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Washington State public lands parking permit.

Starts July 1, 2011.
Supports our parks.

WDFW Public Water Access sites.

Paddling Steamboat Rock State Park

  1. Put-in
    Launch fees, parking ...

  2. Summaries
    Location, conditions, warnings, paddle route, nature ...

  3. Provisions
    Food, fuel, firewood, WIFI, local information

  4. Accommodations
    Camping, cabins

  5. Additional info
    Rating, disclaimer

WARNING: Banks Lake water level is being lowered August 2011.


Steamboat Rock State Park has several locations a kayak or canoe can be put in the lake.

There are two major campgrounds and one boat in the main park. The two RV and tent camping locations both have water access from some of the campsites. If camping in these areas and not on the water carry the craft to the water.

The campground put-ins are nice and sandy. This is great for not scraping the kayak or canoe up.

There is a boat launch area for day trippers a the far north end of the park. The launch is on one side of the cement ramp on a sandy beach.

All these launches are different during each season with the rise and the fall of the water in this human made reservoir.

During the most recent September 30, 2010 visit here, the water level was down requiring a very short walk down a bank and across the sand into the shallow waters of Devils Punch Bowl.


Drum roll please. Welcome to another great part of Paddle Heaven. If you have not paddled a canoe or kayak at Steamboat Rock State Park area, then you are in for a very pleasant surprise.

Steamboat Rock State Park is located on Banks Lake a reservoir which is part of the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project started back in the 1930s. After the creation of Grand Coulee Dam just up the road a couple or so miles from the lake, and the filling of Lake Roosevelt behind the dam, Banks Lake was created.

This lake is a recreation paradise for fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing, hiking, camping, exploring and tons of wildlife.

Hot and sunny in the peak season. Wind also happens. Can be quiet to noisier during the peak party season.

Power boats. Speed boats roar and race up and down the lake. Odd thing is the sound is loud but they come and go so fast unlike some of the slower junk on waters in western Washington, the boats don't see that intrusive. The fumes from these boats is not as smelly as most other watercraft in other paddling locations. The boats race on top of the water and the wakes are not that big of a deal. The roar of an approaching boat can be heard and they come and then they go away unlike lingering roaring in the San Juan Islands or other paddling spots.

There are rattlesnakes on land and they can swim. There are ticks on the shrubs. The shoreline can have poison ivy. In the fall when there are fewer crowds the poison ivy glows a bright beautiful red so it is easy to spot. Some of the paddling is in locations with shear rock cliff walls that make taking out impossible.

Paddle route
There are many places to put-in and then paddle. Devil Punch Bowl in the main camping area is a good choice for more protected easy going starter paddling. On the recent October 2010 the fall color of the golden trees and the bird sounds on the waters of this area were a knock out with the basalt cliffs of the Grand Coulee in the background.

Outside of the punchbowl mouth at the north are rock type gardens awaiting the paddler into exploring. Rock outcroppings and small islands on the eastern shore are alive with flora and fauna from crickets singing and geese and other birds calling out.

Heading north from Devils Punch Bowl towards Eagle Rock, Castle Rock and on towards Northrup boat launch, Jones Bay, Osborne Bay is rewarding to say the least. Or going across the lake to the larger islands and through what is called Lover's Lane is all awesome and can be great food for the MBS, Mind, Body and Spirit.

Banks Lake is a birders paradise. In the spring and fall there are tons of birds that come and go. There is a large number of different types of waterfowl and other birds. There are birds in the water, air and land. The show on and off the water is like a living IMAX presentation.

Deer are abundant in the park and even in the sage brush country. Drivers unaware of the deer population can be taken by surprise when racing down the many straight stretches of highway to and from the park. The four legged creatures can hop out on the highway especially in early morning hours and later in the evening. Hoofs can be heard in the state park on the road and the herds can be seen munching on the lawns. When riding a bicycle around at dawn or dusk watch out and listen for the hoofs on the roads.

There is no conclusion here. Like most spots where paddlers can put-in and escape into the MBS, Mind Body and Soul with nature filling every pore and electron, there is no end.

Each paddle here and elsewhere is always different. No two paddle adventures are ever the same. Come and check this place out for yourself. There is a guarantee if a paddler is disappointed all your misery from the hectic insanity out here will be gladly returned. Come and feast on what paddling the Grand Coulee in Grant County Washington State can offer those who seek the natural high here.


During the peak summer season the park has a small store in the north end boat ramp area.

