Lake Wenatchee State Park is a park near and dear to my heart. Our family has been coming here for years and have a lot of memories from this park, from cramming everyone into the 1972 Plymouth Duster while the bears ransacked the dumpster, to taking a nice unexpected joy ride down the river after the motor fell off the boat shortly after launch. This park is one of our favorite parks and always will be. Located just on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, a short drive off Highway 2, this park is a beautiful park right on the shores of Lake Wenatchee where the Wenatchee River begins. This park has its own rich history as well as Lake Wenatchee was often a stop for several Indian tribes making their way to the coast to hunt, fish, and pick berries. Eventually fur traders made their way here, and then pioneers who established themselves in the nearby town of Plain (originally called Beaver Valley). The Northern Pacific and Great Northwest railroads added to the continuing development of the town and surrounding areas. Today this area is a popular vacation destination not only in the summer but in the winter as well. This park is open year round but the campgrounds are closed in the winter depending on snow conditions from Nov 1st-April 1st.
This park is in a great location. Only a 2 hour drive from Seattle it is an easy weekend getaway. Leavenworth, a Bavarian style town, is only a 30 minute drive away. You could spend hours if not days in Leavenworth alone. It is really a magical place. The town of Plain is a short distance from the park as well. There you can find some local shops, fruit stands, and quaint wineries. There are recreational opportunities galore in this area from boating, hiking, golfing, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, to snowmobiling, skiing, sledding in the winter. This area is a beautiful place to explore and a must visit park in Washington State.
Things to see in the area:
There are 155 campsites at this park, 42 with water and electric. The park is split into two sections on different sides of the Wenatchee River. The north side of the park is more suited to RV’s as well as the only side with hook ups. Most of the sites are large and well spaced. Bigger rigs can get in here but it is a little tight to maneuver around the loop. Always check out your site ahead of time to make sure you’ll fit as not all sites are created equal. This is a wooded campground and there are several large trees. Each campsite has their own fire pit and picnic table and most are fairly level and private. The sites are situated around loops around a central area where the restrooms and playground are. The hook up spots are all pull through spots. There are back up spots around the interior of the loop but are mostly suited for tents. Some of the sites in the bigger loop have peek a boo views of the lake. The South side campground is mostly suited for tents and is also home to the day use area.
This park has everything you could possibly need except for sewer hook ups. There is a dump on site however for any extended stays and multiple restrooms with pay showers. This is an older park so the restrooms could use an update but in true state park fashion are maintained and immaculate. The day use area is located in the south side of the park. There you’ll find a concession stand, amphitheatre (where I saw many Smokey the Bear movies as a kid), and the swim beach with its own beach volleyball court. The boat launch is also on that side of the park as well as Icicle Outfitters, the local company that offers horseback riding in the summer. The North side of the park has its own beach area accessible by a nicely maintained trail, one that continues on in a nice loop with pretty views of the lake. The beach on the north side is not an official swim area but it is really shallow on this side, and a nice area for kids to splash around and play. There is also a small playground at the beach as well as a restroom. The north side beach is the quieter beach as the south side gets pretty crowded in the summer. There is firewood available for purchase on both sides of the park.
This park is a kid’s dream park. There is so many things for kid’s to do. Swim, hike, biking, playgrounds, ice cream and candy at the concession stand, and rocks and drift logs to climb on. My kids never want to leave. There are playgrounds at both the south and north sides. The lake is perfect for swimming, a bit cold but fun (don’t worry you’re numb after 5 minutes! 🙂 ). The swim area has a nice shallow area to swim with a sandy bottom to walk on. We would spend all day here on the beach when I was a kid. Sometimes it gets windy at the lake which makes for tons of fun on air mattresses and floaties with the big waves. There are no lifeguards on duty so swim at your own risk.
This is another great park for pets. There are lots of hiking trails to go on and the north side beach area is a perfect place to give the dogs a little play time in the water. There were several dogs playing in the water while we were there. Keep in mind however that this park is deep in the middle of bear country. Bears have been seen here. There was a spotting the week we were there and evidence on trees along the path to the beach of bears. Keep your dogs on a leash and monitor them at all times. Be responsible campers as well by not leaving dog food outside (or any food for that matter). You can read about what you can do if you encounter a bear here.
Have you been to Lake Wenatchee State Park? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
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