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April 23, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Lake Chelan Beaches

It’s no secret that Lake Chelan gives us some of the best boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities in the state. You can also add beachcombing to that list of lake activities! The beaches are hidden by water for most of the year, and as the water levels rise and fall, the lake physically changes shape through the seasons, creating a different shoreline experience. In spring months, the water level drops about 10 feet lower, creating real beaches in a few locations along the lake. Don’t miss your chance to meander along these sandy stretches. Here is everything you need to know about Lake Chelan beaches:

Beachcombing Basics

lake chelanGrab your metal detector, your bucket, or just your running shoes: however you like to explore the beaches is fine with us! Look for unique rocks and shells, and take a moment to appreciate the shades of blue you can see as the water gets deeper. Here are a few of our favorite beaches—and our “secret” beach running route.

There is no telling what you’ll find whenever you explore these beautiful beaches. Don’t think that just because Chelan is land-locked means that you can’t enjoy a day soaking up the sun and laying on a beach.

Lake Levels

There’s more to the lake level than meets the eye! The rise and fall of the lake’s water levels occur naturally as the seasons and weather conditions change. Additionally, the lake level is affected by the Lake Chelan Dam, in a carefully managed process that attempts to balance needs for recreation, protecting fish and wildlife, and power and water usage.

In a normal year, the lake level ranges from 1,064 to 1,100 feet above sea level. This can change depending on weather factors like rainfall or early or late snowmelt, as well as different project needs or energy market conditions, all monitored by the Chelan PUDBefore you make a plan to spend the day on the beach, make sure you check the water levels!

Hydro History

wells damLake Chelan has been an important part of the areas of hydroelectric resources since the 1890s. Early dams were built on the outlet of the lake on the tiny Chelan River, originally to provide water for real estate development and navigation to the city of Chelan. The first dams were all washed out by flooding.

In the early 1900s, a dam was built for creating power, and Chelan officially had “the lights turned on” in 1903. In 1927, the Lake Chelan Hydro Project was completed, creating the dam and powerhouse used today. As we use the lake as our favorite recreation and relaxation spot, it’s nice to remember how it helped to create the city of Chelan—and how important it still is today!

Now that you know more about the Lake Chelan beaches, you can make a plan to visit one of these natural beauties on your next vacation. Still looking for a place to stay? Check out all of our Lake Chelan vacation rentals at The Lookout and find one that fits your needs!