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A Guide to Visiting Steamboat Rock State Park

Steamboat Rock State Park is one of the most unique and beautiful locations in Washington state. Located in the south-central part of the state, the park is a 6,000-acre oasis of geology, wildlife, and recreation. The park includes a unique peninsula that's home to several miles of hiking trails and the small Thompson Lake. To the east and west of the park are Banks Lake Wildlife Area and Castle Rock Natural Area.

The park boasts a 200-foot-tall basalt formation called Steamboat Rock (which you can see in many of the photos below), the area is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise.

Location and Hours

Steamboat Rock State Park is located near the city of Electric City in Grant County, Washington. The park is nestled in the Grand Coulee region and offers a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities. It is open year-round from 8 am to dusk, though certain campgrounds are only open seasonally.

Visitors to the park must have a Discover Pass to park their vehicles. The Discover Pass is $30 a year or $5 a day and you'll find pay stations in the state park.

The park offers plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, boating, fishing, and more. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll around Steamboat Rock State Park or an adventurous steamboat rock state park hike, there is something here for everyone.

Steamboat Rock State Park_
Steamboat Rock State Park at sunset

Things to Do

Steamboat Rock State Park in Washington offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and interests. There are 13 miles of hiking trails, 13 miles of bike trails, 10 miles of horse trails, 300+ feet of dock, and much more. Here are some of the many activities you can enjoy at this underrated state park:

  • Boating

  • Fishing

  • Swimming

  • Bird watching

  • Snowshoeing in winter

  • Sports (basketball, volleyball)

  • Hiking

  • Mountain biking

Steamboat Rock State Park Viewing area
Steamboat Rock State Park viewing area

Steamboat Rock State Park Hikes

Just south of the Grand Coulee Dam is the 5,000-acre Steamboat Rock State Park. If you're hoping to come hike here, the park is open every day from 6:30 to dusk. Here are a few of Traverse the PNW's recommendations for hikes in the area:

Steamboat Rock Trail

This is the most popular hike in the park. It's not the hardest and not the easiest. It's 4 miles with around 1,000 feet of elevation gain so anyone hoping to do it should make sure they have the right shoes and enough water to complete the whole loop.

The trail takes hikers around the central part of the park with near-constant views of the river. You can even look across to Eagle Rock and Barker Butte. Plus, there are views of the Castle Rock Natural Area Preserve.

Northup Canyon

Northup Canyon is another very popular hike in the state park. The hike is slightly longer than the Steamboat Rock Trail, reaching 6 miles. But, there is less elevation gain, only 800 feet or so. It's an out-and-back trail that will take you from the park along the Northup Canyon to the small Northup Lake.

Banks Lake Trail

The Banks Lake Canyon is an easier option for those hoping to explore Steamboat Rock State Park by hiking. It's only 1.2 miles and gains less than 200 feet so it's suitable for most people. The trial is just to the east of the Steamboat Rock Trail so you can even combine Banks Lake with the larger trail.


Steamboat Rock State Park is located on Banks Lake in Grant County, Washington. There are seven watercraft launches at three different locations within the park, and there is 320 feet of dock space available for boat handling.

Steamboat Rock State Park Sun

A permit is required to launch a boat at Steamboat Rock State Park, but once you have it, you can explore the lake and enjoy a wide range of activities including fishing, swimming, kayaking, or just relaxing on the lake.

Tips for Visiting

1. Bring your own supplies for camping or day trips. Steamboat Rock State Park does not provide food, firewood, or other camping supplies.

2. Make sure you check the weather before you go to Steamboat Rock State Park. The weather can be unpredictable and you want to be prepared for any conditions.

3. If you plan on doing any hikes or other outdoor activities at Steamboat Rock State Park, wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and shoes.

4. Be aware of the wildlife in the area. Keep a respectful distance from any animals that you encounter and don’t feed them.

5. If you plan on doing any steamboat rock state park camping, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations before you arrive.

6. Take advantage of all the things to do at steamboat rock state park - there are plenty of trails, beaches, and scenic views to explore.

7. Don’t forget to bring a camera! There are so many stunning sights to capture at Steamboat Rock State Park.

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