Lake Wallula, Oregon & Washington, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Wallula — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Wallula cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Wallula

Lake Wallula, a 64 mile long reservoir, is a wide open glassy lake that extends from northeastern Oregon to southeastern Washington. Lake Wallula received its name from the small town of Wallula, Washington which was flooded when the area began to fill with water in April 1953 after the building of McNary Dam. Townspeople moved further from the lake and began the new town of Wallula.

McNary Dam was named for Oregon senator Charles L. McNary (1874-1944) who campaigned for better navigation on the Columbia River. Because of McNary’s efforts, Lake Wallula and McNary Dam were built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forming a multi-purpose and beneficial lake to the area. The Lake Wallula and McNary Dam area includes a lock that lifts boats an average of 75 feet to aid in navigation, two fish ladders to aid salmon and steelhead returning to spawn, and irrigation capabilities for area farms. One of the largest hydroelectric power facilities in the United States, McNary Dam also includes two additional turbines whose purpose is to power the dam itself so the McNary Dam is entirely self-sustaining. While visiting Lake Wallula, visitors may take tours of the McNary Dam operating facility.

The landscape around Lake Wallula is wide open with few trees and arid conditions. All 16,908 acres surrounding Lake Wallula are public lands utilized for recreational purposes, wildlife habitat, and water-connected industrial development. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service leases approximately 3,500 acres of the public land for the McNary National Wildlife Refuge which supports large numbers of waterfowl due to the managed habitats in the area. The refuge was built to replace the natural habitats lost due to the filling of Lake Wallula.

Twenty two recreational areas surround Lake Wallula. These areas offer swimming, boating, camping, water skiing, wake boarding, fishing and hunting. Lake Wallula’s recreational facilities range from undeveloped remote beaches, to group picnic areas, to full service campgrounds with electrical and water hookups. Lake Wallula has 17 locations around its shoreline that provide public boat launching facilities.

Whether you visit for a day, a leisurely long weekend, or an extended stay, Lake Wallula will provide you with ample opportunities to enjoy the water, beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Things to Do at Lake Wallula

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Wildlife Refuge

Fish Species Found at Lake Wallula

  • Salmon
  • Steelhead Trout
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Find Places to Stay at Lake Wallula

If you’re considering a Lake Wallula lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Wallula Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Wallula lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Wallula Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 38,800 acres

Shoreline Length: 242 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 340 feet

Water Volume: 1,350,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1954

Drainage Area: 214,000 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic


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