your paddlesports destination

Moses Lake in Washington

Trip Overview

When Seattle and Portland are having their usual June rain the desert area of central Washington is, as usual, sunny and warm. Moses Lake lies astride Interstate 90 about halfway between Seattle and Spokane (about 3 hours from Seattle). The area looks dry and brittle because it only gets about 7 inches of rain a year but the local irrigation district utilizes several lakes as reservoirs for the water that makes Grant County one of the richest farm areas in the world.

You can launch free at Blue Heron Park at milepost 169 of I-90 and paddle north 20 miles if you like. The shores are lined with homes and the water can be crowded on busy weekends but it's warm and sunny and summer water temperatures hover around 75F!!! Ideal for perfecting your combat roll.

The city of Moses Lake is one of the fastest growing population centers in Washington state and the waters of the lake itself wrap themselves around the city. The lake, which stretches some 40 miles from end-to-end, extends from sand dunes (and an Off Road Vehicle park) on the far south shore to sagebrush at the far north end. In between is the city center with a dock only a short walk to shopping (and ice cream!!!), campgrounds and RV parks, quiet and shady city parks with picnic benches and playgrounds, over 10 separate full-sized baseball fields, and a municipal water park with slides and fountains (for less than $6 per person all day in the summer).

You can paddle the shoreline peering at the fancy homes or you can surf the boat wakes in the middle of the lake. And if you want an exquisite paddle in waterways that could be lifted from the southeast USA, you can travel south on Sand Dunes Road (just 1/4 mile east of exit 169) to the connection between Moses Lake and the Potholes Reservoir. Launch along the west side of the dirt road and paddle in the narrow waterways south. In the summer, when the water level is high, you can paddle along tree-lined waterways and grasslands where coyotes, deer, bald eagles, hawks, herons and ospreys abound. Even the occasional pelican.

For a weekend getaway you can rent a room at a local motel or camp at one of the many campgrounds (including one city-operated campground at Cascade Park) and eat at an assortment of local restaurants.

Moses Lake does not charge for launching or parking so you can enjoy this sun-soaked getaway on a budget. The lake and the reservoir are both well stocked with large-mouth bass, walleye, and some trout and panfish. State fishing license is required.


The city of Moses Lake offers fast food chains as well as local restaurants. Bed and breakfast accommodations and hotels and motels. Plus RV parks right on the water if you like. Launching is free and Blue Heron Park is green and shady with a protected swimming area. There are golf courses, tennis courts and a nice water park with water slides.


Launching and parking is free. Parks are free. Campgrounds are reasonable. A Washington state fishing license is required for all adults over 16; children under 16 accompanied by an adult with a fishing license fish free. (Check regulations for changes.)


Drive east from Seattle on I-90 to exit 169 to launch at Blue Heron Park (just north of the freeway) or drive south on Sand Dunes Road to visit the north end of the Potholes Reservoir. Exit at 170 and drive north past the baseball parks to the city center and the water park and quiet lakeside parks in town (and shopping).

West from Spokane - Moses Lake is about 1.5 hours from Spokane and 3 hours from Seattle. Bring sunscreen, dark glasses, and the kids.


Search the Internet for Moses Lake; check with the local Chamber of Commerce.


Washington State Atlas and Gazeteer is handy. There are fishing maps of Moses Lake available at sporting goods stores all over the state.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip