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Weekend Getaways

The 12 Greatest Lakes in Washington State

With its temperate rainforests, mountain ranges, deep fjords, and Pacific shoreline, Washington might be probably the most beautiful state in the US. The best lakes in Washington have a novel aesthetic and pure allure, with glacier-carved coastlines and azure waters. You possibly can have an thrilling time exploring the areas and taking within the vistas as a result of varied mountain climbing routes have entry factors. Quite a lot of different leisure actions, equivalent to fishing, boating, tenting, and cross-country snowboarding, may be loved within the state, making it a year-round vacation spot. In the event you’re in search of the most effective Washington lakes to your subsequent getaway, this text will checklist the 12 largest lakes within the state.

The 12 Greatest Lakes in Washington State

12. Little Kachess Lake

The twelfth largest lake in Washington is Little Kachess Lake.

Ricardo Martins from Gent, Belgium / Artistic Commons – License

Positioned alongside the Kachess River’s course, Little Kachess Lake is a lake and reservoir in Washington state. The lake has 4,540 acres or 18.37 km2 of floor space. The Yakima Challenge, an irrigation venture administered by the US Bureau of Reclamation, makes use of the lake as a storage reservoir. It was initially a pure lake, though its measurement and drainage are regulated by Kachess Dam, a 115-foot (35-meter) excessive earthfill venture erected in 1912. In distinction to Keechelus Lake, whose identify interprets to “few fish,” Kachess is known as after a Native American phrase which means “extra fish.”

11. Lake Whatcom

Lake Whatcom, Washington
Supplying water for about 85,000 individuals, Lake Whatcom is 5,003 acres in measurement.

Lake Whatcom provides ingesting water for roughly 85,000 individuals in Bellingham and Whatcom County. The lake, which is positioned in Whatcom County, Washington, is 5,003 acres (20.25 km2) in measurement and runs for about 10 miles (16 km) lengthy and 1 mile (1.6 km) broad. Swimming, fishing, motorboating, and different leisure actions are common on the lake. Bellingham regulates water circulation to maintain the restrict below management, retailer the enter, meet the calls for in ingesting water, and keep applicable streamflow for the endangered Chinook salmon. The zebra mussel, New Zealand mud snail, and Asian carp are all invasive species that threaten Lake Whatcom.

10. Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent is the second-deepest lake in Washington. de droit

This crystal-clear, glacially sculpted lake is positioned 18 miles west of Port Angeles, close to the Juan de Fuca Strait shoreline. The lake is one in every of Washington’s delight in magnificence and floor space, encompassing 5,127 acres or 21 km2. Lake Crescent is surrounded by a number of mountain climbing routes and park services, offering ample alternatives for a day tour or in a single day keep. It’s thought of the second-deepest lake in Washington, with a most depth of 624 toes (190 meters), succeeding Lake Chelan. Climbing is a standard sport within the space surrounding the lake.

9. Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoos Lake
Although Osoyoos Lake is the third-largest by measurement and third-deepest amongst Okanagan lakes, it’s only the fourth-largest by quantity.

Osoyoos Lake straddles the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S state of Washington. Osoyoos Lake is the third-largest by measurement and third-deepest amongst Okanagan lakes, but it’s only the fourth-largest by quantity, protecting 5,733 acres (23.2 km2) of floor space.

‘Osoyoos’ is derived from the phrase ‘suius (soo-yoos),’ which implies ‘place the place two lakes meet.’ Over the past Ice Age, a large glacier carved out the Okanagan Valley. The glacial meltwaters created Osoyoos Lake and others within the basin when the ice sheet retreated. Throughout  extreme drought, lake ranges could drop beneath the common vary, driving British Columbia to attempt in conserving flows as much as safeguard aquatic habitats and return migrating salmon.

8. Moses Lake

Moses Lake
The eighth largest lake in Washington is Moses Lake.


Moses Lake is a reservoir and lake positioned alongside Crab Creek in Washington State. Crab Creek is a tributary of the Columbia River, making Moses Lake part of the Columbia River basin. It measures 6,800 acres (28 km2) in floor space and boasts a most depth of 38 ft (12 m) and a shoreline size of 62 miles. The lake the place the town of the identical identify lies was as soon as a shallow pure lake that was dammed for irrigation within the early twentieth century. Moses Lake presents a wide range of tenting, boating, fishing, and swimming potentialities. It additionally gives a wide range of species that anglers can feast on. The lake is house to rainbow trout as much as 17 inches lengthy, making it top-of-the-line trout fishing websites. Anglers may uncover vital portions of largemouth bass and walleye. Perch, crappies, and bluegills are additionally out there, however their numbers usually are not as giant.

7. Ozette Lake

Ozette Lake
Lake Ozette is Washington’s largest unspoiled pure lake.

