The 10 Most Beautiful Lakes on America’s West Coast

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: July 18, 2023
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America’s West Coast is sometimes also referred to as the Pacific Coast. There are three main states on the West Coast, including California, Oregon, and Washington. However, some people consider Arizona, Alaska, and Nevada as West Coast states as well. The average surface area of America’s West Coast is 1,009,688 square miles including 21,433 square miles of water. It should be no surprise there are thousands of lakes in this massive space and they all hold their own beauty and secrets.

Ready to discover the 10 most beautiful lakes on America’s West Coast? Keep reading to follow along and learn more.

1. Convict Lake

Convict Lake

Convict Lake is known for trout



©Kinerath Studio/

The first on this list of beautiful lakes on America’s West Coast is Convict Lake in Mono, California. Its name is interesting, but its beauty impresses visitors. This lake is relatively small, but don’t let its size fool you. Convict lake is beautiful and despite being shorter than one mile long, it is one of the deepest lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The lake is in front of Mount Morrison, a rocky and snowy mountain that perfectly reflects the water. Fishing is a very popular activity on this lake. Visitors can fish for sucker fish, rainbow trout, and German brown trout. During the Winter, the lake does freeze over, and swimming is not recommended despite its beauty.

2. Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake is near the Wallowa Mountains.

©Tyler Rondo/

One of the most beautiful lakes in North America is Wallowa Lake, a 3.5-mile lake in North Oregon. The lake is natural and breathtaking. Scientists believe it is at least 10,000 years old. The lake covers a surface area of 1,508 acres. Many visitors come to Wallowa Lake every year to enjoy recreational activities along the 8.2 miles of shore. It is a popular fishing and camping destination. Anglers fish for bull trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass.

3. Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe boasts amazing skiing, a lake monster, endless fishing options, and an array of other outdoor activities for the entire family.


Another of the most beautiful lakes in North America is Lake Tahoe. The water glistens and thousands of visitors drive to Lake Tahoe to enjoy the stunning views and the many activities. Lake Tahoe is 2 million years old. It is a 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide natural lake in California and Nevada. Surrounding Lake Tahoe’s pristine waters are gorgeous mountains. Lake Tahoe is a super popular winter sports destination. This alpine lake freezes and offers visitors the chance to ski. During the warmer months, visitors can swim, camp, hike, and fish in the lake. Fun fact about Lake Tahoe, it is the second deepest lake in the United States!

4. Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake has the deepest lake in the United States.


One of the most beautiful lakes on the West Coast is also one of the deepest. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest in the world. This lake is in Oregon and has breathtaking views. Tourists and locals enjoy fishing, swimming, and hiking throughout the lake. It’s a 6-mile long, 5-mile-wide volcanic crater lake with a surface area of 20.6 square miles. The average depth of Crater Lake is 1,148 feet and the maximum depth is 1,949 feet. Visitors can take the Garfield Peak Trail to see the full lake’s surface.

5. Lake Washington

Lake Washington

Lake Washington is a long and narrow ribbon lake.

© Cooper

Close to Seattle you can find Lake Washington, a charming freshwater and natural lake. It is home to two of the largest floating bridges in the world. Lake Washington is a ribbon lake with multiple inflowing rivers. Within the thin and finger-like lake are multiple islands including Marsh Island, Broken Island, and Foster Island. It is a popular family destination, especially during the summer. Many people bike, walk, and picnic in this lake. Interestingly, there are multiple plane wrecks at the bottom of the lake, seven to be exact.

6. Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington and is surrounded by colorful wildflowers, streams, and a variety of wildlife.


In Washington State, you can also find Mirror Lake, another one of the most beautiful lakes on America’s West Coast. This peaceful, calm, and quiet lake is a popular hiking destination. Pine trees and wildflowers surround the lake. Mirror Lake is very reflective. You can clearly see the mountains in the lake’s reflection. The water is clean and clear. Many locals visit to skip rocks and enjoy the peaceful nature of the lake. Fishing and camping are allowed. Usually, you can find rainbow trout in the clear lake.

7. June Lake

june lake, california, USA

The best place to swim in June Lake is June Lake Beach.


June Lake is a small and admirable lake within the Inyo National Forest in Mono County, California. The lake sits at an elevation of 7,621 feet. June lake is 1.2 miles long and 0.6 miles wide. The average depth of the small lake is 60 feet, while the maximum is 168 feet. Don’t let the size of the small lake fool you, there are plenty of water activity opportunities. June Lake offers a large population of rainbow trout. There is also a small population of Lahontan cutthroat trout, the state fish of Nevada.

8. Trillium Lake

Sunset at Trillium Lake and Mount Hood reflections

Mount Hood and Trillium Lake are a stunning sight during sunrise and sunset.

© Goebel

Oregon’s Trillium Lake is a stunning lake in Clackamas County. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1960 created a dam on Mud Creek, which formed Trillium Lake. It is 3,000 feet long and 1,400 feet wide. The average depth of this lake is 7 feet, with the maximum at 21 feet. The lake at sunrise is a sight to see. The light touches the peak of the surrounding mountains and casts a light pink and orange glow on the water. The name comes from the trillium flowers that are frequent throughout the land.

9. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake

General view of Lake Roosevelt in Washington State

Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, or Lake Roosevelt, is a reservoir that was created in 1941.


Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake is an artificial lake in the state of Washington. The Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state impounded the Columbia River which formed the lake. The surface area is 80,000 acres, making it the largest lake in the state of Washington. The lake offers 600 miles of shore where visitors can enjoy swimming on the beaches, fishing in the piers, and camping by the lake. You can fish for sockeye salmon and walleye in the lake.

10. Salton Sea

Salton Sea California

Born of an accident, once a vacation hotspot, and now facing environmental issues, Salton Sea is a very unique, high saline

body of water


© Griffiths Photography

The Salton Sea is not a part of the ocean, despite its name. This large lake is a highly saline body of water in Southern California. It is a landlocked lake, and interestingly, it is artificial. A small part of this lake touches Mexico. Because of the high salinity, there are few fish. However, the Salton Sea is home to desert pupfish, the only native species in the area. Recently, the lake was also stocked with tilapia, carp, catfish, largemouth bass, and mosquitofish. When visiting the Salton Sea, you may notice thick white salt near the shallow coast of the lake. This occurs because of evaporation.

Summary of The 10 Most Beautiful Lakes on America’s West Coast

1Convict Lake California
2Wallowa LakeNorth Oregon
3Lake TahoeUtah
4Crater LakeOregon
5 Lake Washington Washington
6Mirror LakeWashington
7June LakeCalifornia
8Trillium LakeOregon
9Franklin D. Roosevelt LakeWashington
10Salton Sea California

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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