Washington’s central high desert region is known as the Channeled Scablands. This is where Ice Age floods from Glacial Lake Missoula scoured the region into a maze-like patchwork of canyons, coulees, buttes, and basins. It is estimated that the wall of water that raced across the area was hundreds of feet high, leaving behind such a dramatic landscape that it has been designated one of Washington’s seven wonders. Situated in the largest of these canyons, the 60-mile-long Grand Coulee, a 600-acre butte of volcanic columnar basalt rises 800 feet above Banks Lake. Named Steamboat Rock for its resemblance to a grounded sternwheel boat, the towering formation stands in stark contrast to deep blue lake surrounding it. Located near the base of the rock on its east side, and along the adjacent canyon wall Steamboat Rock State Park preserves this unique landscape for visitors and outdoor lovers to enjoy and explore the rock, lake and surrounding canyon country.
The state park at Steamboat Rock, approximately 100 miles west of Spokane, features two camp areas offering 162 for parking RVs and pitching tents. Most of these sites offer full hookups, but there are also standard sites for tent campers; most sites are open and grassy, with little shade. Parking pads are mostly back-in, with only a limited number of pull-through, and can accommodate vehicles/trailers up to 50 feet. Sites are all equipped with picnic tables and fire rings, and have access to drinking water, flush restrooms, and showers; many sites and facilities are ADA accessible. There are also 12 boat-in sites on the north end of the peninsula, and 80 primitive sites at Jones Bay and Osborn Bay. These locations have vault toilets only, and no water. The park’s seasonal concessionaire carries groceries, firewood, ice, and fishing supplies. The park is open year-round, but water is turned off in the winter. Reservations are accepted for camping from May 15 to Sept. 15, otherwise sites are first-come, first-served. Campsites are $12–$50/night.
The main attraction at Steamboat Rock State Park is, obviously, Steamboat Rock. From the camp area, a 1-mile hiking trail climbs 700 feet to the top of the plateau. From the junction at the top, several more miles of trails branch out across the plateau and offer sweeping views over Banks Lake and the Grand Coulee. Watch for wild turkeys, deer, bobcats, coyotes, hawks and eagles. For more hiking, head for nearby Northrup Canyon, where a 3-mile (one way) trail heads up a colorful side canyon to an old homestead site, then beyond to Northrup Lake. To beat the summer heat, just spend your time at Banks Lake. The day-use area in the park offers sunning and swimming at a sandy beach, and there are sports courts and a kids playground. Several boat launches are available for taking to the lake for paddling, water skiing and fishing for whitefish, walleye, rainbow trout and Kokanee. For some free evening entertainment, just head 12 miles north to the Grand Coulee Dam and catch the nightly laser light show.
Nice clean well maintained park with lots of access to the water. Kinda pricey for full hookup. We booked late in the year so we had to move twice within a 5 day stay. An issue came up that was a real bummer… we needed to move into a site that had a rental trailer on it, and it took a long time for that to get picked up. If you manage to get a site with beach access, do imagine it will be yours. We had a couple of great beach access sites, but both times, younger campers pretty much took over the beach making it uncomfortable to even use.
We visit this camp ground every year. It's a great spot with beautiful views, hiking, and water activities. Our friends bring a boat for water skiing but we also just lounge around the beach. Only drawback is there is usually a burn ban in the summer, so no camp fires, and the showers could.use some attention. We have started camping here in September instead of August like we used to because we've discovered the weather is much more pleasant and it is a lot less busy. The summer can be hot. We make sure to book a spot with shade. Also, pay attention to the lawn watering schedule for your area of the campground. Make sure your stuff is put away before the sprinklers start. This is a great place to stay with a family.
Each site has access to nicely manicured lawn. The lake is a lot of fun and great walleye fishing. The bathrooms are starting to get a little old but bring your own camper for full hook ups! Nice fish cleaning station too
We enjoyed this place alot. We walked over to a nice sandy beach and kids walked aways into water before it got deep. The beach was nice and sandy. We really enjoyed this place. There were wild turkeys that walked right into our camp. We hiked part of the ways up but didnt go all the way.
We camped here September 2016. The river was low this time of year, but that made it nice for the kids to hunt for shells on the beach. The campground has lots of trees planted but they have yet to mature to provide the much needed shade. There is little to no privacy between camp sites, but our camping neighbors were great. There is also a community area that has a cute concession stand, beach, playground, and picnic tables.
Steamboat rock state park and Banks lake are absolutely fantastic places to camp, boat, swim or even just hike. I recently kayaked to a boat in campsite with my friend and made camp on a sandy beach beneath the boat.