Otherwise you need to bring what you need. Coulee City on the south end of Banks Lake or on the north end in Electric City or Grand Coulee about 12 miles has food and fuel.

There are no kayak or canoe services in the area that Paddle Heaven has any knowledge about.


Steamboat Rock State Parkis a primary location for camping on the north end of Banks Lake. If camping here in the peak season of summer get reservations in advance for the main grass covered lawn RV and tent camping areas.

There are many sites that are not reserved. They are all numbered in the 300's. These sites do not have water or electric but are nice with lawn and picnic tables and fire rings.

Steamboat has at least two other spots to car camp or boat in camp up highway 155 on the way to Grand Coulee Dam area. The two primitive locations are called Jones Bay and Osborne Bay. Both have the potential to camp and paddle. The cost at these two campgrounds is a lot less then the fancier main park camping, $12.00 in October 2010.

If Steamboat is full the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area offers camping at Spring Canyon 3 miles north east of Grand Coulee Dam. Peak season camping in this nice NPS campground is $10 and $5 in October and winter months. Plus if you have the right pass the night costs only $2.50. What deal. There is water, toilets, boat ramp and kayaking or canoeing put-ins on the lake in sandy locations in the picnic area. Very nice place on a slope with views of dam and up lake.

For glamor camping check out Sunbanks Resort just north of the state park. There is tent and RV camping, cabins, cottages and villas. Off season cabin rentals are more or less dirt cheap according to the website at as low as $39.00.

Further up the road in from Steamboat in Electric City is
Coulee Playground Resort which has some cabins, yurts, RV and tent camping between the highway and the shoreline of Banks Lake.

For some budget camping, cabins, yurts, RV and hostels, check out Paddle Heaven's Coulee Corridor map and Coulee Corridor page of links as well as Paddle Heaven's Camping cabins and more.

Additional Information

Deliverance rating. The State Park especially off season is reasonably safe in and out of the water. The banjo does not play very loud here. This is not on the loony circuit like some isolated put-ins.

Tranquility Ranking
One way to up the tranquility rank besides taking Valium, until a National Day of Silence, no fossil fuel noise, try hearing protection. Steamboat Rock has it's moments of tranquility. But there is noise from the highway and from speed boats and jet skis on the lake.

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.

Click for Electric__City, Washington Forecast

See some of the weather conditions in Washington State by viewing Web Cams in diffefrent locaitons before you head out paddling.

Map Crazed

View Coulee Corridor Paddling in a larger map

Approximate distance from:
Seattle 220 miles.
Everett 204 miles.
Bellingham 264 miles.
Vancouver Canada 317 miles.
Spokane 97 miles.
Portland 355 miles.

View Larger Map
Google Earth three dimensional viewing.

Topographic Map view from MyTopo. Instructions on how to open and use the .zip files.

Download free USGS store nmap locator public domain .zip Topographic files:
Electric City north end of of Banks Lake.
Barker Canyon northwest side of Banks Lake.
Steamboat Rock
Steamboat Rock SE
Banks Lake

GPS: 47.854482,-119.126736

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Region: Coulee Corridor

Overall rating: 5 paddles.

Launch: Free car top launching of kayaks and canoes.

Launch rating: 5 paddles.

Parking: Free day parking. Washington State public lands parking permit

Miscellaneous Sun protection is a good idea here.

Route Distance: Varies each paddle and paddler.

Highlights: Scenic, wildlife, birding, camping some peace of mind.

Warnings: Power boats, wind, snakes, poison ivy, ticks.

Fossil fuel noise levels: 5 on a scale of 0-10. 10 being the loudest.

Facilities: Water, toilets, some cell,

Services: Camp store, camping.

Budget accommodations: Tent,Cabin,Hostels,Kayak Camps,RV,Yurt.

Devils Punch Bowl campsite kayaking canoeing put-in Steamboat Rock State Park on a lovely fall day.

View of Steamboat Rock, shoreline put-in, Punch Bowl entrance, rock gardens and eastern basalt cliffs of the Grand Coulee.

View of the boat in camping at the north end of Steamboat Rock main campground.

Rock garden view while paddling the Devil's Punch Bowl entrance at Steamboat Rock State Park.

Northrup boat launch views at Steamboat Rock State Park while kayaking and paddling the area.

Osborn Bay kayaking and paddling boat launch put-in and car or boat in camping area.


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Last Update: 06.25.11 9:23am