Riffe Lake, Washington, USA

Also known as:  Riffe Reservoir, Mossyrock Lake, Davisson Lake

Riffe Lake by any other name would still be a fantastic recreational spot. The name confusion for this man-made reservoir in the Seattle and Puget Sound region is because since opening in 1968, it has had two name changes. Originally named Mossyrock Lake because it formed behind Mossyrock Dam, the name was changed at one point to Davisson Lake. In 1976, the lake’s name was changed to Riffe Lake in – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Riffe Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Riffe Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Riffe Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Riffe Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Riffe Lake

Lake Locations: USA - West - Washington - Seattle & Puget Sound -

Riffe Lake by any other name would still be a fantastic recreational spot. The name confusion for this man-made reservoir in the Seattle and Puget Sound region is because since opening in 1968, it has had two name changes. Originally named Mossyrock Lake because it formed behind Mossyrock Dam, the name was changed at one point to Davisson Lake. In 1976, the lake’s name was changed to Riffe Lake in honor of a small pioneer village that now lies beneath the lake’s waters. Some will likely call it Mossyrock Lake forever.

Riffe Lake had its beginnings when Mossyrock Dam was built across the Cowlitz River for hydroelectric power production. Part of the Cowlitz River Project, the dam is owned by Tacoma Power Company, and the project includes nearby Mayfield Lake downstream. In keeping with industry best practices, recreation, flood control and wildlife habitat are built into the design and operating plans. Water releases are timed to keep the river depths optimal for fish. The reservoir is open for camping and fishing year-round, with two utility-operated parks offering a large number of well-appointed campsites, swim areas, playground, picnic areas and boat ramps. Although there are no private homes directly on the shoreline, several are located nearby in the hills with great views of the lake. The lakeshore is heavily wooded and imparts a wilderness feeling once out of sight of the boat ramps.

The two main campgrounds are located at Mossyrock Park at the west end south of the dam and at Taidnapam Park on the east end near the Cowlitz inlet. Mossyrock has 152 campsites, 76 of them with electric and water hook-ups, a separate group camping area, and an area dedicated to walk-in primitive group tent camping. The camping areas are spread out under the trees, and all have fire rings and picnic tables. Coin-operated showers and laundry facilities are on-site, and a store/concession stand sells snacks and supplies seasonally. Taidnapam Park has 139 campsites, all with electric and water hook-ups. Ninety-six sites also have sewer connections for RVs. Another 24 walk-in sites serve those with a desire for solitude. The small swim areas are open when water levels permit, and a very popular ‘fishing bridge’ is wheelchair-accessible. Both parks have day-use areas also. An interpretive exhibit near the entrance to Taidnapam Park relays the history of the area’s Native American residents more than 4,600 years ago. Other commercial campgrounds are located nearby. A few free campsites are located near the dam on a first-come basis.

Fishing is always a big attraction at Riffe Lake. The lake holds coho salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, chinook salmon, brown trout, crappie, smallmouth bass and bluegill. Because the dams interrupted natural salmon migration on the river, salmon are raised at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery downstream and, together with migrating salmon netted below the dams, trucked upstream to be stocked in the river above Riffe Lake. The altered life cycles of these artificially-transported salmon are the focus of several on-going studies aimed toward improving the fishery.

At least five boat ramps are located on Riffe Lake, mostly in or near the two parks. Most have floating docks to accommodate varying water levels. There appear to be no restrictions on motor size, but special fishing regulations may be in place. A Washington fishing license is required. Nearby, small Swofford Pond also offers fishing, but no motors are allowed on this lake. Swofford Pond holds largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, channel catfish, crappie and yellow perch.

Those looking for hiking opportunities and wildlife viewing are in for a treat. The Cowlitz Wildlife Area’s Peterman Ridge Unit sprawls along the northern shore of Riffe Lake. Over 10 miles of multi-use trails cross the area, mostly on single-track forest roads. The 6,855-acre unit Wildlife Area also offers trout fishing in streams and big game hunting in season including bear, deer and elk. The wildlife area includes much of the Riffe Lake shoreline and serves to protect such birds of prey as bald eagles and osprey, shorebirds, waterfowl, songbirds and wading birds. Small mammals thrive in the near-shore undergrowth. Other wildlife protection areas surround nearby Mayfield Lake. No campfires are allowed in the wildlife area.

Although there are no towns on Riffe Lake, several small communities nearby offer supplies, fast food and some types of lodgings. The town of Mossyrock down river has grocery stores, general services, gas stations and the like. Nearby, the small City of Morton provides an unusual collection of arts-related shops and theater productions. From its old logging history comes tales of unique characters and historic buildings. Traveling along US 12, the White Pass Scenic Byway, one can see Mount St. Helens to the south and Mount Rainier to the north. The best way to get to Riffe Lake is to take US 12 east off I-5 south of Chehalis-a distance of about 60 miles.

Because this is scenic vacation area, a number of lodgings can be found nearby. Several small resorts, guest cabins and bed & breakfasts can be located near US 12, with small motels found near the towns and major intersections. Following US 12 east past Riffe Lake leads travelers into Mount Rainier National Park. Not all access routes into the national park are open in winter, and drivers through this scenic area should plan for winter mountain driving and heed all warning signs. Many roads are closed from November to May. Riffe Lake makes for the ideal home base for sightseeing this scenic area.

Things to Do at Riffe Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Riffe Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Crappie
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

All About Riffe Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Riffe Lake

The Riffe Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Riffe Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Riffe Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Riffe Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Riffe Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Riffe Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tacoma Power Company

Surface Area: 11,830 acres

Shoreline Length: 52 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 778 feet

Water Volume: 1,686,000 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 1,042 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Riffe Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Riffe Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Riffe Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Riffe Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Riffe Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Riffe Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Riffe Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Riffe Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Riffe Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Riffe Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Riffe Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Riffe Lake forum group? Click Here

New Riffe Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi