Kachess Campground sits just off the forested northwest shore of Kachess Lake in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Set in dense old-growth conifer forest and surrounded by high mountains, Kachess Campground is considered one of the most beautiful sites in the Cle Elum Ranger District.
Kachess is a prime location for fishing, swimming, boating, paddling and mountain biking in summer and early fall.
The campground is also a great base camp for day-hikers and overnight backpackers. Several access trails from the area give hikers the chance to create their own excursions, whether it be a day hike or an overnight trip.
Starting at the campground, the Kachess Lake Trail is a short loop next to the lake, enjoyable for hikers of all levels.
Anglers enjoy fishing for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon from boat or shoreline. Box Canyon Creek is closed to all fishing from the mouth, 2-miles up to the falls. Check current WDFW fishing regulations for additional restrictions.
Kachess Lake Campground offers 150 sites that accommodate both tent and RV camping, including one designated group site that can accommodate up to 50 guests. The group site and 106 single family sites are available for reservation, and the rest are available on a first-come first-serve basis. Sites are equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings with grills, vault toilets. Drinking water is available. There are no electric hookups. One motorized boat launch, one non-motorized boat launch, a swimming area and picnic areas are also available to visitors.
Towering peaks, high-country lakes and old-growth forests provide visitors with a variety of landscapes. Kachess Lake, adjacent to the campground, is a reservoir that stores and provides water for irrigation for south-central Washington. The surrounding undeveloped wilderness, clean streams and diverse forests support an abundance of wildlife, including deer, porcupine, native fish and migratory birds.
The spectacular Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) can be accessed near the campground. One of the world's premier National Scenic Trails, it showcases some of North America's most fantastic scenery as it winds its way from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.
ADA Access: N
Beautiful spot, blackberries and blueberries were in season and just outside the tent. Nice trails leading to the lake, but noticed in a few spots you were walking through what felt like someone else’s campsite. Flush toilets and running water in a centrally located bathroom. It’s a large campground.
It's been our favorite campground for years, but recently last year, the park removed all the flushing toilets, and replaced with vaulted toilets!
- Close to Seattle about 1.5 hr - 2 hrs away depending on traffic.
- It has numbers of walk-in sites with great access to the lake.
- Lots of loop for kids to ride bike and explore.
- Great access to many hiking trail near by like Pacific Crest Trail(PCT) can be accessed near the campground and Racheal Lake trail head is only 15 mins drive away.
- Great for kayak, canoe, paddle board, or just chill and swim in the lake.
- Friendly rangers and comp hosts.
- Campground is always clean.
- Most campsites have great privacy, you are not right on top of your neighbor.
- Most loops within a walking distance to lake access except Beargrass loop.
- Hardly cell phone service is a plus for us, unless you are at the beach or boat launches.
- Vaulted toilets … (we don't mind vaulted toilets, but it used to have flushing toilets until 2017).
- Very busy, hard to make get a reservation. Most walk-in campsites will be filled up by Friday morning.
- In 2018, camp hosts no longer sell firewood (not sure if this still the case). We used to be able to get firewoods on the way in, but the last 2 times we went there this year, no one is selling firewood outside of the campground either. We had to drive to Easton to get firewood.
- Dogs are not allow at the main beach (most campgrounds now have this rules but there aren't many off to the side area where dogs can hang out and you can watch your kids at the same time). Although some camp hosts do not enforce this rule, until the beach gets really busy.
This campground is located on the small side of the lake where there is a lot of nice views and places to swim. I loved all the trails and walking paths to travel down. My only complaints would be that there is limited sandy parts to swim and that we could hear people speeding around and yelling out on their motor boats up until 2am.
You can enter into the park through the gate and camp right on the lake or turn just before the gate and hit some free spots! Best of both worlds! The lake is the perfect swimming temperature during the summer!
This camp ground was well laid out and very easy to find my camping site. The Camp sides had good space separating them. oh and the bathrooms didn’t smell. I loved staying here.
I won't expound on all the reviews. This campground is magnificent and a jewel for our state but there are a couple flies in the ointment (or citronella candle, if you will).
First is the walk-up or "first come-first served" service advertised by the forest service for this site. One loop (of about four total, I think) is devoted to walk-up campers, no advanced registration. This is a valuable service as many of our lives don't fit with weekend get-aways planned nine months in advance. Week-long vacations, yes! But, this wonderful spot is less than an hour from a major metropolitan area. It's packed every weekend during the short summer months of our state. It's really great that Cle Elum ranger district understands this and TRIES to accommodate it's visitor's needs. People willing to take a Friday off from work and drive up in the morning should be able to do so with a reasonable chance of getting a spot for the weekend.
Now for the issue… Many campers have figured out a little hack into the system. I drove up to the site early on a Friday to find about half of the walk-up spots paid for and reserved but completely UNOCCUPIED. No gear, no vehicle, nothing. I looked at the reservation slips on the posts to see the spots had been reserved in some case two or three days previously for nearly a week stretch. Several other sites it was the same story but a car was parked in the spot, an empty car. No gear, no tent, nothing. This was at 8 AM, mind you! The campground has rules about occupancy after paying for a walk-up site to try and counter people usurping their reservation system. I complained to the person stationed at the campground entry post. She said that despite the posted rules, they had been directed to honor reservations paid for walk-up spots, no matter if they are occupied or not. It's sad but unless you are willing to take a little drive from your place in the Seattle-Tacoma area on a Wednesday night and pay for a "first come-first served" spot for four nights turn around and drive back and then in again on Friday night with your party, you are out of luck in July and August at this lovely resort.
A second issue is the Bureau of Reclamation is planning a huge project for Kachess reservoir. Climate change has lead to annual drought and extreme fire hazard in the Yakima River and Kittitas Valleys. The project will result in the reservoir being lowered by up to 80 feet in the summer! This would render the boat launch at this resort useless and seriously impact the enjoyment of site. Stay tuned for more developments.
This is a big campground with lots of access to trails and water. We were there on a Sunday and Monday nights in July and pretty much had the place to ourselves, which surprised me. I imagine that on weekend nights it could get full. But it's nicely laid out, and lots of the sites have easy access to the lake, which is fun.
We love this site. We go there every year. There really is a lot to do. My sister in law takes her Jeeps and we go off roading there are so many trails to explore. The kids love the lake. Just an FYI… There are flush toilets in one of the campgrounds, but many have pit toilets. It can be really hard to find a site here. They book up quickly. We went last year to find a place in the campground and it was full. There is quite a bit of dispersed camping near the park if you are good with primitive. There was a really cool site up the dirt road to the left of the park with a pretty well developed site by a little stream. You have to take a narley little road to the left. But my minivan made it to the first part.
Because this site is so close to the Seattle-Metro area, it can get a little over-crowded at times. Reserve in advance for best campsites and guarantee of availability! We always stayed at the large group sites (here I am complaining about the crowds yet being the source of it! YEESH!) Plenty of space, a quick car ride to a sweet swimmin' hole with ability to jump off of rocks, but the best part is Lake Kachess. You are never a far walk from the beach and it is perfection!
Incredible spot with memorable views. This park is amazing to explore and the campground lets you stay close to the beauty. There are a few loops within walking distance of the beach that are best, otherwise you may have to take a longer walk to get to the water. It was mostly full in April a few years ago, but didn’t feel crowded, and it was extremely well maintained. Hiking, kayaking, swimming, etc. nearby. Close to long trails if you’re doing day hikes or backpacking.