Chelan is the gateway to America’s most extraordinary big lake. The little town is situated among many apple orchards along the sunny eastern end of Lake Chelan, the largest lake in Washington, and one of the deepest in the world. Remarkably, the western end of the long, narrow lake is surrounded by glacier-clad peaks, lush pine forests, clear streams and waterfalls in the magnificent North Cascades. Mining and lumber brought settlers here in the 1880s, but apple growing and tourism became the economic mainstays.
Today, the lake’s great reach gives Chelan a special closeness to an enormous complex of national parks, forests, and recreation areas beyond the towering mountain backdrop. In town, every imaginable water activity can be enjoyed during hot dry summer days, thanks to tidy shoreline parks with sandy beaches, numerous marinas, and a major waterslide park. Downtown has a limited but growing assortment of shops, restaurants, and nightlife, and there are fine lakefront lodgings.
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