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Lake Chelan History – OGO POGO

Ogopogo Sited In Lake Chelan, Washington

By Tony Rose

Washington State in the Pacific Northwest has an abundance of beautiful lakes that draw people year round to their waters to fish, swim, go boating or just sitting and gazing at all the beauty of nature. The Pacific Northwest has a couple of lakes that are unsurpassed for their serene loveliness. This is as well an area that has a plethora of spirits and “monsters” hanging out in the lakes and the tales from old stick with it to thrive with sightings of ghostly apparitions, spirits and hauntings.

One of these lakes that have tales of haunting linked to them is Lake Chelan.

Lake Chelan is just one of the lakes in the North Cascades National Park Service complex, where mountainous jagged peaks stand looking out by means of deep valleys and cascading waterfalls. The Lake Chelan National recreation Areas are beautiful to behold and difficult to leave after a vacation. There is one permanent resident at the lake. Ogopogo! This is a monster who at one time devoured all the grazing animals on was once flat prairie land. When the Indians who lived there and depended on the animals for their substance, they appealed to the Splendid Spirit to help them. Splendid Spirit threw down a large stone to kill the monster, and the stone, instead of killing the monster, made a huge crater with mountains surrounding it. The monster was buried in one of the canyons that were created by the stone and the canyon eventually filled up with water, forming Lake Chelan. But, the monster did not die. occasionally it moves its splendid tail, causing huge wave disturbances on the lake. The “monster” is referred to as a serpent or sometimes a dinosaur.

There are numerous stories of Ogopogo that go back Hundreds of years. The one I observed most interesting was a story that happened about 1892.

It says that while 3 travelers were at the upper end of Lake Chelan, one of them went into the water to bathe. He was seized by the foot by a marine monster and was being pulled into deep water, when his screams attracted the attention of his companions, who came to his rescue. They pulled him ashore, with the monster hanging on to his foot.

It had legs and body like an alligator, and the head and eyes of a serpant. Between its front and hind legs were large ribbed wings.

The men tried hard to tear the monster from the foot of their companion, and despite everything tried fire, which had the outcome of causing the animal to rise unexpectedly into the air, taking its victim along, and despite everything landing in the lake, where both disappeared from site.

Here is a more recent story.

It was a  sunny Sunday went I first saw Ogopogo with my own eyes. I had heard stories of Ogopogo here and there; they had come to me in whispers. The history of Ogopogo has been a well kept secret for Hundreds maybe Thousands of years. I had spent weeks watching Lake Chelan in Washington State. This day I was driving around going past one of the lots, Parks and Beaches around the lake. While I was going North on Lake Shore Road I saw something in the water out of the corner of my eye, but I thought it was just someone out on another blow up raft and didn’t really think much of  it !

As I was passing the area known as Rocky Point, there is an opening where you can get a good look at the lake. I looked off shore and I saw what I had thought to be a raft a few seconds before was the creature. I thought to myself this could just be another hoax!  I slowed down and watched as the Creature swam around the lake enjoying itself! I was a little scared but at the same time I could not stop myself from smiling thinking this was surely Ogopogo of Lake Chelan!

I drove around the lake following along with Ogopogo, at a couple of points I pulled into a parking lot and walked onto one of the beaches. I slowly got my Camera out fearing as I went to take the picture the creature would disappear. I snapped a shot, checked it in the review mode of the Camera and I could not believe I had captured a perfect shot of the Creature that no one could dispute the authenticity of! When I looked back, it was gone.

Over the next few days I carefully started asking the locals in the area if they had ever seen something weird in the Lake. It seems that  to everyone in Lake Chelan, Ogopogo is well known. He is not a myth or legend here. He is just another Member of the vast resort area that today attracts thousands of visitors annually to this great vacation destination.

The next time you come to Lake Chelan, keep a look out for the legendary monster.

About Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan

Consistently ranked as one of the most pristine waters in the United States, Lake Chelan’s 55 mile length acts as a natural conduit between the rugged mountain peaks up lake and the lush, fertile down lake valley. At 1,486 feet, Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the nation, extending nearly 400 feet below sea level.

The azure blue water, orchards and rolling hills in the populated Lake Chelan and Manson region provide a striking contrast with the granite cliffs and snow covered mountains that rise dramatically from glacier-green water up lake.

Scenic Lake Chelan lies within an 80 mile long glacial valley near the center of Washington State. The semi-arid rolling hills surrounding the resort communities at the end of the lake give little hint of the spectacular views offered by this fiord- like lake which for the most of its length lies in a valley far deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Roads extend less than halfway up Lake Chelan. Beyond the end of the road, rugged snowcapped peaks rise over 7,000 feet from the lakeshore and dark green evergreens cover the mountainsides. Deep valleys rise from the lake to massive glaciers in the heart of the North Cascade Mountains.

At the upper end of Lake Chelan, limited local roads do not connect the communities of Stehekin and Holden Village to the outside world. This remoteness and spectacular setting have inspired Federal protection for much of the region. Portions of a National Park, two National Forrest Wilderness Areas, and a National Recreation Area encompass much of the Chelan drainage.

Lake Chelan rests in a glacially carved trough in the Cascade Range in northwestern Washington. At 1,500 feet (457.2 m), it is one of the nation’s deepest lakes offering opportunities for boating and fishing.

A trip to the head of Lake Chelan is a journey into an unspoiled frontier, forgotten by time. Nestled in the deepest gorge in North America, Lake Chelan is one of Washington’s largest bodies of fresh water. Though the average width is less than two miles, the lake extends 55 miles into the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range with peaks that exceed 9000 feet.

A trip up lake bridges the gap between the arid desert-like climates of the lower Lake Chelan Valley, through fiord-like gorges carved by glaciation, to the headwaters of the lake deep in the Cascade Mountains. Along the way you will lay witness to some of Mother Nature’s finest work, though she certainly didn’t spend much time polishing up. She left behind some of the roughest mountain peaks in the world.


You can hike, boat, fly, or ride a horse into Stehekin, at the head of Lake Chelan, but you can’t drive there in your car. This wilderness community is 50 miles up lake from ‘civilization’.

The Stehekin Valley, surrounded by towering mountains, offers an incredible getaway from phones, TVs, and the trappings of civilization in an incredibly beautiful setting. The boat ride from Chelan on the Lady of the Lake II (4 hours, one-way) or Lady Express (2 hours, one-way) takes you to Stehekin Landing where you can visit the Golden West Visitor’s Center, rent a mountain bike or cross-country skis and explore the valley, join in on a naturalist program during the summer with a trip to Buckner Orchard or Rainbow Falls, or stay overnight and explore the surrounding mountains on numerous hiking trails.

A Park Service shuttle bus runs during the summer and fall which will take you 23 miles to Cottonwood. Reservations are required and a fee is charged. Many facilities are closed during the winter.

The main access to Stehekin in the Recreation Area is by boat or float plane from the town of Chelan on Hwy. 97. There is no road access into Stehekin. Service is provided by Lake Chelan Boat Co. Daily boat service is now maintained year round.  Air service is available for charter year-round, weather permitting, from Chelan Airways.

Visitor Activities
Interpretive exhibits, guided and self-guiding tours, picnicking, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, boating, fishing, hunting and commercial river rafting. Facilities include a picnic area, boat and bicycle rentals, a post office, commercial buses and shuttle bus service. The Recreation Area is always open. Guided walks and programs are held from late June to early September. The shuttle bus operates from May 15 to Oct. 15.

