Plenty of lakes to explore around Omak, Washington
There's more to Omak than the stampede
While most visitors head to Omak for the rodeo, this town is also close to several refreshing lakes. — Carol Ann Quibell photo
Forty-five minutes south of the Canadian border at Osoyoos, B.C., is Omak, Washington, well known for its entertaining Omak Stampede rodeo. However, those searching for popular places to enjoy all kinds of water activities during the summer months have discovered there are many nice lakes near the town.
Although the Okanogan River flows right through the middle of Omak, swimming is not encouraged here due to the swift current. But the river is loaded with fish and is a perfect place for rafting on a beautiful sunny day.
Southwest of town is the well-liked Omak Lake, located on the Colville Indian Reservation. Waterskiers enjoy Washington’s largest saline lake and boating enthusiasts welcome the 10-mile body of water that’s perfect for fishing and all kinds of water sports. The wonderful sandy beaches are great for sunbathing in between jumping into the water and enjoying a vigorous swim to cool off from the sweltering summer’s heat.
Although there isn’t any camping right at the lake, there are campgrounds only a short distance away. Don’t forget to bring your fishing rod and take on the challenge of catching a fish larger than the record 18-pound trout caught in 1993.
The inviting little town of Conconully just north of Omak has two of everything: two lakes, two restaurants and two stores, all within walking distance of each other. But there are much more than two places to camp and more than two things to participate in while enjoying the lakes. Conconully’s upper lake) and the Conconully Reservoir are both well stocked for fishing, have nice swimming areas and places to launch a boat with ease.
The tourist information office is on the left-hand side of the highway when you are travelling south from Canada and located in a house just south of the police station.
Drive south a half hour from the Canadian border on Highway 97 and you’ll see Tonasket, an old mining town. The nearby beaches at Whitestone, Spectacle and Palmer Lakes are perfect for swimming, boating and enjoying all types of water sports.
Words of advice from the Omak Visitor’s Center
“Continuing south into Omak you turn right at the second light off of highway 97,” said Ann from the Omak Visitors Office. “We have lots of information on the local lakes, activities and also maps better describing routes and directions for visitors to Omak.”