Cascade Lake is the most popular lake in Moran State Park and the best place to get an introduction to the outdoor opportunities the park has to offer. Locals have used the lake’s Day Use Area for decades and it is the best family friendly location for swimming and picnics on the grass by the water. The Sugar Shack at the swim area is open daily in season offering drinks, snacks, and ice cream to the swimmers; visitors can rent a paddle boat or kayak from the rental and bait shop adjacent to the lower picnic area. The Cascade Lake Loop trail starts and ends at the Day Use Area. The trail includes several promontories with views of the lake and Mount Constitution, and the lake bridge, a reconstruction of a classical wood design, is a very popular spot for swimming and fishing.
Boating and fishing are Cascade Lake past times that are not to be missed. Paddle boats, rowboats, and electric motors are all welcome on the lake all year round, although the lake is most pleasant in the summer and early fall. The lake’s location inside the hills around Mount Constitution creates frequent wind gusts and wind surfers can find appropriate conditions in a much more forgiving environment. Rental paddle boats are an island tradition and a great way to relax on the water and explore the nearby lagoon. Recreational boaters and fishermen can use the boat ramp at the Midway Campground to launch their boats; a small fee is required for non-campers to use the ramp.
The camping experience on Cascade Lake is unequaled in the entire park. Three campgrounds located at the northern, midway, and southern sections of the lake provide over 120 campsites for primitive camping, RVs and trailers, and even glamping in select locations. Moran State Park provides all the necessary camping amenities without breaking the country atmosphere. Restrooms and showers are available at each campground along with clean water; but make sure to come fully charged as there are no electric hookups in the park. Each campsite also comes equipped with a fire pit, and there are several group fire grates for larger parties at the Day Use Area.
Any adventure that can be found in Moran State Park can be explored first at Cascade Lake. Hikers and bikers can take trails from the lake to any location in the park. Once boaters and swimmers get the feel of Cascade Lake, they can try out the cooler and more isolated Mountain Lake for new challenges. Mount Constitution is just a quick drive away from the Day Use Area. Moran State Park is the pride of Orcas Island and an experience that will not be found anywhere else.