With 7,787 acres (29.5 km2), Lake Ozette is Washington’s largest unspoiled pure lake. Lake Ozette was given the Makah identify Kahouk, which implies “massive lake.” Its most depth reaches 331 toes (101 meters) beneath sea stage. The lake includes three islands, specifically, Tivoli, Backyard Island, and Child Island. In a single day tent campers ready to make the lengthy journey down the lake can get pleasure from Tivoli’s sandy coast, which is a kayaking and canoeing vacation spot. 

6. Riffe Lake

Riffe lake
The sixth-largest lake in Washington is Riffe Lake. Ruth

Riffe Lake, created by the Mossyrock Dam, is one other huge lake in Washington, measuring 11,830 acres (47.87 km2). The lake boasts a wholesome smallmouth bass inhabitants and has an open fishing season all yr. Riffe Lake is a superb place to catch landlocked coho, Chinook salmon, and the occasional large brown trout. Cutthroat, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, brown bullheads, and some bluegill and crappie are among the many heat freshwater fish current within the lake. As a consequence of worries that the Mossyrock Dam might fall after a big earthquake and create catastrophic flooding, Tacoma Energy decreased the lake’s most water stage by 30 toes (9.1 m) in 2017.

5. Lake Washington

Lake Washington
Lake Washington is the second-largest pure lake within the state of Washington.

In King County, Lake Washington runs between Seattle and Bellevue. It’s King County’s largest lake and the state of Washington’s second-largest pure lake, behind Lake Chelan, with a floor space of 21,750 acres (88 km2). Cutthroat trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie are among the many common recreation fish on this lake, which is open all yr. Having fun with Lake Washington means visiting one in every of its lakefront parks. Many surrounding cities and cities across the lake have lakefront parks the place guests can have a picnic or stroll alongside the seashore walkway.

4. Banks Lake

Banks Lake
The fourth-largest lake in Washington is Banks Lake.

Banks Lake is an unlimited man-made reservoir in Japanese Washington that stretches from Coulee Metropolis to Electrical Metropolis. This one-of-a-kind lake is a part of the Columbia Basin Challenge, which provides water and vitality to your entire area. It boasts 26,890 acres (108.8 km2) of floor space and is replete with smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, kokanee, yellow perch, rainbow trout, and whitefish. On the lake’s north coast lies Steamboat Rock State Park which is the hub of actions across the lake. Over 50,000 toes of freshwater beachfront may be discovered within the state park providing quite a few actions. There are seven boat launches scattered all through three websites that present entry to Banks Lake.

3. Potholes Reservoir

Potholes Reservoir
Measuring 27,800 acres, Potholes Reservoir is without doubt one of the largest lakes in Washington.

Joe Mabel / Artistic Commons – License

Potholes Reservoir is a man-made lake positioned in central Washington created by the O’Sullivan Dam. It’s one in every of Washington’s largest lakes, measuring 27,800 acres or 112.5 km² in floor space and bordered by 6,000 toes (1,800 meters) of shoreline. Fed by Moses Lake, one other huge reservoir within the state, Potholes Reservoir is full of walleye, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass, making it a great spot for anglers. Potholes State Park, a 640-acre (2.6-km2) part of the Washington State Park System, is positioned on the reservoir’s shoreline. Panfishing may be glorious in some years, though it varies yearly. Trout fishing for rainbows as much as 20 inches may be glorious throughout the winter, early spring, and fall months.

2. Lake Chelan

1653663812 849 Inland Wonders 14 of the Clearest Lakes in the US - August 20, 2022
The second-largest lake in Washington state is Lake Chelan.

Lake Chelan is a ravishing 33,340-acre (134.9-square-kilometer) lake that stretches into the North Cascades’ jap edge. It’s the sixth deepest lake in North America, the third deepest in the US, and the twenty fifth deepest globally, with a most depth of 1,486 toes (453 meters). “Chelan” comes from a Salish phrase which means “deep water.” Chelan, the lake’s southernmost metropolis, is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot and an excellent place to start out if you wish to get out on the water. Chinook salmon and lake trout may be caught in abundance on this lake. It’s a year-round pastime within the space with the choice of hiring a fishing information.

1. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake

Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake
Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake is the most important lake in Washington.

Steven Pavlov / Artistic Commons – License

The most important lake within the state is a reservoir with a floor space of 79,070 acres (320 km2) and 603 miles of shoreline. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake receives its water from the Columbia River and is surrounded by Lake Roosevelt Nationwide Recreation Space. The numerous actions out there listed here are appropriate for guests of all ages. Other than the actions, it’s additionally an excellent place to get pleasure from a relaxed vacation with a number of different individuals. Rainbow trout, white sturgeon, kokanee salmon, walleye, and smallmouth bass are among the many lake’s many fish species. Aside from white sturgeon, all species can be found all yr. Lake whitefish, burbot, and yellow perch are a number of the different species you may fortunately catch.

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