Located on the stunning shores of Banks Lake in Northeast Washington, Steamboat Rock State Park is an oasis for both nature lovers and outdoor adventurers alike. The unique desert landscape combined with massive rock formations make up the iconic scenery of this area, and visitors can easily imagine the park being carved out by glaciers nearly 13,000 years ago. When most people think desert, they think hot and barren, but don't let your own misconceptions fool you. Look a little closer, and you will find that Steamboat Rock State Park is actually teeming with wildlife, and with over 50,000 feet of shoreline, you'll have lots of space to cool off during the warm summer months.
After you park the rig, you'll find plenty to keep you busy. The park's namesake, Steamboat Rock, is one of the main attractions. Towering 800 feet and stretching over 600 acres, this rock formation is truly incredible. You can hike to the top for an incredible scenic overlook, or simply admire the impressive butte from the seat of your kayak. Visitors also enjoy birding, fishing from the park's pier, rock climbing, and mountain biking along picturesque trails. Steamboat Rock State Park remains open during all four seasons, and once the snow falls, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland for snow sports enthusiasts.
RVers can stay in comfort at one of over 100 full hookup sites offered at the park. Surrounded by towering poplars, campers will be shaded from the hot summer sun and shielded from the cold winter winds. No matter what time of year you visit Steamboat Rock State Park, you'll be glad you came.
Located in Grant County, Washington, Steamboat Rock State Park is conveniently located off of WA-155, a well-traveled route. Although this part of the state is known for having some twists and turns, the well-maintained roads make it easy to access the park, even if you're navigating a big rig. The closest city is Grand Coulee, just 12 miles north of the park. Here, RVers can gas up the motorhome and stock up on last-minute supplies before heading to the park.
Those planning on staying the night should enter the park on the south side, via Steamboat Rock Park Entrance Road. This road will take you to the RV campground, the boat launch area, and various trailheads. Not all roads within the park are paved, so be sure to bring a bike or a good pair of hiking boots along in the motorhome if you plan on seeing it all. Although the park remains open year-round, inclement weather may lead to icy roads in and around the park, so be sure to check the local weather report before heading out.
Parking can be found around the campground, near the boat launch area, at the park entrance, and on the north side of the park in the Northrup Canyon area.
Steamboat Rock State Park boasts 144 RV- and trailer-friendly campsites spread between three loops. The campsites at all three loops -- Sage Loop, Dune Loop, and Bay Loop -- are situated on the west side of the park and come equipped with full hookups, picnic tables, and fire pits. Some sites offer scenic, lakefront views, while others are located further back with views of staggering buttes in the distance. Maximum length restrictions vary by site, but as long as your rig is under 50 feet, you should be able to find a spot to park.
Most sites are shaded by tall poplars, providing shade in the summer and a shield from the wind during the cooler months. The campground is pet-friendly, and guests will find ADA-accessible restrooms with showers, extra parking, and fish cleaning stations in each loop.
If you'd like to sleep under the stars for a few nights, there are also 26 tent-only sites available in the Sage and Dune Loops. The Dune Loop remains open all year, while the other loops are available from April through mid-October. Reservations are available for all sites between May and September, while the rest of the year sites are only available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The park's 144 RV- and trailer-friendly sites are only available on a first-come, first-served basis from mid-October to the end of March. The remainder of the year, you must have a reservation to RV camp overnight at Steamboat Rock State Park.
Those looking to reconnect with nature in a more serious manner can choose to stay at one of the park's primitive tent campsites. There are 44 sites available at Jone's Bay and 26 available at Osborne Bay, both located in the far north of the park. These sites are outfitted with picnic tables and fire rings, and vault toilets are located nearby. No water is available at either bay, so come prepared with your own supply.
For those looking to really get off the grid, the park also offers 12 boat-in sites located to the north of the main campground. There is water available at these sites, but little else in terms of amenities. All primitive sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you're looking to get out of the RV for a night or two, but tent camping isn't really your style, there are three camping cabins available for rent. Located in the Bay Loop, these cabins can sleep up to five, and come equipped with modern amenities like centralized heat and air, a microwave, and a mini-fridge. Restrooms with showers are located nearby. Outside, guests will also find a fire pit and a picnic table, along with parking for up to two vehicles. Pets are allowed in the cabins for an extra fee. The cabins are open year-round and reservations can be made online in advance.
If there were no sites available at Steamboat Rock State Park, you won't have to go far to find a place to park the RV for the night. There are various private RV parks located in and around Grand Coulee, located just 12 miles north of the park. These RV resorts offer a wide range of facilities, so you may want to do your research before pulling up.
If you intend to get your money's worth out of your state park pass, Sun Lakes State Park is just a half an hour's drive from the park. The campground offers nearly 200 sites, 41 of which offer full hookups.
Lace-up your hiking boots and leave the pop-up behind, because Steamboat Rock State Park offers some of the best hiking in the state. With over 13 miles of trails traversing the park, you could spend days exploring the scenic landscape. Experienced hikers should not miss the Steamboat Rock Trail. With a 650-foot vertical gain, climbing this massive butte is anything but easy, but once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views across Banks Lake and the distant mountain peaks of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. For more hiking trails, head across the lake to the Northrup Canyon area.
A trip to Steamboat Rock State Park wouldn't be complete without spending a day on Banks Lake. Famed for its cool blue waters, its no wonder that the lake is such a hot spot. The seven boat launches located throughout the park make it easy to put the boat in the water, and you could undoubtedly spend a day (or a week!) paddling, waterskiing, or fishing on the lake. The park does not offer rentals, so you'll need to pull your own watercraft behind the campervan.
Don't forget to pack your bathing suit along in the Airstream, because Steamboat Rock State Park offers some great swimming opportunities. Summers in northern Washington get warmer than you may think, with the mercury climbing well into the 80s during July and August. Luckily, a roped-off swimming area is available on the west side of the park. Here, visitors will be treated to a sandy beach and spectacular views across the lake. You can splash in the water, blow up an intertube and float all day, or simply relax on the beach with a good book. Once you've had enough sun, head to the shaded picnic tables located directly across from the beach.
Don't hesitate to attach the bikes to the back of the Sprinter, because once the crowds thin out after the peak season, mountain bikers can enjoy nearly empty trails at Steamboat Rock State Park. There are over 13 miles of trails that bikers can explore, and riding along the main park roads is also a great way to get from point A to point B. Northrup Canyon Trail is a favorite amongst mountain bikers. It will lead you through an old homestead featuring scenic views of some old buildings and towering bluffs. The trail is rated moderate, with a few rocky inclines and descents along the way.
At nearly 30,000 acres, Banks Lake is the perfect place to drop a line during your RV vacation to Steamboat Rock State Park. The park is situated along 50,000 feet of shoreline and is equipped with five fish cleaning stations. The water is teeming with Lake Whitefish, Smallmouth Bass, and Walleye, and other common catches include Panfish, Kokanee, and Rainbow Trout. Those looking to cast out from the water can use one of the park's seven boat ramps, and those looking to stay on land can fish from the shoreline or off of the park's fishing pier.
There's never a bad time to visit Steamboat Rock State Park. Even after the dog days of summer are over, there is still a plethora of winter activities available for visitors. Once a healthy layer of snow sticks, you can enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing along miles of tails. Anglers enjoy ice fishing once the lake freezes over, and wildlife enthusiasts can have a hay day watching bald eagles circle overhead. For the true adventurers in your group, ice climbing is also available in certain areas. The park maintains RV camping facilities year-round, so you won't have to worry about finding accommodations when you visit in the winter months.