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Banks Lake Washington State - A Great Place for Camping,Fishing and Boating in WA

Updated on May 24, 2011

Camping Along a 9 million Acre-feet of Water Lake

As part of our research for the series “Simply a Day of Camping in Style”, my husband and I joined two of our best friends at Banks Lake. We had not been camping for over 15 years and were a bit hesitant... but our friends Tom and Jill took us under their wing and we had a great time.

Banks Lake is a wonderland - filled with geological canyons tempered by modern man’s ingenuity. Easily accessed from many places, the lake provides wonderful spots for picnicking, fishing, boat launching, water sports and swimming.

Banks Lake is part of the Grand Coulee Dam hydroelectric project. On tour we were told that Grand Coulee Dam is considered the 8th wonder of the world and is made from 12 million cubic yards of concrete. This makes this dam the third largest hydroelectric facility in the world. The reservoir created by the dam, contains over 9 million acre-feet of water and stretches over 150 miles.

The Grand Coulee Dam was built to accomplish three goals - generate electricity, provide flood control and irrigation. The irrigation project which created Banks Lake was completed after the Second World War.

Banks Lake is named after Frank A. Banks, chief construction engineer of Grand Coulee dam. It is bounded by the coulee walls on the east and west and by dams on the north and south. The lake is 27 miles in length and runs from the city of Grand Coulee in the north to Coulee City in the south. It contains 1,275,000 acre ft of water.

We stayed at Steamboat Rock, a campground run by Washington State Parks Department. It was lovely - filled with large private campsites. Many of these sites sit on the shoreline and have places to tie boats. In this state park there are many hiking trails, places to swim and a large boat launch. It is a very roomy park and open all year round.

As we toured the lake via boat and car I noticed many other places to camp and stay. On the north end is Sunbanks, a delightful lodge which frequently has live music and sponsors many festivals throughout the year.

For those who fish, the lake has an abundance. Some we caught were bass, perch, and catfish. Banks Lake is home to many birds and animals - making it a very enjoyable place to just chill and see who comes visiting!


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    • profile image

      Spectacular Gull Lake Home 

      8 years ago

      Being that I am from Central MN, I can appreciate the beauty of the lake. We have mine pits here that look similar (except for the color of the lake), the mining companies emptied pits, left behind their stuff, and now we have 150' deep lakes which are, for the most part, unexplored.

      Your post really makes me want to pack up and visit Washington.

    • GPSWorldTraveler profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Lauri, I am in the room, you could have asked me that question - Silly girl :) GPSWT

    • GPSWorldTraveler profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I am sitting in Las vegas thinking a trip to that lake may be mighty fine. Any other places that you have found that are that pretty? Lauri

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      what kind of fish was that?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Makes me, a non-camper, go camping!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Have been to Banks lake a wonderful place for a getaway. The fishing is great and scenery is spectacular. Nice article good representation of the lake experience.


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