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Author Topic:   Lake Washington - Where to Launch?
skookum point posted 03-30-2001 12:14 AM ET (US)   Profile for skookum point   Send Email to skookum point  
I'm planning to spend a day on Lake Washington and Lake Union during my next trip to the Evergreen State. Looking for some advice from Seattle-area members of this group - which launching ramps are best?
beachedwhale posted 03-30-2001 12:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for beachedwhale  Send Email to beachedwhale     
For those who do not know, Lake Washington is a long about 17 mile lake on one side of Seattle, It is connected by a land cut to Lake Union a small, about 2 miles by 1 mile lake, a ship canal goes from this lake to the locks and the puget sound. A great place to run about but watch your speed in the cuts and canal. Lake Union has the houseboats made famous in Sleepless in Seattle. This is a chick movie, so this may actually impress your wife or girlfriend in thinking you might have a sensitive side. Just say you are looking for the house that was in the movie. Trust me, it works, they will not want to leave the boat. Lake Union has some Marinas that will launch for you, however, parking is tough. On the Seattle side, the hydrolane pits area is a great launch area, it is about 1.5 miles south of the south floating bridge. Also on the Seattle side is a ramp in Magnuson park (the old Sand point naval air station) This is about 2 miles north of the cut to Lake Union on lake Washington. Another ramp is in Bellevue (other side of the lake), take the coal creek exit on I-405, then head for the water, you can't miss it. Fee is $5.00, reasonable parking. On the way to Seattle, check out Bill Gates house in Medina about .5 south of the north floating bridge. The bridge will always have calm water on one side to get across the lake. The ramp in Kirkland (north of bellevue) is very crowded and parking tough. If you see a restored 1968 Nauset, wave, I am probably still looking for the houseboat.
Matthew posted 03-30-2001 12:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Matthew  Send Email to Matthew     
There are a couple of great launches in the Lake.
A couple on the Seattle side (or West side of the Lake) are:
-Magnuson Park--it is located on an old Naval Base. It is about 5 minutes North of the U of Washington on 65th and Sandpoint Way.
-Another great launch is on Lake Wash. blvd. South of I-90 (south part of the city)--we call it the Pits--It is where the Unlimited Hydros locate during the Seafair races. My memeory is failing me with the exact name--I probably only launched a dozen times there last year. I'm launching the 15' sport there for its first run of the season on Sat. I'll reply to you with the name of the boat launch---If I can remember it!
Good luck,
Dick posted 03-30-2001 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Beachedwhales description is very good. The Magnuson ramp is probably the best.
The ramp at Newport off Coal Creek is gone, our little earthquake wiped it out. I usually launch at the free ramp on Lake Union but unless you get there before daylight forget about a parking spot.
Welcome to our beautiful city and enjoy.
I could scan the areas on the chart showing the launches and e-mail them if you would like.
skookum point posted 03-30-2001 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for skookum point  Send Email to skookum point     
Thanks for all the useful info! The Magnuson ramp sounds like a winnner, especially since it is closest to the sister-in-law we will be visiting.
Matthew, I'm thinking the hydro pits ramp might be called Sayers Park or something like that. I used to launch there alot in the 1960's but didn't know if it still existed. Sounds like it remains a good option.
Beached Whale, thanks for the tip on the location of Bill Gates house. I'll include that in our tour. I also seem to remember a seafood restaurant along the ship canal or possibly Lake Union, Ivar's maybe. Is that still there? Are there other boat-accessible lunch spots you could recommend?
Dick, thanks for the heads-up about parking and the chart offer. I have the Evergreen Cruising Guide I bought for my San Juan Island trip. It includes Lk. Washington - and it should be good enough to enable me to find the ramps.
Thanks again, Seattle Whaler boys, for your feedback. I love this website!
Matthew posted 03-30-2001 07:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Matthew  Send Email to Matthew     
skookum pt.,
Stan Sayers pits is correct-- thanks.
Ivar's Salmon House is still there.
A couple of other thoughts:
At the South end of Lake Union there are several spots in an area called Chandler's Cove--Chandler's Crab House, Duke's chowder house to name a couple.
On the Lake itself: the Leschi Cafe, a bit North of the I-90 floating bridge.
Good Luck and enjoy the Lake,

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