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On The Loop: Wenatchee & Columbia River Valley

Follow the Wenatchee River as it winds through orchard-lined Sleepy Hollow, and descend into the Wenatchee Valley, known as the Apple Capital of the World. Wenatchee is located at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers. Hot summer sun and abundant irrigation yield ideal produce-growing conditions. While the area has traditionally been known for the apples, pears and cherries it grows, it also yields some pretty tasty wine grapes and a huge variety of produce as well.

Continue on Highway 2 into Wenatchee’s downtown National Historic District. Chat with friendly shopkeepers and explore boutiques, galleries, cafés and Art on the Avenues' impressive collection of outdoor public art. Stop by the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Information Center and Tasting Room to get personalized guidance for local activities and sample local wines, craft beers and handmade ciders! Pybus Public Market is a community gathering spot and the permanent home of the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market, boutique shops and family-owned and -operated restaurants. Shop and dine at Pybus or go for a walk on the adjacent riverfront, which links more than 25 miles of well-maintained, paved paths that constitute the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail. It crosses two bridges and circles both sides of the Columbia River. The Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, also located in the historic district, is home to local historic artifacts, hands-on activities, expansive collections, and contemporary exhibits that the whole family will love.

The Wenatchee Valley is known for its year-round outdoor recreation. Hike the surrounding foothills and explore well-maintained trail systems. Warm months are popular for stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Visit cdlandtrust.org for detailed foothills trail information and maps. Riverfront Rock Gym offers year-round access to indoor rock climbing for beginners — rental gear and lessons are available — to experts just looking for a cool place to “run some laps” on the wall.

Winter draws alpine skiers and snowboard enthusiasts to neighboring Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort, a short 12 miles out of town. The locals are sensitive to wildlife migratory needs during this time of year, so be sure to check in with cdlandtrust.org for information regarding seasonal trail closures before heading out for a quick snowshoe.

Next, head to the City of East Wenatchee which lies right across the Columbia River. This community is home to Pangborn Memorial Airport, car rental services, lodging, shopping, dining, a Scottish links-style golf course and wineries. Plan to visit in early October for the Wings and Wheels Festival — aviation lovers come from around the world for this fun family event! When you’re ready to continue along the Loop, cross back across the river and continue toward Entiat, stopping at Ohme Gardens. Build a couple of hours into your schedule to explore the alpine flora. This is an amazing place to snag photos of the entire valley. Next, head toward Rocky Reach Dam Discovery Center and Museum of the Columbia! Stretch your legs and explore the property’s manicured gardens, let the kids get the wiggles out on the playground and have a picnic. This year, the museum is undergoing a major renovation with really exciting changes in store. The indoor facility will not be open until its grand reopening in 2021 — stay tuned!

Continue north to the small town of Entiat. Stop along the river at Entiat City Park, which is complete with beach access, a boat launch, restrooms and camping. A little further up the road, stop at the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center (milepost 217). This free self-guided walk explains the role wildfires play in local forests and foothills.

The next region: Lake Chelan Valley

Wenatchee Valley & Entiat Visitor Services

Current Conditions

WSDOT Traffic Conditions & Cameras

Weather

Heritage & HIstory

The Wenatchi-P’squosa people (Wenatchee Valley namesake) lived along the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers and traveled seasonally to gather, fish and hunt. David Thompson was one of the first Euro-Americans to encounter these early residents as he canoed down the Columbia in 1811. The Entiat people occupied the region from the Columbia to the Cascade mountains along the Entiat River. 

In 1855, local native tribes signed the Yakama Treaty, which terminated their rights to 10.8 million acres of land. Shortly after, some tribes claimed they did not understand the outcome and intent of the treaty. Numerous clashes and small wars broke out resulting in loss of life.

Settlers arrived in the 1870s and within a few decades, Wenatchee became the greatest apple-producing region in the world. Access to reliable irrigation, ideal growing conditions, the relocation of the Great Northern Railway, and the damming of the Columbia River all played roles in shaping today’s Wenatchee Valley.

Your Wenatchee Valley & Entiat Adventure

Wildlife & Birding
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EV Charging Stations
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Apples

Wenatchee is known as the Apple Capital of the World. Notice huge orchards as well as fruit packing and storage warehouses along the route.

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Winter

Walk Wenatchee's well maintained Apple Capital Loop trail, snowshoe on Entiat and Wenatchee designated trails , visit Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort.

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Side Trip: Entiat
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HIking

Explore the foothills surrounding the Wenatchee Valley or drive into the Entiat Valley and choose from a multitude of shaded, mountainous hikes.

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Amazing Food

Wenatchee's Pybus Public Market is home to a selection of restaurants as well as a weekend Farmers Market in season.

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Climbing

Hit Wenatchee's Riverfront Rock Gym to get a lesson, rent gear or use your own on some awesome indoor walls.

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Ohme Gardens

Spend a couple hours walking through this impeccably manicured alpine garden overlooking the Wenatchee Valley.

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Pybus Public Market

Visit with locals, shop at boutiques, dine in award-winning restaurants or visit the Farmers Market in season.

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Image from Wenatchee/ Columbia River Valley

Springtime Arrowleaf Balsamroot in the Wenatchee Foothills

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