Category Archives: NCW Views

The Chelan Dam – With And Without Water

One of the more unique and seldom seen dams in North Central Washington is the Chelan Dam. The Chelan Dam backs up water into the Chelan River, which is only about a mile long before it reaches the dam, and Lake Chelan itself. For the majority of the year the Dam does not release water through its spill gates into the old Chelan River Gorge. The water from the runoff from the lake is mostly piped underground down the hillside to the powerhouse down below where it is used to create hydroelectric power and then released into the Columbia River. Occasionally though, for a number of different reasons, water is released through the dam. Below is a unique look at the Chelan Dam both with and without water going through it. It isn’t every day you see a dry river bed where a river once flowed but is now sealed off by a dam.

When water is released through the dam, it also creates a unique view in the Chelan Falls area as the water that flows into the Columbia River now comes down the old Chelan River Gorge as seen below. Usually this area too is just a dry river bed.

View photos of the Chelan Dam and other dams in our gallery of North Central Washington dams.

Columbia River Gorge Viewpoint

When heading east on I-90 (from Spokane to Seattle, as so many do), take some time to stop at the viewpoint overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The views are sometimes breathtaking. From the natural formation of the Gorge to a great view of the Vantage Bridge. You even get to learn a little bit from the informational markers that line the path.

Columbia River Gorge