Lake Wenatchee, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - North Central Washington -

Lake Wenatchee is a high mountain lake located in the Wenatchee National Forest in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. Fed by the Little Wenatchee River, White River, and snow runoff from the surrounding mountains, Lake Wenatchee drains into the Wenatchee River. Wenatchee is derived from a local Indian tribe, Wenatchi, which means “river which comes from canyons.”

Native American tribes camped at Lake Wenatchee during their hunting and trading trips west with coastal tribes. The tribes hunted, fished, picked berries and rested to prepare for the rest of their journey. History states that while visiting a camp at Lake Wenatchee, a Native American hunter bragged that he and another had killed two white men and it is believed that this event is what triggered the Yakima Indian War.

The southern and southwestern shores of Lake Wenatchee are managed by the United States Forest Service. The eastern end is the mouth of the Wenatchee River and the location of Lake Wenatchee State Park. There is a YMCA camp located on the north side of the lake. The north shore of Lake Wenatchee is most popular for residential development because it faces south and gets more sunshine during the shorter days of winter. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce states that the lake is “now being noticed as the ideal place to relocate and do business because their residents enjoy a lower cost of living due to low cost utility charges, minimum commutes to great jobs and shopping which reduces gasoline consumption, and a beautiful year round location for many recreational activities.”

Geographically, Lake Wenatchee is located in a transition zone between the drier pine and fir trees of the eastern Cascades of Washington and the wet western Washington woodlands. Covered with cedar, Douglas fir, hemlocks, maple, Ponderosa pine and mixed with the colorful daisies, orchids, wild roses, and foxgloves, spring and summer offer a beautiful setting of vibrant shades. With an average snowfall of over 150 inches, this same view changes dramatically to pristine whiteness during the winter months.

Lake Wenatchee State Park has more than 12,000 feet of waterfront activities, and is divided by the Wenatchee River into a north and south section. The South Park offers areas for camping, a beach with roped-off swimming area, and a public boat dock. The North Park is a less developed forested section for those wanting more primitive accommodations. Summertime visitors enjoy boating, jet skiing, canoeing, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing, hiking, horseback riding, camping, and picnicking. The South Park allows winter camping from November 15 to April 1 with heated restrooms and hot showers available. During the snowy months, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and ice climbing are available at the park. The entire Lake Wenatchee State Park is a natural wildlife area, and visitors should always be alert for the presence of bears and other natural dangers.

Glacier View Campground is operated by the National Forest Service and is located on the south shore of Lake Wenatchee. Facilities for the campsites and RV sites include drinking water, pit toilets, garbage service and the only other public boat launch besides Lake Wenatchee State Park. Glacier View Campground also offers easy access to many hiking trails around the lake.

Lake Wenatchee is gaining popularity for windsurfing during April through October. Because Lake Wenatchee is not dammed and mountain snow runoff is occurring during the period of April through June, enthusiasts warn that the water can get high, creating a serious current in the water combined with the windy conditions that are typical for Lake Wenatchee.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages the sockeye salmon fishery. Spawning sockeye travel up fish ladders along the Columbia River to Lake Wenatchee, their final destination. WDFW opens the lake as a harvest fishery when sockeye numbers exceed the 25,000 to 28,000 necessary to sustain the fishery, so anglers eagerly anticipate the sockeyes’ journey up-river.

Lake Wenatchee boasts to have it all! Why not come for a visit today?

Things to do at Lake Wenatchee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Climbing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Wenatchee

  • Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon

Lake Wenatchee Photo Gallery

Lake Wenatchee Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,480 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,875 feet

Average Depth: 147 feet

Maximum Depth: 244 feet

Water Volume: 364,560 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 273 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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