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Reviews and Photos of 4 More Washington State Parks!

I have heard of Electric Avenue.

Electric Ladyland.

Even Electric Light Orchestra.

Now I can add Electric City to that list.


OK, time to put your thinking toque on.

Which of the following is not true regarding the Grand Coulee Dam?

1. It is the largest hydropower producer in the United States.

2. It generates 6,809 megawatts of electricity, providing power to 11 western states. That's more than 3 times the output of the Hoover Dam.

3. During construction, workers consumed over 10 million tacos.

4. It is 550 feet tall and 5,223 feet wide.

5. It is the largest concrete structure in North America.

6. The amount of concrete used could build a sidewalk 4 feet wide, 4 inches thick, and 50,000 miles in length. Enough to circle the earth once.

So which statement is wrong?

The answer is 6. The sidewalk would circle the earth twice.

Dam Grand-Coulee-Dam-1

So after wrapping up my visit to Puget Sound and before checking out three large popular State Parks on the east of side of the Cascades, I tracked down an old friend I had not seen in about 18 years.

Wes is living in Anacortes and wasn't too hard to find.


In this case a brew pub in nearby La Conner.

The community he lives in offers 2 free private campsites to guests.


So we stayed there over a weekend.


With the wonder dog Kiva.


The park was on a great beach and a nearby hill offered spectacular views.

Campsite-View-1 Campsite-View-2 View-1 View-2

Man, I love the scenery up here. Reminds me of Canada. Which it should, seeing as how British Columbia is about a driver, 5 iron, pitching wedge away.

Wes' mom Hap brought by a scrumptious dinner. Fred Approved.


Fred also approved of her dog Bella. I caught them making goo goo eyes at other.


Or maybe Bella was just sizing him up for dessert.

Continuing on with my Northwest tour of campgrounds, I stopped by Lake Chelan State Park.


The campground is on the shore of 50 mile long Lake Chelan, the third deepest lake in North America with depths up to 1,500 feet, and one of the clearest.

It's 138 sites come in a variety of flavors.

1 through 17 have been recently redone to include 50 amp three point hookups, like number 11.


18 through 33 offer water and electricity. I stayed in 19.


34 through 71 are walk in sites that were being upgraded while I was there. 69 and 71 were beautiful lakefront sites.

Lake-Chelan_069 Lake-Chelan_071

Spots 78 through 144 (72-77 seem to have vanished into an alternate universe) offer standard camping, with a couple of exceptions.

85 and 86 have good views while 104 is a short walk to a secluded creekside campsite.

Lake-Chelan_085 Lake-Chelan_086 Lake-Chelan_104

There is a big boat ramp, docks, and a swim beach.

Lake-Chelan-Boat-Ramp Lake-Chelan-Docks Lake-Chelan-Beach

A seasonal store and a big day use area round out the amenities.

Lake-Chelan-Store Lake-Chelan-Day-Use-Area

In my never-ending quest to save money, I tried out powdered Gatorade.


I figure I can add my own water. Took the cost from around a buck to less than a quarter per 32 ounce bottle.

Gatorade-1 Gatorade-2

Silly dog that Fred.


After a breakfast burger we headed a bit north and then east to the Grand Coulee Dam and the south 7 miles to Steamboat Rock.

Breakfast-Burger Steamboat-Rock-Sign

The park covers 3,522 acres with 50,000 feet of shoreline and is one of the most popular parks in the state. Make a reservation in the summer.

It is named after the mysterious steam that emanates from an unknown source deep inside the 800 foot high rock. Scientists remain baffled to this day.

Steamboat-Rock-1 Steamboat-Rock-2

OK, I made that up. Those are clouds. But are they really? Hmmm...

There are 161 places to sleep, 136 offering full hookups. 3 primitive areas are also available within 8 miles of the main campground.

The sites are all good but I managed to pick a few favorites.

OK, more than a few.

How about 35, 37, 86, 90, B17, B32, and B35.

Steamboat-Rock_035 Steamboat-Rock_037 Steamboat-Rock_086 Steamboat-Rock_090 Steamboat-Rock_B017 Steamboat-Rock_B032 Steamboat-Rock_B035

At B35 you can basically just stare at the rock.

If you would prefer to stare from a cabin they have three available.


I really enjoyed my site, B17.


It was next to a hiking trail and a small island.

Steamboat-Rock-Trail Steamboat-Rock-Island

The Grand Coulee Dam is on the Columbia River. Some of the water is diverted to Banks Lake, which surrounds Steamboat Rock.


Which results in great fishing for both warm and cool water fish depending on where you soak your bait.

The park contains a swimming beach, seasonal store and a boat ramp.

Steamboat-Rock-beach Steamboat-Rock-Store Steamboat-Rock-Boat-Ramp

If you have sharp eyes you can see my trailer in this photo.


The area has a Bit O' History.


Excellent campground. One of the best I have visited except for a certain nagging concern about their ice cream that I will explain later.

I headed south 27 miles to Sun Lakes State Park. A neighbor at Steamboat tried to dissuade me from stopping there. He was right.


It did nothing for me. Skip this one if you are in the area.


No pics taken and I drove another 60 miles south to Potholes State Park which my neighbor had recommended.


He was right again.

A well laid out campground with an even mix of hookup and standard sites.

For the former I liked 11, 12, and my site, 59.

Potholes_011 Potholes_012 Potholes_059

The standard sites included 83 and 84, which would be perfect for a pair of families wanted to be on the lakeshore.

Potholes_083 Potholes_084

There is also a nice beach and day use area.

Potholes-Beach Potholes-Day-Use-Area

I don't watch TV, have not done so in the the last few years. There really is no need when nature provides it's own shows.

As David Bowie so aptly phrased it, "Man, I don't need TV when I've got T-Rex."

At Potholes I watched a robin gathering twigs to make a nest. He would pick up one, two, three, and then always try to add one last stick. At that point they all fell out of his beak. He would repeat the process continually.

Robin-1 Robin-2

I am sure there is a life lesson or metaphor there. Let me know what you come up with.

Oh, and for my ice cream concerns at Steamboat Rock, maybe I am overreacting.


Regards and happy camping, Park Ranger


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