Beautiful Lake Chelan
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Discover Lake Chelan On The Cascade Loop

Following Highway 97A, descend into the glacier-carved valley and approach the massive lake flanked by wooded hillsides and acres of rolling vineyards. One of the most stunning lakes in the world, Lake Chelan has drawn generations of families to its shores year after year. Water sports, beach-side fun, numerous vineyards and wine-tasting rooms combine to make the area an idyllic year-round getaway.

The Lake Chelan Wine Valley is Washington state’s 11th American Viticultural Area (AVA). The AVA boasts 24,040 acres located 7 miles along the easternmost and southernmost areas of the lake and the surrounding land that are at or below 2,000 feet in elevation. There are 35 wineries and tasting rooms that dot the shores of the lake, in addition to 275 acres of vineyards, that provide wine-tasting experiences year-round. Mark your calendars for special wine events, such as Spring Barrel Tasting, or the ultimate wine experience, Lake Chelan Crush in October.

Enjoy the vineyard views as you approach the lower end of the lake, home to the resort community of Chelan. Explore the historic downtown — friendly, family-owned boutiques and lodging, resort facilities, wine-tasting rooms, galleries, restaurants, small-town charm, and a well-appointed Visitor Information Center. Swimmers play in shallow waters while sail, fishing and motor boats slice through deeper water offshore. The whole family will love a day of fun in the sun at Slidewaters Waterpark. Choose from accommodations on long, sandy beaches with lakefront views, hotels in the center of town, or private cabins tucked in the hills. 

Looking to really get off the beaten path? Then a trip to Stehekin is a must. There are no roads to this tiny, uplake, mountain village. It is accessible only by boat, helicopter or hiking. The Lady of the Lake passenger ferry leaves Chelan with regularly scheduled service to Stehekin and back. While in Stehekin, ride horses, kayak, bicycle or fish. Visit the historic Buckner Orchard to see the tools and techniques early settlers used to make a living in this valley over a century ago. Cool off at Rainbow Falls, a picturesque, 312-foot waterfall. The Stehekin Valley is the southern gateway to the North Cascades National Park. Hundreds of miles of trails carry hikers into four adjoining wilderness areas. Stay overnight at the historic family-run Stehekin Valley Ranch. It’s the perfect jumping off point for all things Stehekin and the locally sourced food on-site is amazing too.

Travel 7 miles on Highway 150 to Manson. Walk to over 18 wineries and tasting rooms here including Winegirl Wines, known for its exceptional wines and super friendly attitude! The town’s waterfront park at Manson Bay has picnic facilities, a swim area and boat moorage. The Manson Apple Blossom Festival is held in May and is popular with locals and visitors alike. 

Meander along Manson’s Scenic Loop for great views of Wapato, Dry, and Roses lakes, in addition to Lake Chelan. You definitely want to spend some quality time in the cute community’s downtown core — complete with wine-tasting rooms, lodging, boutique shopping, a dog park and family-friendly dining.

State parks and Forest Service campgrounds along the entire length of Lake Chelan allow you to plan boat trips of several days with overnight stops along the way. Along the steeper south shore, the paved highway ends at Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park. Lake Chelan State Park, also on the south shore, features camping, picnicking, water sports and boat launch facilities (see permit info). Keep your eyes open for wildlife — mountain goats, bears, deer, bighorn sheep and a variety of birds. Fishing in Lake Chelan is exceptional year-round. The cool depths yield landlocked lingcod or burbot, lake trout, kokanee (which are landlocked sockeye salmon), as well as landlocked chinook salmon. Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and smallmouth bass are abundant in the warmer, clear waters near shore.

For an incredible aerial view, take a tour of the valley, and perhaps even the North Cascades by helicopter! Fly with Lake Chelan Helicopters for views you simply can’t see any other way!

Next Region: Methow Valley

Lake Chelan Area Visitor Resources

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The 50.5-mile glacial lake slices northwestward into the Cascade mountains. The first people in the area were from the Chelan tribe. The word Chelan (originally spelled Tsillan) means “deep notch,” a fitting name for the third-deepest lake in the U.S. — situated in a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon. It is the largest natural lake in Washington state. The Chelan Tribe spent the winter along the south end of the lake near the Chelan River, which drains the lake to the Columbia River. The Chelan people paddled canoes 50 miles to Stehekin at the head of the lake and then followed a trail over Cascade Pass to trade with Puget Sound tribes. Stehekin is derived from a Salish word that means “the way through.” By the 1860s, tribes were decimated by smallpox epidemics and wars that broke out after the treaties. Remaining Chelan tribal people became part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Plan Your Lake Chelan Adventure
Stehekin
Schedule an extra day or two to visit this off-the-grid community but note there is no access by car. To get there you must take the Lady of the Lake tour boat, a helicopter flight or hike in.
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Side Trip: Manson
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Winter
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Book Now!
Campbell's Resort Voted 2018 Best Resort, King 5 Evening, Best NW Escapes!
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Wine Country
Lake Chelan is the 11th AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Washington State. Tour vineyards, hit wine tasting rooms and purchase delicious wine souvenirs.
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Amazing Food
Chefs in this region are making some tremendous Pacific Northwest fare. Seriously delicious!
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Water Fun
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Scenic Rides
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Fish On!
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EV Charging Station
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Images from Lake Chelan
Bitteroot Beets
Tea and Tour
Live Music w/ O&W
Live Music w/ Jesse James & the MOB
Identifying Raptors on the Cascade Loop
It’s a bird .. it’s a plane … what exactly is that in the sky? As you travel around the Cascade Loop you will likely see a variety of wildlife, including some very large birds that live in our region. This article will help you to accurately identify some of the most common of our raptors: osprey, bald and golden eagles, red-tail hawks and turkey vultures. The time of year you travel will affect your chances of seeing some of these incredible birds. Read More >>>>
Three Delightful Wagons Straight Out of a Fairyland--Now on Whidbey Island!
A bit of European history has found its way onto Whidbey Island.  And, if the woman responsible for bringing them here has her way, you’ll soon be able to see them.  But first, Carol Kildow has the job of restoring them to their original splendor.Two belonged to the nomadic Romani people of England, while the third was commissioned by the Church of England. She discovered them in Wales and lived in one for two years as a student.“I fell in love with the lifestyle. I fell in love with the… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: The Ruddy Duck
With a cinnamon body and bright blue bill, the male Ruddy Duck is one of our most noticeable and memorable ducks. But look closer and longer and you'll notice that their mannerisms and behavior are just as fascinating. Unlike many of our migratory duck species who might only be in Okanogan County 2-3 months, the Ruddys are generally here from early April through October. Look for these small, compact diving ducks on just about any pond or small lake. Read More >>>>
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      Wenatchee Columbia River Valley
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