Jan. 5, 2019
Just 166 miles east of Seattle is the perfect place to relax and unwind from your stressful, fast-paced life. A Lake Chelan vacation could be the perfect winter getaway that has everything you need for a few days of pure pleasure.
Lake Chelan formed millions of years ago when a glacier-carved valley was flooded with water. It’s more than 50 miles long and less than 2 miles wide in most places and can reach depths of 1,500 feet. It’s the third deepest lake in the U.S. and is the longest natural lake in Washington.
When most people think of the Pacific Northwest, they think rain. When people consider vacationing in Washington, they think Seattle. But if you get away from the city lights, over the mountains you’ll find down-home hospitality is alive and well in the Lake Chelan valley, which boasts 300 days of sunshine each year.
The mountains provide ample opportunities for winter activities, such as skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. And almost any time of the year is the right time for hiking and biking. But that’s just the beginning.
A Lake Chelan vacation is the perfect way to enjoy any activity you choose every day of the year.
Of course, it’s not just lake activities that are calling. No matter what your tastes and preferences in creating a memorable vacation experience, you’ll find all you’re looking for at Lake Chelan.
Visit the Vineyards
When most people plan vineyard vacations in the U.S., they think Napa or Sonoma. But that’s quickly changing. In 2009, Lake Chelan was granted status as the 11th American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Washington. In order to receive this status, an area must go through years of rigorous testing to accumulate geographic, historical, geological, climatic, and soil information to prove it has unique features that differ from surrounding areas. This means that grapes grown right here in the Lake Chelan area have been tested and are determined to have a different structure and different taste then you’ll find anywhere else.
This is what makes it different:
- The soil is unique because of the glaciers that formed around Lake Chelan millions of years ago. The soil is a coarse, sandy sediment with quartz and mica mixed in, giving the grapes a discernible taste and texture.
- The Lake Chelan valley sits at a higher altitude and has a more temperate climate than other AVAs in the area, including the Columbia River AVA.
- The Lake Chelan valley has the “lake effect” that leads to mild and favorable temperatures, a longer growing season, and reduced risk of frost.
Of course, reading about how the grapes are made can only hold your interest for so long. We know you really want to know what kinds of wines you can expect. The good news is because of the industry strength, more wineries and vineyards are popping up every year.
Start planning your Lake Chelan vacation now by mapping out your tour route with these wineries and vineyards.
Lady of the Lake Ferry
Looking for a fun activity that every member of the family will enjoy? Look no further than Lady of the Lake ferry. You’ve never had a wilderness expedition quite like this.
While Lady of the Lake provides year-round enjoyment, it is wise to plan ahead. The ferry operates on a limited schedule in the off-season, which runs October 16 through April 30.
If you do venture out, you won’t be disappointed. Views from the middle of the lake are some of the most stunning in the world.
You’ll also have the opportunity to disembark at Stehekin, a small community located in the North Cascades National Recreation Area. Stehekin means “the way through” in local native American cultures. For local tribes, this area was quite literally the way through as they passed through the mountains on their year-round journeys looking for food.
While there are over 20 miles of roads within this community, you can’t drive there. The only way to get there is by water, float plane, or hiking up and over the mountain trails. The residents rely on boats and barges for everything, including tourists. When they need groceries beyond what the local convenience store offers, they send a grocery list and a blank check to the store in Chelan. It’s then delivered by barge sometime later.
Take the time to do all you can do. The Rainbow Falls day tour offers stunning views and a 312-foot waterfall at the end of your journey. That’s not the only hike, but it is certainly one of the most popular. So if you’re looking for wide open space where another hiking group is hard to find, you might want to take one of the other numerous hikes that offer equally stunning views.
Looking for a little bit of everything? Then consider making reservations for your Lake Chelan vacation during Winterfest. This event takes place at the beginning of the year, right in the heart of winter.
If you’re bringing the family, there will never be a dull moment. The kids will love the live ice carving competition; it’s amazing what people can do with nothing more than a block of ice and a chainsaw. Your Winterfest button also gives you access to the things kids love best: Snowflake Lane, horse and carriage rides, apple bin train rides, and the ice slide. And don’t forget about the evening beach bonfire and fireworks show. It’s the perfect way to close out a magical day.
If you’re coming up as a couple, there’s plenty to do for you, too. Each winery will have tastings to keep you happy all day long. If you want more than wine, check out Alefest, which features more than 20 craft breweries and ciders. There’s live music every night for guests 21 years of age and older. Or you might check out a comedy show for a night of fun and laughter.
If you’re hungry, check out Soupfest, where you can sample soups made from restaurants all around Lake Chelan Valley. Or if you want to wake up right, check out the Battle of the Bloody Mary where you sip and find your favorite.
Stay and Play Awhile
What makes a Lake Chelan vacation even better? When you have all the comforts of home. And what better way to do that than to stay right here at The Lookout, a lakefront community you’re sure to enjoy.
Whether you’re here with the family and need a large home or it’s just the two of you looking for a warm and cozy place, you’ll find what you’re looking for at The Lookout.
We’re surrounded by sweeping views of the lake, orchards, and vineyards. And we’re close to all of the action, meaning you won’t spend time driving. You’ll have more time to play!
How can we help you plan the perfect Lake Chelan winter vacation?