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On The Loop: Wenatchee & Columbia River Valley

Follow the Wenatchee River as it winds its way through orchard-lined Sleepy Hollow, descend into the Wenatchee Valley, historically 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 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 of course, sample local wines! 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 constituting the Apple Capital 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. Wenatcheeoutdoors.org is a long-standing, highly regarded resource for muscle-powered outdoor recreation. Read personal, up-to-date blogs about the latest seasonal activities or peruse their extensive online library of suggested activities, rated for skill and accessibility. 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.

And for those outdoor enthusiasts who want to capture all of their memories, sign up for photography or videography classes with Voortex Productions!

Before continuing your journey toward Entiat, cross the Odabashian Bridge at the north end of town and drive a few miles out toward Lisa Bee’s, an acclaimed bistro, bakery and produce market. It’s a little jaunt but worth every minute of the drive! Then head back the way you came, crossing back over the bridge and toward Ohme Gardens. Build a couple of hours into your schedule to explore their amazing alpine flora. They also happen to be celebrating their 90th anniversary this year! 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, have a picnic and check out the fish ladder!

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 farther 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

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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
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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Wildlife
Look for deer in Wenatchee's foothills and the Entiat Valley, and bighorn sheep as you leave Wenatchee heading toward Entiat. The area is also teeming with birdlife all along the Columbia River and Entiat.
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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
The Wenatchee Swingin' Big Band at Ohme Gardens
The Infinity Project - a Tribute to Journey at Ohme Gardens
Hysteria-Tribute to Def Leppard at Ohme Gardens
Invisible Touch - A Tribute to Phil Collins at Ohme Gardens
Mexican Mole: A Rich and Regional Traditional Sauce
I wish I could remember the first time I had mole. Even though the specific moment doesn’t stand out, I do know that I never looked at Mexican food the same once I had it. Mole (pronounced mole-LAY) is a thick, rich sauce used in many regions of Mexico. Although generally its primary ingredient is dried chiles, the type of chile and the number of different chiles varies widely depending on its origin and the recipe. (Fun fact: in Mexico, chiles have different names depending on whether they’re fresh or dried).… Read More >>>>
Spring brings a bevy of babies to the Loop!
Spring brings a bevy of babies, and we can’t get enough of the avian species found here in every corner of the Cascade Loop. There are many lakes, rivers, creeks and waterways that create a perfect habitat for ducks, geese, osprey and eagles to nest and raise their young. Keep a sharp eye out for these fuzzy critters! Read More >>>>
Cascade Loop Birding Trail
Did you know that the Cascade Loop is home to 225 of the 346 recorded bird species in our state? Read More >>>>
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