Permits, Fees & Limitations
No entrance fee. The shuttle bus fee is $10. Reservations are necessary for the shuttle bus. Call 206-857-5700 for information on the shuttle bus and commercial buses operating out of Stehekin. Backcountry permits are required and available at Ranger Stations at Stehekin, Chelan and Marblemount. Special permits are required for livestock use

Camping And Lodging
Backcountry, cross-country and trail camping requires a permit. No permits required for boat camps. Reservations are required by mail. Write for more information to North Cascades National Park Service Complex, Wilderness District Office, 728 Ranger Station Road, Marblemount, WA 98267. Lodge rooms and housekeeping facilities are available on a seasonal basis. Contact North Cascades Lodge, Stehekin, WA 98852, phone 509-682-4711. Various private cabins are for rent in the Recreation Area. Other overnight accommodations are available in Chelan.

Food & Supplies
Meals are served at North Cascades Lodge and other facilities. Supplies are also available at North Cascades Lodge. Food and supplies are available in Chelan.

First Aid/Hospital
First aid is available at Ranger Stations. The nearest hospital is in Chelan, 50 miles (80.6 km).

Visitor Services
•Golden West Visitor Center (summer only) •Buckner Orchard •Rainbow Falls •North Cascades Lodge •Silver Bay Inn •Stehekin Valley Ranch


Lake Chelan is a major entryway into the North Cascades, providing access to some of the best hiking and backpacking in the Cascade Range.
Trails range from one mile, through the paved Riverwalk Park to nearly 230 mile treks.
Beginner, intermediate, and advanced hikers can all find the perfect trail from among more than 40 trailheads listed in the Lake Chelan Valley.

Hiking: General Information
Lower elevation trails are usually accessible from early April through mid-October. Higher elevation trails (which is most of the North Cascades backcountry), however, do not open until mid-July and remain accessible through late September. There are 386 miles of maintained trails, many steeply taking you to absolutely breathtaking alpine scenery.
Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Camping at designated or existing sites is encouraged. Party size is limited to 12 (6 in cross-country zones) and campfires are discouraged in subalpine areas. Pets are not allowed on any trail in North Cascades National Park except the Pacific Crest Trail, where they must be on a leash.
Hiking: Precautions There is a significant difference between west side and east side climates, with the westside receiving higher precipitation year-round, resulting in cloudier and cooler weather. Eastside forests, in the Cascade rain shadow, have more sunshine, higher temperatures, and noticeably less vegetation.

Holden Village

Once one of the largest copper mines in the United States, Holden Village is now a year round retreat center affiliated with the Lutheran church but open to people of all backgrounds.

Holden sits in a beautiful mountain valley and is surrounded by the towering peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range. Because of its remote wilderness setting, nature and her inhabitants are part of everyday life at Holden. Wildlife such as dear, bear, marmots, and rabbits are seen on a regular basis. You could literally search the world over and possibly not find a place quite like Holden Village.

Though the miners and their dreams of riches are long since gone, the buildings and scenery remain virtually untouched. Holden is certainly one of the best preserved mill towns left in the country.

Each summer day Holden Village welcomes up to 450 people..Couples, families, singles, young and old–who’ve come to be part of the program.

There are many popular trails that surround the village–from a 1 mile walk to 10 mile Falls to a 5 mile hike through fields of wild flowers and past glaciated peaks to Holden Lake. The snack bar, bowling alley, pool hall, sauna, and jacuzzi are also popular stops. Each evening they gather as a community for a short worship service.

Holden is a year round community with winter being one of the most special times to visit. With an average snowfall of 230 inches, skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding quickly become popular activities. The winter is much less structured than the busy summertime, and visitors, who are welcome throughout the winter, should be prepared for plenty of outdoor recreation, reading, conversation, crafts, and plain old relaxation.

Holden Village is one of the most remote communities in the lower 48 states. It is on the edge of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, which means Holden offers the unique opportunity of being in the midst of wilderness while still having comfortable accommodations.

Because we do operate out of the mining towns original buildings, you’ll find our rooms are comfortable, but simple. Please don’t miss this part of the Lake Chelan Wilderness.