Tucked away in the tree-covered foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, Lake Easton State Park is a must-see for anyone who loves the outdoors. Less than an hour and a half from Seattle, it’s a popular destination for urbanites looking to escape the city’s grey clouds and growing urban sprawl. Situated in a glacial valley 2,200 feet above sea level, it’s not uncommon to catch clear skies and warm sun, a rarity in this part of the Pacific Northwest.
The park’s scenic hiking trails and calm waters make it perfect for nature lovers and water sportsmen alike. Families can enjoy swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing among other activities. Fishermen will particularly love this spot as Lake Easton and the joining Yakima River provide some of the best fishing in Washington. Even people unfamiliar with the great outdoors will appreciate the park’s shady grounds, modern amenities, and fully-equipped RV sites.
During the winter, visitors can witness the icy majesty of the Cascade Mountains first hand while taking advantage of the off-season solitude. The park’s gorgeous hiking trails become great paths for cross country skiing and the surrounding areas also provide opportunities for downhill skiing and snowmobiling.
RV Rentals in Lake Easton State Park
Transportation in Lake Easton State Park
A mere 70 miles from Seattle and under 40 miles from Ellensburg, Lake Easton State Park is easy to get to by car or RV. Its location immediately off Interstate 90 makes arrival a breeze. The Iron Horse Trail runs the length of the park and will take you just about anywhere you need to go. The boat launch, resort, ranger station, and RV campsites are all situated just off this road. The southern campsites as well as the Yakima River Dam are accessible via Lake Easton State Park Road. However, the western and southern shores of the lake are only reachable via hiking trails.
Overnight parking for RVs is located on the northeastern shore just beyond the boat launch. This provides easy access for anyone looking to venture out onto the Lake’s waters for a day of kayaking, fishing, or swimming. There is also a picnic area nearby complete with a children’s playground, making it a great spot for midday luncheons or evening get togethers.
Campgrounds and parking in Lake Easton State Park
Campsites in Lake Easton State Park
Lake Easton State Park Campground
Lake Easton State Park is equipped with 45 full-utility RV sites with water, electricity, and sewer service. Selected sites can fit vehicles up to 60 feet in length and some also accommodate tipouts. There is a $10 overnight fee for every vehicle in excess of the RV, not including towed vehicles.
The RV campsites are located next to picnic facilities complete with unsheltered tables, grills, fire pits, and playground. Amenities also include ADA accessible public restrooms, hot showers, and trailer dump station. Generator use is from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Firewood and bags of crushed ice are also available for purchase.
The boat launch is conveniently located nearby and the eastern hiking trails are easily accessible. Hiking trails on the western shore are reachable by short walk or drive, though taking your vehicle is preferable as you must cross a small bridge to get there.
Check in is at 2:30 p.m. and check out at 1 p.m. RV campsite are available year round.
Seasonal activities in Lake Easton State Park
With six and a half miles of scenic hiking trails you’ll want to make sure you bring your good boots. These well-groomed paths are an easy walk for most, meaning you can bring the whole family along. A pleasant stroll around the lake provides wonderful views of the water, forests, and surrounding mountains. For more intrepid hikers, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail merges with the southern portion of the loop. Follow this famous route and you’ll eventually find yourself in Cedar Falls to the west or all the way to Idaho in the east.
Bring along your bass boat and you can head onto the lake and send out a reel. The best time for this is late May when you’ll have a better chance of landing a rainbow trout or Westslope cutthroat. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a Chinook salmon, mountain whitefish, or a steelhead. For fly-fishing enthusiasts, the Yakima River to the south of the lake offers the best catch and release fly-fishing in the state of Washington.
There’s nothing like a day on the water, whether than means relaxing in a inner tube or cruising along in a kayak. Luckily, Lake Easton has both. But be careful, the lake is shallow in parts and stumps can stick out of the surface, so make sure you’re paying attention. Though motorized boating is allowed, motors are limited to ten horsepower as a safety precaution, making sure everyone can share the water. Watercraft launch opens up in April, weather permitting.
Cross Country Skiing
In the winter, Lake Easton’s beautiful hiking trails take on a whole new appearance. Covered in snow, these paths become excellent routes for cross-country skiing. Thanks to their easy slopes, they’re perfect for beginning snowshoers and amateur cross-country skiers. For those who are a bit more experienced, the Wait Station Loop offers a steep black diamond trek. There is also downhill skiing located just 15 miles north on Interstate 90.
While opportunities for snowmobiling within the park itself are limited, routes to the north and south offer miles of beautiful drives through icy forests. Above Lake Easton, on the opposite side of Interstate 90, two separate trails run along the east and west of Kachess Lake, rising high above its frozen surface. Head south and you’ll reach Easton Reload Sno-Park, the area’s premier snowmobiling trail which takes you deep in to the Cascade Mountains.
Museums and History
A 15-minute drive down Interstate 90 will put you in the old mining town of Cle Elum. There, you can visit the South Cle Elum Rail Yard National Historic District. Railroad enthusiasts will get a kick out of visiting the Depot and checking out the old bunkhouse which is now a B&B that features a museum’s worth of memorabilia. There’s also a telephone museum and the Carpenter Home Museum and Gallery to check out.