The Best Lakes in Washington State (half are in NCW!)
So how exactly do you come up with a list of BEST lakes in the State of Washington?
If you asked me - NOTHING beats Lake Chelan.
Second place? The incredible Colchuck Lake, not far from Leavenworth, in the Enchantments.
A website called Planetware.com gave their “Top 11 Lakes in Washington State” About half are right here in North Central Washington (Editor’s note: 5 of 11 of the lakes are in North Central Washington, but close enough).
Let's get to the list, counting backwards 11 to 1, Ryan Seacrest style:
- Kachess Lake
You know the lake you see along I-90, not far from Snoqualmie Pass. I’ve always wanted to grab a boat and float along, looking at all the awesome mountain ridgelines.
- Baker Lake
This is a popular Summertime camping destination. There are lots and lots of shoreline to find a place for your RV, Sprinter van or tent. More info here.
- Banks Lake
The first lake on this list, in our neck of the woods. Uncle Dave from the Quake raves about the “Sunbanks Music Festival” located on Banks Lake. Make a trip up to see this beautiful place near the historic Grand Coulee Dam.
- Colchuck Lake
Mentioned above, this should be a bucket list item for any hiker. The traditional starting point for Colchuck is the Stuart Lake Trailhead. Be prepared for an 8 mile round trip - with over 2,200 feet of climbing to get to the lake. Once you arrive, you’ll thank your legs for getting you up there. If you’re an elite hiker/trail runner, then try the "Enchantments Thru-Hike" (Stuart Lake/Colchuck/Aasgard Pass/Snow Lakes TrailHead). This beast is 18 plus miles with over 6,000 feet of climbing. Learn more about it here.
- Mowich Lake
This lake sits next to almighty Mount Rainier. Wonderland Trail Thru-hikers pass through here on their 93 mile circle around the Mountain. Okay. Here comes the 12 year old me. Whenever i see the name of this lake, I always hear the scene from the Princess Bride: “Mawage”
- Pearrygin Lake
Another lake in North Central Washington. Pearrygin Lake is a popular place (and some say the best) to do some winter "fat biking." One of the many great destinations of Winthrop and the amazing Methow Valley.
- Ross Lake & Diablo Lake
Found just off, what I think is the most beautiful stretch of road anywhere in the Pacific Northwest: Highway 20 (The North Cascades Hwy). Gotta boat? Bring it here and enjoy the aqua-marine colored waters and majestic Mount Baker. One of the best camping destinations anywhere in Washington State.
- Lake Washington
This lake sits between Seattle and Bellevue. Boaters can leave their private docks and venture from fresh water into the salt waters of Puget Sound via Lake Union and the Ballard Locks. I consider you very fortunate - if you’ve ever watched a Seafair Hydroplane race/Blue Angels aerial performance on the log boom (traditionally held on the first Sunday in August).
- Lake Wenatchee
Located 16 miles to the North of Leavenworth. Several youth camps call this area home: Camp Zanika, The YMCA Camp and Tall Timbers. If you plan a visit, you’ll notice the awesome “Dirtyface Peak” looking down at you and the lake - like a king with approval. You might also catch some Navy Jets from Whidbey Island, zooming along their North Cascades low level - high velocity route. This area was used in the filming of the Worldwide blockbuster film: Top Gun Maverick.
- Lake Chelan
Aww man. This hurts. Number two? Okay. Number one ain’t bad, but how can anyone consider a lake more amazing than Lake Chelan? | get goosebumps each and every time I first catch a glimpse of it. Just like an attractive partner, you need a lake that gives you goosebumps every time you see it.
- Lake Crescent
As much as I complained about the runner up - the #1 lake on this list is utterly breathtaking. Lake Crescent lies about 18 miles west of Port Angeles I learned how to jet-ski on this lake in junior high. If you’ve never seen it - put it on your bucket list and go! More info on visiting Lake Crescent.
INFO SOURCE: Planetware.com