Campground Review: Curlew Lake State Park

Curlew Lake State Park

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Curlew Lake State Park 48.717634, -118.660828

Curlew Lake State Park is located in Ferry County in Washington State, near the small town of Republic. The park is located on the south end of beautiful Curlew Lake, a 7 mile long spring and steam fed lake. The lake was named after a bird, the long-billed Curlew, a sandpiper bird that once frequented the area. This was our first time visiting this part of Washington and it did not disappoint. Living on the west side of the mountains makes this park quite a trek to go and see but it is only a 2 and a half hour drive from Spokane. It is also close to the Canadian Border, only 30 minutes to the Danville border crossing.


Downtown Republic

Downtown Republic

If you like to travel long distances this park is for you. It took us seven hours to reach the park. It would have been 8 if we lived in Seattle. We left at 7:30 AM to start our trek across a couple of mountain passes (Stevens Pass on hwy 2 and Sherman Pass on hwy 20). You are really out in the middle of nowhere. The town of Republic offers a few things including a nice grocery store. The shops were tiny however and did not offer much. I actually bought a souvenir (we collect coffee cups of the places we travel to) at the grocery store instead of at a gift shop. I had expected a Leavenworth or Winthrop kind of town, in fact it could easily be set up that way. Maybe someday some developer will take on that task making Republic a true tourist destination. There are some nice historic things to see in the old gold rush town and it is worth going to however. There are also many recreation activities available in the surrounding area for hiking, bird watching, fossil digging, fishing, boating and more.

Things to see in the Area:


Site #25

Site #25

This is not a very large state park but it is a well maintained park with really nice large, level sites(with the exception of one gravel row of what looks to have been an overflow section). There are only 25 hook up spots at this park only 18 are full hook ups. It is not really built for big rigs however our site was huge and could have easily fit a large motorhome in it. As usual with bigger rigs pick and choose your site carefully. This campground is a wonderful park for tenters too. There are 57 tents spots most of which have water views. There is just one loop for rv’s and most of the spots have beautifully manicured grass surrounding them. The pull through spots are the best and there are only 6 of them. This park did not used to be on reservations but we are so glad they switched or the drive there would have made it out of reach for us just to hope there was a spot open. The spot we had easily made its way up our list to one of our favorite campsites. We felt like we had our own little field it was that big.


nice trail to the bathrooms

Nice trail to the bathrooms

The amenities here are pretty standard for state parks. There is a nice clean bathroom in the middle of the loop with 4 hot pay showers. I was told the showers had great water pressure. You can also purchase firewood at the host spot and ice cream for the kids. There are some nice hiking trails at the park one of which goes along the lake shore to the day use area. There is also a nice boat launch right in the park and you can anchor your boats right off some of the tent campsites. There is also a life jacket loaner station by the boat launch. This park had horseshoe pits as well with horseshoes ready to be used. As far as cell coverage goes we had none, not one bar, not ever. We have sprint service which is notoriously bad(we didn’t even get service in Republic) but we had an AT&T phone in our group as well with no service. We also did not get any tv channels. We got one radio station for maybe 5 minutes before it faded out. It was a Seattle station too so it was weird that we did not get any Spokane channels.

Kid Friendly:

Kids playing checkers at checkers log.

Kids playing checkers at checkers log.

In spite of there not being a playground at this park it is a fantastic park for kids. There is a really nice swim beach here and when you don’t feel like swimming you can just run through the sprinklers that are on in the empty site next to you (ok well it won’t always be empty but we lucked out and had no occupants in the tent spots next to us so our kids had almost a football sized field to run through with the sprinklers on). The sites are so big there was room to set up any kind of lawn game and play a real game of tackle football. Our kids loved it and this time we left the video game system at home. They spent the entire time outside soaking in the sunshine (and wildfire smoke).

Pet Friendly:

Maggie and Lola enjoying a dip in the lake.

Maggie and Lola enjoying a dip in the lake.

The dogs absolutely loved this park. The grass here is so lush and padded they immediately stretched out in it like it was a big fluffy bed. There was plenty of room in our spot to play fetch (when they were on their tie outs of course). They have to be on leashes here as they do in every state park. They are also not allowed in the swim area however there is a patch of water just outside of it you can let them wade in (again on leash).


We really enjoyed our time at Curlew Lake State Park. Unfortunately when we were there the majority of the week was filled with wildfire smoke from a fire burning 20 miles south of us. The rangers were great though and kept us well-informed. Although the fire was moving towards us we felt safe. We also had a thunderstorm scare that the rangers came around camp door to door around 9 PM giving us warning to take down our awnings and tents before the storm hit. We were lucky and it passed us with little damage. Have you been to Curlew Lake State Park? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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  • I didn’t visit Curlew Lake, but I was just in Republic and camped south of there at Swan Lake. It’s a fun area and a scenic drive from either side of the state!

    • campingourway

      The drive was really nice unfortunately it was fire ravaged. It is a really nice area. I have never heard of Swan Lake before. We will have to check it out.