Small town Chelan is located at the tail-end of the eponymous lake, east of the Cascades and south of the Okanogan National Forest. With mild temperatures and 55 miles of recreational water, the area is an understandably popular destination during summer months; less so when the icy sabers of winter render this a white wonderland though for this seasonably cold reception expect to find the place picture-pretty year-round.
One of the deepest lakes in America, Lake Chelan is slow to warm to swimming temperatures, but recreational boaters and fisherman aren't usually deterred - prepare to reel in salmon, trout, bass or burbot or plan to book a guide for some angling time on the Columbia River if you don't have access to your own boat. And for those hoping to make the day's catch into something a little more like the week's catch, find plenty of campsites on offer at the Chelan end of the lake where you can grill up dinner within a stone's throw of your tent space while whiling away a good bit of your summer holiday.
On Lake Chelan, there are a variety of ways to test out your lake-legs. Rent sailboats, canoes and ski boats at the marina if you didn't think to pack your own watercraft along, or take a sight-seeing trip ship-side around the lake for a better look at the shore and perspective on its namesake town. Looking for a break from the water? Steer for the 12-mile loop that meanders up past Lake Chelan into the foot-hills and blossoming apple orchards which frame this stretch of blue with color and life.
Mountain biking has continued to increase in popularity in the Chelan area. Less strenuous options follow paved and trafficked roads, while trails through the nearby hills offer varied terrain, views and relative solitude.
Chelan is just over 180 miles east of Seattle, and about 20 miles north of Leavenworth.