Happy uhhh…Tuesday…friends! I feel weird putting up a post on Tuesday instead of Monday, but I decided to spend the last true weekend of summer soaking up time with my family and spending Labor Day weekend at Kachess Lake. Ryan’s block leave ended, and he’s officially back to work today. We also officially have a Kindergartener as of today, and Porter is in his final year of preschool, which is just madness to me! So, needless to say, as the business and reality of real life comes to a head this week, we prioritized family time and fun together before the chaos commenced.
Since we’ve been making a point of exploring all the areas around JBLM and what they have to offer, I knew we wanted to spend one of the final real sunny weekends of summer around a lake. We’d originally planned a hike, but most of the hiking spots I have on my list right now are still packed. So, we decided to opt for something a little different. After doing some research on a number of different outdoor sites, I came across Kachess Lake, hailed as one of the lesser-known gems of the Snoqualmie region. Located in Cle Elum, Lake Kachess is truly a diamond in the rough, and I’m so immensely glad we were able to spend Labor Day weekend at Kachess Lake together with some great friends.
If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know that most of the areas around Rainier have been filling up fast, and I didn’t want to risk not being able to get a spot by the lake, so we headed out early on Sunday morning, leaving just before 9 AM. Kachess Lake is only about an hour and a half from JBLM, so I knew that if we played our cards right, we might just make it to the lake before the midday rush. Kachess Lake is known for its campground, so we knew that part of the area would be filled by campers, and we crossed our fingers we’d be allowed in for day use only. As luck would have it, there is one petite overflow lot at the campground that allowed about 15 cars in, and we made it just before the rush. After paying $8, we drove in, parked our car, unloaded all our gear (including a sun canopy, a couple coolers between our families, camp chairs, and a kayak…and five kids), and staked our claim on a rocky little inlet surrounded by beautiful water.
Kachess Lake is, as I said, a generally hidden gem. There are a number of areas for free daily use along the shores, but those spots fill up fast, and the forest rangers do ticket after those spots meet capacity. One of the main pros of Kachess Lake is that, unlike a lot of the lakes we’ve visited, like Emmons Moraine and Snow Lake, there are actually sandy beaches along the shore. Also, pets and dogs are allowed, which makes it the ideal place to spend a day, especially if you have your furry friends in tow. There is a short one-mile lakeshore trail that tends to be popular with families of young kiddos, but the prime draw is definitely the gorgeous turquoise water, fairly warm temps (mid-60s), and abundance of areas to relax and enjoy the lake.
We spent the entire day at Kachess Lake, and we could have easily stayed longer, completely mesmerized by the views of the peaks and valleys towards the South end of the lake. Interestingly enough, Kachess Lake is also extremely close to Gold Creek Pond, so if you want to kill two birds with one stone, this is the ideal way to do it – especially because you can swim at Kachess. I took advantage of the few power boats, and Maribel kayaked alongside me so I could do a little open water swimming out to the massive trees in the middle of the lake. The water wasn’t deep, so I dove the 15-feet down to explore the roots, then stand on top of them in the water, which was quite the experience.
Overall, spending Labor Day weekend at Kachess Lake was a real treat for all of us, and we collectively decided that if we are still here in the late spring/early summer months of 2021 before we PCS, we’re definitely going to go back. This is probably the most idyllic day-use lake spot we’ve found, and it was so fun!
Tell me – what did you do for Labor Day weekend?