Lake Chelan: Washington State’s Deep Sapphire Lake

When most people who are relatively unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest think of Washington state, the first things that come to mind are snow-covered Mount Rainer, or the majestic Cascade Range. One of the most stunning sights in all of Washington State is lesser-known Lake Chelan. Located in the shadow of the North Cascades, royal blue Lake Chelan is nearly 1,500 feet deep. The shores of Lake Chelan are lined with expansive forests and hiking trails. Lake Chelan features ample camping facilities, wineries, and even a few resorts. Lake Chelan is a slightly quieter, lesser-traveled alternative to California’s Lake Tahoe.

Washington State is notoriously rainy and gloomy. Thanks to Washington’s diverse topography, the southern end of Lake Chelan is sheltered from rain due to the rain shadow created by the Cascade Range. The leeward side of the Cascades blocks much of the soggy weather that routinely drenches the rest of Washington state. As a result of the rain shadow, the southern portion of Lake Chelan experiences almost 300 days of sunshine a year. If you love the Pacific Northwest, but can’t handle the perpetual gloom—there’s a good chance that the southern end of Lake Chelan can offer you the beauty of Washington and the sunshine you crave.

Lake Chelan State Park features miles of white sandy beaches and placid lagoons ideal for soaking in the sunshine. Sailors, windsurfers, and water-skiers love Lake Chelan’s calm waters. Anglers flock to Lake Chelan to catch several types of fish including Bull Trout, Peamouth, and Mountain Whitefish. The shores of Lake Chelan are lined with benches so that visitors can observe boats, swimmers, and wildlife such as White-Headed Woodpeckers.

Every year as temperatures begin to climb, the lakeside city of Chelan hosts a farmer’s market which features fruits, vegetables and fresh flowers grown by local farmers. Chelan is surrounded by wineries and farming communities. Many Chelan restaurants feature locally produced wines and food prepared with locally grown ingredients. Wine lovers are invited to tour the picturesque wineries that surround Lake Chelan. If you’re a wine enthusiast, sipping locally produced cabernet sauvignon while gazing at Lake Chelan’s azure waters is an experience to treasure.

The striking blue waters of Lake Chelan offer something for everyone. You can spend hours relaxing in the sunshine, exploring the waters of the lake in a rented kayak, or wandering among the towering trees of North Cascades National Park. In the colder months, you can ski, snowshoe, or frolic in the snow in the Cascades. The shores of Lake Chelan offer many surprises, including a small community called Stehekin—which is only accessible by ferry, plane, or boat. Generations of Washington state residents have returned to Lake Chelan again and again to rest and recharge. Lake Chelan’s breathtaking beauty never fails to attract lifelong Pacific Northwest residents who are surrounded by striking beauty every at turn. Locals agree that Lake Chelan’s deep blue waters are one of the most enchanted spots in all of Washington. Lake Chelan is a dazzling sapphire in Washington state’s exquisite crown.


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