Boasting nearly 500 acres of alpine wilderness complete with a gorgeous, glacier-fed lake, Lake Wenatchee State Park in Leavenworth, WA is a popular vacation destination for RVers from all over the country. Once a fishing and feasting site for nomadic Native American tribes, today, Lake Wenatchee State Park is one of the state’s premier recreation areas for all sorts of outdoor activities which can be enjoyed in every season.
The scenic, gentle-flowing Wenatchee River cuts the park into two areas, aptly named North Park and South Park. The northern half of the park is more RV-friendly, particularly to those traveling in big rigs, and offers partial hookups. The southern half is ideal for primitive tent camping, and while it lacks full hookup options, it does offer some unique amenities for avid adventurers.
Whether you want to explore enchanting mountains that are covered in evergreens or take in all the aquatic fun the lake offers, Lake Wenatchee State Park is jam-packed with activities for the whole family to enjoy. With over a dozen miles of trails, you can discover every inch of the park on foot, by bike, or even on horseback. You can swim, fish, or paddle along the shores of the glacier-fed Lake Wenatchee or hop in a boat and coast along the Wenatchee River. The winter is a magical time to take an RV visit to the park as well since you can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding.
Campers are welcome year-round at Lake Wenatchee State Park, although winter campers must acquire a permit and are restricted to a designated spot of the day-use area. Additionally, no amenities, including hookups, are offered during the winter. Visitors to the state park are reminded that bears roam this wilderness, so be bear-aware and follow safe storage protocols to avoid attracting these big beasts to your site. Packing bug spray in the RV is also a good idea -- mosquitoes can be a big problem for campers in the summer.
RV Rentals in Lake Wenatchee State Park
Transportation in Lake Wenatchee State Park
Most of the internal roads at Lake Wenatchee State Park are paved, but narrow, so it’s best to take things slow if you’re traveling to the North Campground in a big rig. The roads leading to the South Campground appear to be packed dirt or gravel, making this half of the park less suitable for RVs, but easily traversable by regular car or truck. No matter which section of the park you drive through, you’ll enjoy scenic views of the mountainous forest and the lake everywhere you look.
Because Lake Wenatchee State Park is well-maintained by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, you shouldn’t have to worry about road hazards like broken tree limbs when traveling through this forested area. The park can also be explored on foot, bicycle, and horse, with 14 total miles of hiking and biking trails. However, you’ll want to check snow condition when traveling during the winter.
To access the park, you’ll need to obtain a day or annual pass, which will grant you access to all of Washington’s state parks. Rangers patrol the park regularly, so be sure to display the permit in the window of your vehicle to avoid a fine. Parking is available throughout the park. You can park by the Welcome Station if you are on the north side or near the South Campground if you are on the southern edge of the park. Of course, it’s easiest to park your rig at your campsite if you are staying overnight.
Campgrounds and parking in Lake Wenatchee State Park
Campsites in Lake Wenatchee State Park
If you’re camping at Lake Wenatchee State Park in a big rig, set a course for the North Campground. This campground is open from May to November. 42 sites at the North Campground offer pull-through access and electric and water hookups, while the rest provide no hookups. While there are no sewer connections, a dump station is located within the park. The campsite pads will be either soil, sand, or gravel, so some leveling for your rig may be required. Some campsites offer more spacious pads that might be suitable for larger RVs, but you’ll want to check before you book your site. You will be able to enjoy a bit of privacy at your site, plus enjoy some comfort from natural shade.
Showers and restrooms will be within walking distance to your site. The kids will love the play area and the beach available at North Campground. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can wade Lake Wenatchee’s cold waters from the beach area out to Emerald Island. Reservations are available up to nine months in advance.
If you’re traveling in a smaller RV, the park’s South Campground offers sites that can accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet long. Open from May to November, the South Campground is a prime camping location close to food service, boating, and swimming. This camping area also offers a unique feature: horse rentals! If you want to explore the equestrian trails at Lake Wenatchee State Park but you don’t have a gentle giant of your own, rent a horse and enjoy a guided walk along the trails.
While there are no hookups at these campsites, a dump station is located within the park. Campsite pads are typically soil, gravel, or sand. Restrooms and showers are centrally located. A camp store offering supplies such as ice and firewood and a boat launch are two other useful amenities available at this campground. You’ll want to reserve your site in advance if you plan to visit during the peak season. Reservations are available up to nine months in advance.
If you want to camp at this beautiful state park during the winter you can still stay at the park even though the main campgrounds are closed. You can camp near the South Campground in the day-use area at the southern end of the park from November to May. You can enjoy amenities including hot showers, restrooms, fire pits, and picnic tables. However, no hookups will be available during this time of year. Make sure to check ahead of schedule since these sites may be closed due to inclement weather.
Seasonal activities in Lake Wenatchee State Park
The park’s namesake lake is a popular swimming hole in the summer, and the lake’s gentle waters make it an excellent place for kids and novice swimmers to earn their water wings. Whether you’re looking to get some cardio with a vigorous swim or just cool off while you enjoy views of the mountains in the distance, Lake Wenatchee is the perfect place to take a dip. If you’d rather be on the water than in it, the lake is also open to boaters, windsurfers, and stand-up paddlers.
With seven miles of hiking trails, Lake Wenatchee State Park offers plenty of opportunities to get your daily exercise outside the RV. If you’re looking for an easy stroll through the woods, trek the three-mile Lake Wenatchee Trail, where you can enjoy views of the park’s wildflowers in the spring. The trail also takes you right through one of the park’s campgrounds, making it the perfect place to walk the dog if you’re staying overnight. Some of the park’s backcountry trails pass through private property, and while hikers are allowed to access these areas, be respectful and pack out all waste.
Lake Wenatchee caters to equestrian enthusiasts with multiple equestrian trails and even horse rentals for guided walks. A variety of guided rides is available, from short two-mile hikes to half-day rides and group wagon excursions. Guided rides will incur an extra fee, which varies depending on the hike you select. If you’re bringing your own horse, please note that there are no public stables at the park, so Lake Wenatchee State Park is not suitable for equestrian camping.
The sled hill at Lake Wenatchee State Park’s South Park is an excellent destination for families with younger children looking to try sledding for the first time during an RV vacation. With a gentle incline of 150 feet, the hill is easily walkable, so visitors can simply walk right to the top, sled down, and walk back up again on the shoulder of the sledding area. The hill is easily accessible and signposted from a parking area near Lake Wenatchee’s shoreline.
If you are taking an RV trip to Lake Wenatchee State Park in the winter you can explore this magical winter wonderland with a pair of cross-country skis. The Chiwawa See & Ski Trail offers almost five miles of single ski track through the forest. The trail is maintained regularly, and an alternative route has been added to compensate during periods of low snow. Please note that if you’re planning to bring your dog along for your ski trip, dogs are only allowed on this trail after noon.
Snowshoeing is a popular activity at Lake Wenatchee State Park for RV campers. The southern section of the park offers a loop trail that’s almost two miles long, but beware -- this one isn’t for beginners! Seasoned snowshoers will find a suitable challenge on this hike and won’t be able to resist snapping photos of Wenatchee River and Nason Creek along the way.