Snow Season at Lake Wenatchee State Park

November 2020 — Lake Wenatchee State Park is a favorite destination for every season! Easily accessible, it’s just 110 miles from Seattle (a few miles past Stevens Pass on Highway 2). The park sits on the eastern shore of Lake Wenatchee at 2000 feet above sea level, with breathtaking lake, mountain, and sunset views. In the summer, enjoy 8 miles of trails, a playground, and a beach with swimming and boat access. In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.

From May through October both the North and South campgrounds are open, a total of 197 sites (42 with partial hookups), and reservations are recommended. After the snow starts falling, camping remains available (without hookups) all winter in the South Campground day-use area, which is near the playground, restrooms, covered grills, and warming hut. There’s also a convenient general store and gas station within a couple miles, and Leavenworth is a short 20-minute drive east. Below is a bit more info about our recent 2-night trip to Lake Wenatchee State Park just after the first mountain snowfalls in November 2020.

Pre-Trip Packing

For this trip we decided to bring Kristoff, since his rugged tires and insulated water systems would be capable of withstanding snow and below-freezing temperatures. Anticipating no electricity hookups, we also brought the gasoline-powered generator and 5gal of gas to keep batteries charged. Our packing list was rounded out by a fridge full of food, firewood, winter boots/clothes, and an emergency kit with sleeping bags and extra food. For our tow vehicle we decided to rent a 4wd pickup from Enterprise Truck Rental to ensure we were prepared for any weather conditions over the pass.

Getting There

Our trip from Redmond to Wenatchee State Park on Saturday afternoon took about 2 1/2 hours, there was some slow-going with snow and ice over the pass but traffic was minimal. We arrived at the State Park around 4pm as the sun was getting low. It took a few minutes to find the winter camping area: you need to go to the South Campground, and park in the day use lot on your left after pulling in. You’ll know you’ve found the right spot if you see the signpost with a paybox and information about winter camping. We setup on the southwest corner of the lot, with Kristoff’s door facing the playground, lake, and snowfield. Nobody else was camping, however there were one or two other families using the day use area. Parking was easy in the open lot, and Kristoff’s powered stabilizers and prox lights made unhooking and leveling in the growing darkness easy.

Time for Fun!

First things first, right after arrival the kids got out and enjoyed some fresh snow! Being late fall the snow was only about 8″ deep, but that was plenty for snowballs, snowforts, snowmen, and everything else! There were also some nice deep piles where the rangers had plowed the parking lot. We turned on Kristoff’s external lighting to brighten the night over the snowfield, and extended the powered awning about 3 feet to provide an area by the door free from falling snow.

Over the course of the weekend a few more inches of snow fell, and everyone had a great time playing outside, running around the playground, sledding down a forest hillside, and exploring the beach/trails near the lake. The park was rarely empty but never busy – at any given time there were typically one or two other families using the dayuse facilities and playing outside. We took plenty of breaks from playing outside to warmup inside or with the nearby campfire pits. On the last evening we setup chairs under the park’s covered stone shelter and built a fire in the large outdoor fireplace. Since we were there in late fall we were too early for the full SnoPark to open up, which would include a larger sledding hill and more groomed trails.

Cozy and Warm!

Kristoff had no trouble keeping us warm, even as the weather outside dipped down to 30 degrees. Its a bit counter-intuitive, but keeping a window cracked and using the vent fans while cooking helped control the humidity inside. Over the weekend we ended up using about 10lbs of propane (out of 40lb onboard) for the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, and stovetop. We also ran the gasoline generator (also available for rent as a Package option) about 2 hours a day to keep the batteries topped off. Water and trashcans were a short walk away near the restrooms. On the way home Monday evening we dumped Kristoff’s waste water tanks (which were less than half full) at the free dumpsite at Silver Lake.

Ready to Try It Yourself?

Checkout availability of our modern, clean, and fully-equipped rentals! Any of our vehicles would work great for 3-season camping, but you’ll need to pick Kristoff if the temperatures will be dipping down to freezing. Contact us anytime by email or phone with questions – happy camping!