Visiting Lake Chelan, Washington|
By Mark Peters
If you’re looking for a great destination to travel to, don’t overlook beautiful Lake Chelan in North Central Washington State. Lake Chelan is a gorgeous 55-mile long lake that cuts into the beautiful North Cascade Mountains. Fishing, boating, and water sports of all sorts are plentiful on Lake Chelan as is sunbathing on the shores during the hotter summer months. If outdoor recreation is an interest of yours then Lake Chelan a great place to go.
At the lower end sit the towns of Chelan and Manson; these communities combine the aspects of a resort town with the charm of a simple small village. You’ll find few chain restaurants and motels in Chelan, meaning you’ll have to “settle” for superior cooked meals from locally owned establishments. Many condos and motels overlook the famous lake, but summer reservations better be made early. A popular tourist site for young and old alike, Chelan is surrounded by apple orchards like much of the North Central Washington region. During the harvest months fresh fruit is both plentiful and delicious thanks to roadside fruit stands that seem to appear out of nowhere. For the youngsters, there is miniature golf, bowling, a petting zoo, and a waterslide park. There is also the option of casino-like entertainment from the Casino in Manson.
The lake is divided into the upper and lower basin. The lower basin is home to most of the recreational boaters and jet skiing enthusiasts and the upper lake is mainly used as a waterway to get to some of the numerous boat-in-only or hike-in-only campgrounds that dot the shoreline. Imagine your peaceful camping trip taking place at a campground that only boaters and accomplished hikers could get to.
At the upper end of Lake Chelan sits the remote village of Stehekin. The Stehekin area itself has about 20-30 miles of roadway but none of them connect to the outside world. That’s right; the only way to make a much needed visit to Stehekin is by boat, floatplane, or hiking in on forest trails. Stehekin has one calling card operated phone and not much else for modern luxuries. There are approximately 75 year-round residents made up of retirees, forest service workers, teachers in the one-room schoolhouse, and small business owners. The most convenient way to get to Stehekin is by boat. Daily boat trips are run from Chelan, 55 miles down lake, to Stehekin and passage can be booked there at the boat company (this is also how the Stehekin residents get their groceries and other living necessities). This boat service also stops at other points on the lake like the small community of Holden Village and the occasional trailhead. Once in Stehekin you can choose to spend the night in the rustic inn or camp in any of the local camp sites. Within a short drive/hike is Rainbow falls that, though an awesome sight at any time of year, is truly majestic in the spring and early summer. There is far more to explore in this rustic little hamlet cut off from the world, enough for the outdoor enthusiast and the history lover alike.
Hiking trails head off in many many directions from the shores of Lake Chelan allowing thorough exploration of the beautiful North Central Washington area. Chelan itself boasts a number of golf courses and wineries so there is enough to keep the adults occupied as well. When the winter hits, the recreation doesn’t stop as the skiers, snowboarding, and snowmobiling take over.
Beautiful Lake Chelan in North Central Washington has no problem year in and year out entertaining many wonderful visitors. There is so many events and activities offered by, not only this town, but the entire North Central Washingon.area that it would be a shame for the entire family to miss out on such great memories.
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