Cities Journal

Top 21 Small Cities In Washington

13-Chelan, Washington-flickr-Hugo90
Photo credit: Hugo90 / Flickr

2. Chelan

Similar to Moses Lake, Chelan is also located right next to a beautiful lake – Lake Chelan – which is fed by the scenic Cascade Mountains. Chelan is rife with natural beauty, having a national forest close by and being surrounded by numerous vineyards and wineries.

Given all that Chelan has to offer, it comes as no surprise that many residents compare living in the area to residing in their own personal resort.

Chelan has a rich and interesting history. It was first inhabited by American Indians who most likely lived in the area before pioneers and prospectors discovered Lake Chelan in the 1800s. The name Chelan is, in fact, derived from the Native American name for the area (Tsillane) which means “deep water”.

The area was for a time a thriving mining community as eager prospectors and mining companies came in droves in search of precious metals. There were plenty of these metals to be found; in fact, over $66 million dollars worth of zinc, copper, silver and gold were extracted from mines in and around the city.

Eventually, Congress stepped in to save the area from being totally exploited by establishing various national parks to protect the area’s flora and fauna. These national parks (North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and Pasayten Wilderness) are still around to this day.

They not only beautify the area but provide plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities for those who enjoy hiking, camping, bird watching, fishing and other such activities.

A visit to St. Andrews Episcopal Church in the downtown area makes for an interesting cultural experience. Built in the 1890’s, this early log church is currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Moreover, Lady of the Lake boat tours enable you to explore the magnificent lake scenery comparable to the beauties of Switzerland and for the adventurous at heart, Skydive Chelan gives you an amazing aerial view of the entire Chelan countryside.

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