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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lake Roosevelt in Washington

Lake Roosevelt, also known as Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt, is an incredible destination to explore in the great state of Washington. This beautiful lake is situated along the Columbia River and offers breathtaking views, amazing wildlife, and plenty of activities to enjoy.


In this guide, we'll provide an overview of all the best things to do and see at Lake Roosevelt so you can make the most of your trip.



Location

Lake Roosevelt, also known as Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt, is located in the state of Washington in the United States. It is a large reservoir that was created by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.


The lake stretches from the Canada-U.S. border to just above the town of Coulee City. It offers ample opportunities for visitors to explore its serene waters, including hiking, fishing, boating, and more.


For those looking for a little more adventure, there are also plenty of Lake Roosevelt trails and hikes that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.



History

Lake Roosevelt, also known as Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt, is the reservoir created in 1941 by the impoundment of the Columbia River by the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state. It is named after Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was president during the construction of the dam.


The lake covers 125 square miles and stretches about 150 miles from the Canadian border to Grand Coulee Dam. It has over 600 miles of shoreline.

Lake Roosevelt View
A lovely view of Lake Roosevelt

The lake was unofficially referred to as "Columbia Lake" and "Empire Lake" by local newspapers but was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake on April 17, 1945, five days after the death of President Roosevelt.


Today, it is the home of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, which offers visitors plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like boating, camping, and hiking.



Things to Do

Visiting Lake Roosevelt, also known as Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Washington, offers plenty of activities to enjoy and explore. From fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking to camping, picnicking, and wildlife viewing, the lake has something for everyone.


Fishing

Fishing at Lake Roosevelt is popular among anglers, and the lake is home to several species of fish, including walleye, bass, crappie, perch, and catfish. You’ll need a valid Washington State fishing license to legally fish here.


Boating

Boating is a great way to explore the lake, and there are several launch ramps located around the lake. Motorized boats, kayaks, and canoes are allowed.

Lake Roosevelt Pano
A beautiful panorama of Lake Roosevelt


There are several trails and hikes around Lake Roosevelt that offer stunning views of the lake and its surroundings. Popular hikes include:

  • The Hawk Creek Trail (1.2 miles long)

  • Kettle Falls Recreation Area Trail (5 miles long)

  • Saint Paul's Mission Trail (0.5 miles long)

Camping is one of the best ways to experience Lake Roosevelt, and there are a number of campgrounds located around the lake. There are both developed and primitive sites available, so you can choose your preferred style of camping. Some of our favorites are listed out below.


Wildlife Viewing

The lake offers a chance to observe some of Washington’s native wildlife, including deer, bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, and other birds. Be sure to bring binoculars and a camera!



Picnicking

Picnic areas located around Lake Roosevelt provide the perfect place to take a break and enjoy the lake views. Many of these spots have grills, picnic tables, and bathrooms available.

Lake Roosevelt
Lake Roosevelt and Grand Coulee Dam

Camping at Lake Roosevelt

Here are a few of Traverse the PNW's recommendations for campsites at Lake Roosevelt:



Hunters Campground

This campground is on the north shore of the lake and is popular with visitors. It's common to find the campground populated by fishermen and families. Near the campground, you can also find a boat launch. In total, there are 37 sites to choose from.


Amenities

Here are the amenities you can expect to find at the campground:

  • Fire pits

  • Drinking water

  • Flush toilets

  • Picnic tables

  • Campground host


Camp Na-Bor-Lee

The unusually named Camp Na-Bor-Lee is a nearby campground that is well-suited to large groups and families. The campground is known for its educational features and its position near the lake. There are only 10 campsites in the campground.


Amenities

Here are the amenities you can expect to find at the campground:

  • Swimming area

  • Kitchen with eating area

  • Showers

  • Toilets

  • Picnic tables

  • Lake access


Cloverleaf Beach Campground

Cloverleaf Beach Campground is another Roosevelt Lake campground. It's walk-in only and is less popular than other campgrounds in the area. It's quite small with only 7 sites for tents.


Amenities

Here are the amenities you can expect to find at the campground:

  • Toilets

  • Picnic tables

  • Fire pits


Tips for Visiting

1. Pack the essentials: When visiting Lake Roosevelt, it is important to be prepared. Make sure to bring sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, and plenty of water.

2. Explore the trails: There are many hiking trails around Lake Roosevelt, so take the time to explore. Be sure to bring a map or GPS device with you.

3. Take in the views: Lake Roosevelt is known for its beautiful scenery and wildlife. Make sure to take time to stop and take in the views.

4. Camping: If you plan on camping while visiting Lake Roosevelt, there are plenty of campgrounds available in the area. Be sure to bring a tent and all the necessary supplies.

5. Visit the Visitors Center: Visit the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area Visitor Center to learn more about the area's history and culture.

6. Boat and Fish: If you plan on fishing or boating, you will need to acquire a permit before engaging in these activities.


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