Almost Alone at Lake Wenatchee

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This past weekend, we drove across the crest to see some Cascadian beauty.

Just a few miles off Highway 2 east of Stevens Pass, you get out of your car and while standing in the parking lot, you see this.

Lake Wenatchee from the State Park Beach

Of course in the summertime, this scene looks very different. Think bathing suits and pedal boats. And lots of shiny, happy people playing in the sunshine.

Lake Wenatchee is a glacier-fed mountain lake nestled on the east slope of Washington’s Cascades, 23 miles north of Leavenworth on Hwy 207. Despite its proximity to Leavenworth, many vacationers drive on by because they don’t know it’s here. If you’ve not yet experienced Lake Wenatchee, put it on your list the next time to you cross over Steven’s Pass; it’s a short detour that packs some great scenery.

The lake’s eastern corner comprises Lake Wenatchee State Park and campground. Summer draws crowds of recreationists, and in winter months, when there is plenty of snow, the sledding opportunities and nordic trails here are some of the best.

This past December, the Lake Wenatchee region suffered a devastating ice storm that brought down countless branches and wiped out power for days. Several volunteer work parties have taken place to begin clearing out the fallen debris, and many more are to come. Stay tuned to Lake Wenatchee Info for opportunities to volunteer.

Here is a photo of a forested shoreline at Lake Wenatchee State Park, where you can see the ground is littered with branches.

storm damage lake wenatchee


We’ll write more about the area in our North Cascades Trip Guide, including our comfortable stay at the friendly Beaver Valley Lodge in Plain.

Lauren Braden’s new book, 52 Ways to Nature, Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year, is now available for pre-order
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2 Responses

  1. I have been one of those who drive right past the turnoff; I’ve never been to the lake. I do think I’d like to get up there this summer, but the thought of crowds turns me off. Still, it’s one little corner I haven’t explored yet!

  2. Jennifer if you all want to camp there try Nason Creek Campground, a forest service campground in the same vicinity (it’s a short walk to the lakeshore beach) where you’ll have more privacy (and availability) than you would camping at Lake Wenatchee State Park in summer. The sites are all first-come, first-served.

    Also, I’d say ‘crowds’ for Lake Wenatchee is all to scale. This is a small, quiant community. Even at its height of summer sun, this isn’t anything like Lake Chelan.

    And the main town nearby called Plain, just a postage stamp sized-town, has an affordable inn with lots of rooms ( and a great cafe and little hardware store.

    OH and since I know you love to hike, here is a great hike with kids there – Hidden Lake

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