Central Washington's Top Lakes
By: Cole Harrison
Whether you are an avid fisherman or a family looking for a new body of water to explore, Central Washington has a wide variety of lakes to choose from! With many boat launches, lakes and rivers, Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Easton have the perfect bodies of water for all of your summer travelling needs! Each destination offers unique adventures that cannot be missed. Take advantage of the warm weather by cooling off at these great bodies of water!
CLE ELUM LAKE
Located in Cle Elum, Washington, Cle Elum Lake hosts beautiful mountain views! Located 15 minutes west of South Cle Elum, this lake is the perfect destination for all of your family adventures. This lake is the perfect destination for fishing, boating and swimming! The neighboring area has many great things to offer such as cabin rentals with a private boat launch.
Located between Seattle and Ellensburg off I-90, Lake Easton is a magnet for people who have limited time for escapes. Being at the heart of Lake Easton State Park, Lake Easton has many great amenities to offer as well. The park offers one boat ramp and 20 feet of dock as well as freshwater fishing, 6 miles of bike trails, 6.5 miles of hiking trails and 40 picnic tables without shelter, available first come, first served. This location is a well-known and visited gem of Central Washington!
LITTLE KACHESS LAKE
Little Kachess Lake is located 15 miles north of Lake Easton State Park. Kachess Lake is a lake and reservoir along the course of the Kachess River. The upper part of the lake, north of a narrows, is called Little Kachess Lake.This lake is home to the ‘Little Kachess Trail’ which is a 8.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail. The Little Kachess Trail begins at Kachess Campground and is full of breathtaking views all the way until it ends at Mineral Creek Trail. The trail is not meant for beginning hikers, so it is advised to know the trail beforehand as well as bring supplies for the long hike!
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote that not all those who wander are lost, and at Lost Lake this holds true. Located off of the beaten path 15 miles outside of Easton, WA, Lost Lake offers calm waters to those who stray away from popular lake locations and want to explore something new! There is a nearby ‘Lost Lake Resort’ which offers Lake Day use, RV/general camping, lodging, dining options, boat rentals and more!
Located in Ellensburg, Washington, Mattoon Lake is a popular destination for college students and families alike! This lake is also a rare fisherman’s dream for anyone who wants to catch Rainbow Trout! Fishermen generally have success catching 8 – 14 inch rainbow trout and there are plenty of good bank fishing locations if individuals do not have a boat. (Source) This lake is raved about online as one of the best places in Ellensburg to fish at!
Wanapum Lake is a reservoir on the Columbia River. The best way to access this lake is the Vantage Boat Launch located alongside Interstate-90, a popular gem with well-maintained restrooms and a short trail that leads to a tiny marina. There is an abundance of boat trailer parking and picnic tables, so even on the hottest of days, there’s likely room for you! The cherry on top: a beautiful view of the Vantage Bridge!
HONORABLE MENTION: YAKIMA RIVER
It may not be a lake, but our area wouldn’t be the same without the stunning Yakima River, a local favorite place to fish, swim and boat. The beautiful river meanders from Lake Keechelus through Cle Elum and Ellensburg all the way to Yakima. The river provides for a scenic drive, or a serene place to enjoy a picnic, float a tube, raft, kayak, canoe, or simply listen to the birds along the shore.