Lake Wallula is 64 miles long, extending from southeastern Washington to northeastern Oregon along the Columbia River. The lake also extends onto the Snake River to Ice Harbor Dam. Located just behind McNary Dam, Lake Wallula is a reservoir that was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers also maintains four recreational areas around the lake, which are McNary Beach, Spillway Park, West Park, and Hood Park.
During a trip to Lake Wallula, visitors will enjoy many attractions at the lake and in the surrounding area. Swimming, boating, and other water recreation are enjoyed by many. The lake is easily accessed from the day-use parks, and the many boat launches around the lake. On land, there is hiking nearby as well as the McNary National Wildlife Refuge which has nature trails and plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing.
With so much to see and do, plan to stay overnight at Hood Park to make the most of your trip to Lake Wallula. The campground has 67 campsites, all with electric. Big rigs can fit into many of the campsites at Hood Park. Hood Park campground is pet-friendly and has many amenities. Restrooms, showers, a playground, and boat ramp are a few amenities to make your overnight stay comfortable.
Lake Wallula extends from southeastern Washington to northeastern Oregon. On the Washington side, the lake isn’t far from the Tri-Cities with gas and other services in between. In Oregon, the lake is near the city of Umatilla.
The day-use parks are open year-round, and the campground at Hood Park is open seasonally from May to September. Visitors shouldn’t encounter any hazards during their drive to the lake. The weather is mostly dry during the summer months, and though snow and ice are possible during the winter, it isn’t common. The roads leading to the parks are paved.
Those planning to camp may want to head to Hood Park to set up their campsite prior to exploring. The campground can accommodate RVs that are both big and small. Visitors will find it necessary to drive to some activities, such as hiking trails or wildlife refuge. There is plenty of parking at each of the day-use parks.
Hood Park is located on the lake. There are 67 campsites, many of which offer lake views. Even those that aren’t lakefront aren’t far from the water. The campground is open seasonally, from May to September each year. The campground is shaded by trees throughout the park, perfect for relaxing under while enjoying views of the lake.
The campsites have electric hookups, but no sewer or water. A dump station is located near the park entrance for those with RVs or trailers. The campground has water for refilling tanks near the dump station. Each campsite comes equipped with a fire ring and picnic table. Depending on the campsite, some leveling may be necessary. Many campsites can accommodate big rigs, with some extending over 100 feet. Though large RVs and trailers can fit in many of the campsites, some are more narrow than others, which can make parking a challenge.
Hood Park offers many amenities. The campground’s playground keeps kids entertained. The swimming area makes for a great spot to cool off on hot days. A picnic shelter can be reserved for large groups. For those with boats, the park’s boat launch provides lake access. Additional amenities include restrooms and showers.
For Lake Wallula visitors who bring a boat or other watercraft, it won’t be difficult to find lake access. There are 17 locations around the lake with boat ramps, including Hood Park and McNary Beach, which are maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lake Wallula is 64 miles long, providing plenty of space for water recreation, whether you want to spend a leisurely day out on the water or spend the day waterskiing and tubing.
Summers in eastern Washington and Oregon can be hot, with temperatures often reaching into the 90s. What better way could there be to cool off than by taking a swim at the lake? There are designated swimming areas at each of the day-use parks on Lake Wallula. The swimming areas are roped off, keeping them separate from passing boats and other watercraft. Bring along a floaty to drift about in the cool water as you soak up the summer sun.
Several picnic shelters are located across the day-use parks, including one near the campground at Hood Park. These shelters are perfect for large group gatherings such as birthdays or reunions and can be reserved. Large trees shade the shelters. Each picnic shelter has charcoal grills, and some even have electricity. Drinking water and restrooms are located close to the shelters.
Many different types of wildlife live or migrate through Lake Wallula. One great way to see some of the area’s abundant wildlife is to visit the McNary National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is next to Hood Park. Visitors will have the opportunity to see bald eagles, waterfowl, and many other types of wildlife while exploring the two-mile nature trail. The wildlife refuge also has an education center that offers many programs.
There is plenty of hiking at and near Lake Wallula. One popular trail is the Lewis & Clark Commemorative Trail, which is open for hiking and equestrian use. There are some sections with hills, but the trail is mostly flat. The Lewis & Clark Commemorative Trail is 10 miles in length. For a shorter and easier hike, there is a two-mile nature trail to explore at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge.
With many miles of shoreline and several boat ramps, Lake Wallula presents anglers with an excellent opportunity for fishing. Salmon and steelhead are predominant in the lake, though walleye are often caught as well. Lake Wallula and McNary dam have fish ladders to help steelhead and salmon that return to spawn. If planning to fish during your visit, know that a state fishing license is necessary.