Warning: Road to lake is closed at Olney as of April 30, 2011. There is snow the last mile up to Olney Pass. There is only one track with snow banks on both sides of the road. So, if you meet someone coming up or coming down you will not be able to turn around or pull off to the side. The Jackson Project: Spada Lake Regulations states the road would be open April 30, 2011. Not true. The road is open at the lower level where it turns into dirt 2 miles below Olney Pass. The gate to lake is not open. You might want to wait another month before heading to Spada Lake.
Warning number 2: The South Shore road to the lake is closed weekdays starting June 13 for 7 weeks. The road will be open on weekends From Thursday night through Sunday until the culvert repairs are finished. Check out the first picture on the top right about the road closer to read the details.
July 2, 2011 update. After a long dreary spring and early summer here in the Pacific Northwest, Saturday July 2, 2011 turned out to be beautiful warm sunny day. Since it was July 4th weekend and all the masses would be out and about, staying close to home was a good thing when paddling on Spada in the sunshine instead of fighting the crowds at campgrounds.
The paddling started late at 8:30 AM. Earlier paddling here and most places means more time on the water without the wind that usually comes up by early afternoon. The water was placid until around 11AM and in about 5 minutes the water turned choppy. Early also means having the lake more to yourself. Also early means more critters out and about.
This paddling day there were few if any people on the lake until early afternoon. The lake doesn't allow fossil fuel engines so this place is Q U I E t !
Spada can be a WONDERFUL close to the "Big Shitty" to escape for a bit of tranquility. No hog houses along the shoreline. No lawn mowers or other BS roaring on the banks or on the water. The only sound here is from nature and Sea-Tac flying their loads overhead to and from Timbuktu.
This is a great escape from the regular old breed, consume, and pollute mantra downstream in the I-5 sewer corridor.
Paddled May 26, 2010.
Kayaking Spada Lake South Fork put-in can be a good place to escape the Seattle Everett metro area and get a nature fix.
Location See the map for the exact details and the roads that lead to the lake. The distance from Sultan on Highway 2 which is on the way to Steven's Pass is to the South Fork put-in is about 18 miles according to the Google Maps.
The drive up is very pleasant. Most of the woods have not been cut down. Some clear cuts but the fantasy of being out and heading to nowhere feels real as you climb the hills.
The last few miles, something like 7 or so to this put-in are dirt roads. So, that means the best time to beat the dust in the summer is to paddle in the off season. Watch for deer.
When to go Spada Lake Sultan Basin Recreational area is not open all year round. Need to check the PUB site prior to driving out there. Sometimes the gate is locked for snow and other reasons.
The lake By reading the regulations you will notice that gas engines are NOT allowed on the lake. Clap, clap. Also no swimming, wading, no inflatables including inflatable kayaks, dogs are to be on a leash or in the dinosaur you came in, and no fishing from the shore. These are all cool fantasy rules since there is dog poop, dogs in the drinking water, fishing from the shore etc. But at least there are no roaring, racing drunks in boats to worry about.
This is a public utility reservoir used for drinking water and hydro electric production. Read about Spada Lake and the PUD.
Spada Lake is located in the Cascade Mountains about 66 miles east of Seattle 18 miles north of highway 2 as it travels east over Stevens Pass.
Vehicle registration is required upon arrival at the lake area. Since you will be in the heart of meth addict country, hopefully the self registration will help keep down the crazies acting too crazy.
Weather This is part of the western Washington State Puget Sound Pacific Northwest gray wet zone that blows in from the Pacific Ocean. The trees are covered with mosses. Does this tell you anything? The most recent paddle was cool, windy, and drizzly and then some Simpson's television type of partial clearing. Expect gray skies, wind, and green mountains unless the place is open when the leaves turn colors.
Conditions Cold water in an isolated lake that more often than not like other locations in the Cascade Mountains provides some good wind. Wind + water = WAVES. Shore paddling can work out with the many little innies and outties type of micro and other inlets.
Mostly people into fishing use the area. So expect the smell of cigarette smoke and beer cans at the launch and parking area. The lake is nice and clean. No garbage around. Once you get out on the water the air is fresh and clean because there are NO gas engines. Whoopee!
The color of the lake at times when calm and the light is right is a nice green. The views from the drive in above the Sought Fork arm is great with some micro peek a boo views from far above the lake on the pothole road.
Noise There is little or no fossil fuel dinosaur noise while paddling. The road is close by on both sides of this route but wasn't all that noisy. JETS do fly over on their entry into Sea-Tac. I would guess the war machines from Whidbey can be heard here at times if they can be heard at Lake Wenatchee.
The lake is NOT quiet. Lots of water pours into the reservoir. I vote we can live with that sort of noise. :) No critter noise on this trip.
Nature report Few critters on the May 26, 2010 trip. If you are looking for critters this is not the best place. Itís quiet when it comes to wildlife. There were some crows and a couple of waterfowl. If you want to see critters try Lake Wenatchee.
Another visit a week later May 30, 2010, the shoreline was more alive with woodpeckers and many other birds and a very calm lake.
Wild strawberries, salmon berry blossoms and other wild flowers are popping out everywhere in the launch area, picnic sites and along the shorelines.
The creep meeter is fairly low here. It appears the crowd seems to self police themselves since the vehicles need to registered. Hopefully that cuts down on the monkey business in the parking lots and other locations. Remember, don't keep anything you want in the vehicle.
Fishing Reports, Stocking Reports & Fish Counts from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Things your need to know.
Read Me disclaimer, warnings, paddle at your own risk.