Dates Of Stay: August 2015
Lake Wenatchee State Park is in a beautiful setting on Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River, five miles from Plain, Washington, near Leavenworth. The southern portion of the park is on the lake and designated for tents and smaller trailers. Some of the campsites even have water views. There is a large beach and a small store, including kayak rentals. You can also take horseback rides.
Attending a wedding in the Leavenworth area in early August, I logged on to the Washington State Parks website in February to reserve a site. Only one site was available; site 155. Take it from me and do not book site 155.
The northern part of the park is purported to be for larger motorhomes, yet curiously all sites in the center of the north campground have no amenities. I sat in my 34-foot motorhome with no hookups, gazing out with envy at tent campers across the way with power and water. (There are no sewer hook ups; a dump station costs five dollars.) Thankfully Nellie is self-contained, with a fresh water tank, gray water and black water tanks, house batteries and a generator.
None of the sites in the northern part of the park have water views, but you can walk down to the lake from your campsite in about eight minutes. While there are plenty of trees around the campsites, they do not create privacy. The campers are really packed in, up close and personal. The restrooms are serviceable, and include two showers which cost $.25 for three minutes. The water pressure was strong and the water was hot.
Many of the reviews I read about the park complained about the mosquitoes, but in early August I encountered only a few. Incidentally, I find it sad and ridiculous that reviewers would give the park one star because of mosquitoes. Exactly what is a park supposed to do about that? No, the park was not mosquito-ridden by August, but it was overrun with what appeared to be chipmunks! Boss Tweed ran from one side of the dash to the other, then back to the side windows, chirping the way cats do when they are ready to pounce on prey. We saw one of the little critters run up my car’s undercarriage; I don’t know if they will do damage to vehicles the way rats can, but forewarned is forearmed.
Mosquitoes aside, I would give the park three out of five stars. It left a lot to be desired when it comes to larger motorhome camping. There are huge boulders around the campsites designed to deter people from parking their vehicles there, but those boulders proved to be quite a challenge for backing in a large RV. My site was allegedly for an RV up to 40 feet long, but at 34 feet long I cannot see how any 40-foot motorhome would maneuver around those rocks. I myself didn’t quite make it, scraping the passenger fender.
On the last night in the park a camper approached my picnic table and asked me to turn off the generator. It was 7:30 PM. I told him I would abide by park rules and shut down the generator no later than 10 PM, which is the beginning of quiet hours, but I generally turn off the generator at around 9 PM. I explained I had no electrical hook ups, and running the generator helped charge my batteries for the evening. He replied that he was trying to give his two daughters a “real outdoor experience” by tent camping, and he did not want them to go to sleep to the sound of a generator. I replied that in the future he would want to camp in the southern part of the park to avoid the bigger rigs. Needless to say, he left our encounter unsatisfied.
I turned off the Jenny at 9 PM, which allowed the man and his daughters to listen to the loud voices, even louder music, and raucous laughter of a super-sized family reunion. Now that’s an authentic outdoor experience!
Tammy’s Tip: If you are towing a vehicle behind your Class A motorhome, the park ranger may attempt to collect a $10 per day parking fee from you. (Even though I had a Discover Pass, the Ranger explained the pass is good only for daytime parking and not for overnight at a campsite.) Explain that the car is a towed vehicle, and there is no additional fee.