Featuring thousands of untouched acres, 50,000 feet of freshwater shoreline and a unique basaltic rock with a surface area of 600 acres, Steamboat Rock State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in all of North America for RV camping. The park takes its name from the landscape's dominating feature: Steamboat Rock. This basalt butte rises 800 feet above Banks Lake, which nearly surrounds the gigantic rock. Created during Ice Age floods, Steamboat Rock State Park's landscape dates back at least 13,000 years. The area in and around the park appears barren, but it is full of wildlife, spring flowers and sagebrush.
An absolute must to do when visiting is hiking to the rock, which has a 650-foot vertical gain. If you prefer water to trails, the park will also be relevant to your interests. There are 320 feet of dock area and seven watercraft launches that will let you get onto Banks Lake.
The camping area at Steamboat Rock State Park is fantastic with 136 full-hookup sites available year round for you to use. Individual campsites can be reserved from mid-May to mid-September. During the off season the campsites are available on a first-come first-served basis.
RV Rentals in Steamboat Rock State Park
Transportation in Steamboat Rock State Park
Steamboat Rock State Park is quite remote, with the closest major city (Spokane) being an hour and 45 minute drive away. During the wintertime be wary of any road closures as the snow can close off some roads. Make sure you check the traffic reports before departing from where you are coming from. As the drive is to a remote area, make sure that you are stocked up with supplies in case anything goes wrong.
From Spokane, take the US-2 for West for 55 miles. Drive through the small town of Wilbur and then turn right onto WA-21 North. Continue on WA-174 West for 18 miles then turn right onto Spokane Way and then take a left on Main street. Follow Main street until you reach WA-155 South and take this road for 7 miles until you reach the park.
From Grand Coulee (the closest town to the park) head southwest on WA-155 South/Grand Coulee Ave towards Spokane Blvd North East. Follow this road for 6 miles until you reach the park.
If you are coming from the south, turn right onto US-2 East. Continue on US-2 East for 2 miles then continue onto WA-155 North (signs for Grand Coulee Dam). Follow this road all the way to the park entrance. This drive will be lovely as you mostly drive near Banks Lake.
Campgrounds and parking in Steamboat Rock State Park
Campsites in Steamboat Rock State Park
Steamboat Rock State Park
There are two campgrounds located in Steamboat Rock State Park: one that is primitive and one that is suitable for RV use. In total there are 136 asphalt full-hookup sites, one dump station, six restrooms and six showers at the RV-friendly campground. Having so many full hookup sites is a huge plus and isn't very common among state park campgrounds.
Also included in the amenities are a playground, basketball court and a sand volleyball court. If you are wanting 24 hour lake access this is available at Northrup Point. There will be little to no phone reception available, but if you really need it you can drive around 10 minutes to Grand Coulee.
Reservations are available from mid May to mid September. Outside of this time they are available on a first-come first-served basis. Maximum site length is 50 feet and vehicle tires must remain entirely on the pavement at all times.
Seasonal activities in Steamboat Rock State Park
The large lake is a perfect boating destination, with the lake being accessible year round to boats (if the lake isn't frozen, of course). The flat lake is very popular with water skiers and it is large enough to accommodate many skiers without it becoming dangerous. To launch a boat you will need to have an annual launch permit (Natural Investment Permit), an annual Discover Pass and a daily launch permit or a one-day Discover Pass and a daily launch permit. If you are visiting from out of state we recommend the daily launch permit. You can purchase this permit at the park upon arrival.
Banks Lake is also equipped with a small swimming beach area that is open during the summertime. During the summer temperatures can get up to 100 degrees at the park, so swimming is a very popular activity. The beach can be found on the bank of the lake near the camping grounds. There are no lifeguards that patrol Steamboat State Park, so make sure that you and your group are comfortable with your swimming abilities before going for a dip in the lake.
Regardless of whether you have a boat or not, fishing at Steamboat Rock State Park is an activity that can be enjoyed. The banks of the lake near the campground are known to be great fishing spots, with species such as trout, bass, carp, perch, sunfish and walleye regularly being caught by park guests. A disability accessible pier has also been built in the park allowing for fishing to be done no matter how able bodied you are. This pier has some history as it was the first of its kind to be built in North Central Washington. Make sure you have a fishing license before you arrive as you can't buy one at the park.
Hiking is the most popular recreational activity in Steamboat Rock State Park. In total there are 13.1 miles of hiking/bike trails and 10 miles of horse trails. If you want to hike to Steamboat Rock, there are several trails that feed into the main trail to get to the base. Starting at the campground, look for a sandy path across the paved road that you drive on to enter the campground. Walk on this path towards the rock and you will reach the base within a half-mile. You can climb to the top of the rock through a draw between the cliffs. Watch your footing here and be mindful of other hikers near you as it can be a very busy area.
Steamboat Rock State Park is located in part of the North American Pacific Flyway, which means that it is a great area to birdwatch. You will have plenty of opportunities to see migrating birds, song birds, game birds, water birds and raptors within the park. Stick to watching over the lake if you are on the hunt for waterfowl and shorebirds. During the wintertime viewing ducks and geese will be easy as the winter conditions move waterfowl into areas where big water is still open and grain fields provide forage.
The massive Steamboat Rock is waiting for you climb in season and during the off season. To get to the top of the rock you will need to navigate through a rough, rocky trail up through the break. This is most of the climb and is considered a Class 2+ level. During wet weather it can be a little more dangerous, so be careful and remember to put your fingertips down for balance so you do not risk falling. Also watch out for rattlesnakes!