Largest Lake in Washington State

Covering more than 50 miles, Lake Chelan is the largest naturally formed lake in Washington State. This large landform is nestled within the North Cascades National Forest in the central portion of the state. Spanning from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Canadian Border, Lake Roosevelt is the largest man-made lake in Washington. Both of these large waterways are popular tourist destinations in the state.

Lake Chelan

According to Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Lake Chelan is a glacier-fed lake that spans 50.5 miles. At its widest point, Lake Chelan is 1.5 wide and nearly 1,500 feet at its deepest point. The roughly 100 glaciers that dot the Cascade Mountains drain into the lake. The incorporated town of Chelan lies along the southeast end of the lake and is home to approximately 4,000 residents.

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) calls Lake Chelan "the largest natural lake in Washington." Anglers choose Lake Chelan for its abundance of kokanee, rainbow trout and mackinaw. WDFW stocks the lake with triploid landlocked Chinook salmon fry, which offer anglers another reason to cast their lines. This popular fishing destination is ideally located near Lake Chelan State Park and 25 Mile Creek State Park.

Lake Chelan State Park covers 127 acres near the south shore of Lake Chelan. The park's official website states "the lake was carved by two competing glaciers, the Chelan Glacier and the continental ice sheet." This movement also formed the lake's shape, which is narrow at the upper portion and broad at the lower part. The sandy beaches and natural coniferous forest that encompass the lake draws thousands of visitors to the area annually.

Lake Roosevelt

Formed from the construction of Grand Coulee Dam, Lake Roosevelt is a man-made feature located near Spokane, Washington. Named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the lake is situated above the dam on the Columbia River, and extends upstream to the Canadian border. Washington State artist Barb Bentler describes Lake Roosevelt as one of the "largest lakes in Washington State, with over 630 miles of shoreline." The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is one of the lake's most popular recreational features.

After the damming of the Columbia River in 1941, Lake Roosevelt was formed, and thus the creation of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. The recreational area's website describes the area as an ideal place for many outdoor activities, including boating, fishing and camping. The one-mile Mission Point Trail extends through the area, offering hikers a glimpse into Kettle Falls's history. The historic town of Kettle Falls is home to the oldest standing church known on the upper Columbia River.

According to the Lake Roosevelt Forum, Lake Roosevelt extends over 150 miles and stores roughly nine million square feet of water behind the dam. The lake's water depth averages 400 feet near the dam then drops to roughly 14 feet near Canada's border. The lake is fed from glacial ice, precipitation and other water sources, including the Columbia and Spokane Rivers. Due to its immense size, the Grand Coulee Dam has named Lake Roosevelt as the "largest man made body of water in the state of Washington."

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