Pearrygin Lake State Park: Winthrop, Washington

As we stated in our Lake Wenatchee blog, the Cascades Loop is widely regarded as one of America’s most scenic drives.   I offer this photo as proof:

north cascades loop

North Cascades Loop

Winthrop is a must-stop on the more beautiful northern half of the Loop

aaa winthrop

Winthrop photo from stillhowlyntravels

Winthrop’s small main street is built like an old western town with wooden sidewalks where you wander in and out of quaint, touristy shops, like Sheri’s Sweet Shop which is included in our 5 Delicious Ice Cream Parlors blog.

10 minutes past Winthrop lies Pearrygin Lake State Park.  Here is my advice for it’s campground:

aaa plsp (2)

  • Recommended Sites:
    • Western Campground

      Western side’s  Camp Sites  pre-2011 changes

      Camp sites are divided into 2 areas.  One of which we stayed at in 2007 and one which some friends have stayed at a couple of different times, so I will include their input in this blog.

    • We stayed at the western section by the river. I was going to post a review of that campground but Washington State Parks notes: “Due to flooding in 2011, campsites 106 – 137 in the west campground are closed until further notice. There is no estimated date for repair at this time.”
    • Their reservation map looks very different from how I remember it from 2007.  Most western sites are now lakefront.  You readers will have to tell me which ones to choose!
    • From the looks of the new map, I’d say we stayed in site 127 which we chose because it backed onto some trees which provided some added privacy.  The arid climate means you’re more wide open than most forested state parks, it was more like a private campground.  Moving the sites to lakefront seams like a great idea!
    • Our friends recently stayed in the eastern campground which they found to be very nice.  They claim it provides a lot more space and privacy than what they call “the parking lot” to the west.   They recommend getting lakeside, (the odd numbered sites 37-45), if you are lucky enough to find one available.
    • Both areas offer lakefront access to swimming areas that are roped off from boats.  The two campground sides are divided by a boat launch.
  • IMG_4430

    Western Campground’s lake front, pre 2011 changes

    Campground Highlights

    1. Its all about the lake in this state park.
    2. Hot, dry climate
    3. A peaceful place to stay while driving the beautiful northern Cascade Loop
  • Campground Lowlight
    1. Not the typically remote state park feeling, at least on the western side.  You get to know your neighbors, like in private campgrounds.  I wonder how much that may have changed in 2011?
  • Things to do
    1. Swim
    2. Fish
    3. Relax
    4. visit Winthrop
    5. The website says the park is open in the winter for snowmobilers, and there is a new 3 mile hiking trail.

Our trip

We went in 2007 with a 9 and 10 year old, and 1 dog.

IMG_4451We were on the homeward-bound end of our Cascade Loop trip, after visiting Leavenworth and Lake Chelan.  We pre-booked Pearrygin Lake campground because we wanted to hang-out in Winthrop…our daughter was into western riding…and we heard this campground is popular.

Right in town there is a private campground, Pine Near RV, which we never visited but the online reviews look good.  Next to the state park is a private campground called Silverline, which also has good sounding reviews.  There is also a KOA close to town; more good reviews online.

Winthrop is indeed a charming place to stop along the Loop, with its wooden sidewalk and shops.  It also has some interesting history: apparently America’s first western novel, “The Virginian” was written after or during a Winthrop honeymoon.


Shari’s Sweet Shop was a big hit with us.  Not only was their ice cream delicious, but you get to sit on saddles while you eat!  Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon looked like fun if you don’t have kids in tow.  It claims to be the oldest saloon in the state.




We really got into the old west spirit by getting a family portrait taken at Miss Kitty’s Old Time Photo Parlor.



Back at camp  we fished, relaxed and played in the lake.  One afternoon after hanging out quietly at the side of the river, we returned to find our dog lying in the middle of the road!  She managed to break open the trailer door in an effort to find us.  It was shortly after that when we decided to get our 2nd dog to keep her company.  (That plus a couple of unsuccessful dog-sitting episodes when we took trips without her: once she used her snout to ‘King Kong” open her steel kennel bars!)



Swimming Pearrygin Lake, west campground side



14 thoughts on “Pearrygin Lake State Park: Winthrop, Washington

  1. The family portrait is just awesome. When we went to Mackinac Island two years ago, there was plenty of shops like this where you could take old pictures 🙂

    The camping looks also great, and perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

    Liked by 1 person

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