to the top of the dam. The swim beach is large with plenty of places to swim. The lake is huge, great for tubing and fishing. The local residents on the lake even put on a great fireworks show for the 4th.
This is another great pet friendly park. Dogs are allowed here but there is a leash rule as there is in most campgrounds. Our site was big enough however to be able to throw the ball for them while they were on their tie outs. They loved this park. There are hiking trails to take the dogs on as well. The park provides bags to pick up after your dog at each bathroom. Pets are not allowed on the swim beach however but can be on the grassy areas surrounding it and the picnic area.
We loved this Park. This is the third Tacoma Power Park we’ve been to and like the others they are well maintained. I was a bit nervous coming here afraid that the holiday weekend would bring an experience like we had last summer at Mossyrock Park. I am pleased to say the experience here was so great that we will be frequent visitors to this park. Have you been to Alder Lake Park? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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