The Wenatchee National Forest, of the Okanogan and Wenatchee
National Forests, is located in the west central portion of
Washington and is comprised of 1,672,139 acres. There are about
79 developed campgrounds of which 47 meet the selection criteria
The Wenatchee National Forest (NF) stretches about 135 miles
along the east side of the Cascade Mountain range from the south
end of the North Cascade National Park (NP) and Lake Chelan to
the Yakama Indian Reservation and Rimrock Lake. Being close to
several major population centers, the Wenatchee NF is one of the
most heavily visited national forest in the Pacific Northwest
year after year. This Forest, with an abundance and variety of
recreation opportunities to be discovered and enjoyed by all, has
"something for everyone".
One popular recreational activity, allowing visitors to discover
the Wenatchee NF up-close-and-personally, is exploring the 2,500
miles of recreation trails. These trails vary in lengths, mode,
and difficulty. There are short, foot-only trails, such as the
0.5-mile Hidden Lake Trail at Glacier View campground. Scenic
trails, like the Icicle River Gorge-River Loop Trail at Rock
Island campground, are enjoyed both by hikers and mountain
bikers. Some in the timbered zones, such as Little Kachess Trail
out of the Kachess campground, will challenge all. Almost half
of the Wenatchee NF is classified as Wilderness and there are
numerous trails, such as Buck Creek trail at Phelps Creek
campground, providing access to pristine wonders. In addition,
there are several "barrier free" trails, like Pleasant Valley
campground's wheelchair-friendly Nature Trail which is perfect
for physically challenged hikers and hikers with strollers.
The Wentachee NF is horse country with trails in open pine
stands, cool and shady timber, and high country areas. The
Forest's horse camps, such as Chiwawa Horse Camp, were designed,
developed, and maintained with the help of the Backcountry
Horsemen of Washington organization. For more information about
equestrian recreation opportunities in the Wenatchee, contact the
Forest or the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington organization.
Wenatchee NF has miles of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails that
are open to both dirt bikes and pedal-powered mountain bikes.
The highest concentration of these trails may be west of Naches,
Washington. Crow Creek and Kaner Flat campgrounds appear to be
at the center of the OHV activity. From these campgrounds, OHV
enthusiasts can experience more than 150 miles of trails in the
Chinook Pass and White Pass areas.
However, one doesn't have to leave the asphalt to enjoy breath-
taking scenery. US Rt. 2 and I-90 cross the middle section of
the Wenatchee NF. State Rt. 410 provides access to the east side
of Mount Rainier NP and U.S. Rt. 12 winds past Tieton River and
Rimrock Lake to Packwood, Washington. Developed campgrounds on
or near these routes allow visitors to stop a while and explore
the area in depth.
On the way to Packwood along U.S. Rt. 12, are several
campgrounds, some in sunny stands of Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine
and others in dense woods of fir and spruce. Late summer campers
in Hause Creek, Willows, and Windy Point campgrounds, can watch
or join the whitewater enthusiasts floating by on the Tieton
River. Nearby is Clear Creek Falls Overlook - a must stop.
However, Clear Creek Falls isn't the only spectacular waterfall
in the Wenatchee NF, just the easiest to see. (Ask at the Ranger
District office for a waterfall near your campground.)
Where there are waterfalls, a lake or river can't be far away.
And where there are lakes and rivers, there is usually fishing.
The Wenatchee NF fish, ranging from Brook trout to Kokanee
salmon, are waiting for anglers. The fishing in the Wenatchee
NF is challenging and, in many places, requires a skilled angler.
State Rt. 410 threads its way through Mt. Rainier NP and along
the American and Naches rivers. Mt. Rainier is the highest
volcanic peak in the Cascade Mountain Range and part of the "Ring
of Fire" of volcanic ranges that almost circle the Pacific Ocean.
It is considered an active volcano although its most recent
eruption occurred in the early 1800s. Made from sluggish,
intermittent lava flows and explosive eruptions of ash and rock
over the last 40 million years, Mt, Rainier is classified as a
"composite volcano." Built by eons of eruptions, worn down by
ice, wind, and rain, and sculpted glaciers, visiting Mt. Rainier
is a wonderful experience. An outstanding location for observing
the beauty of Mt. Rainier is Sunrise. The highest point in Mt.
Rainier NP, visitors can access Sunrise by car (recreational
vehicles not recommended) to enjoy fabulous views and a wonderful
display of wildflowers. Sunrise is within an easy drive of
Wenatchee's Lodgepole, Pleasant Valley, and Little Naches
campgrounds, making it a great day trip from any of these
Tumwater Campground, on US Rt. 2 and just north of the Bavarian-
styled community of Leavenworth, is not only an outstanding
transient campground but is a good base camp for enjoying the
many activities available in town. Once a popular location for
anglers, but since the State no longer permits fishing, Tumwater
campground is rarely full. Now, campers come to enjoy the
tranquil atmosphere, the spacious sites, and maybe some wading in
the Chiwaukem Creek.
There is a lot of history to be found in the Wenatchee NF.
Beside the OHV opportunities found at Kaner Flat campground, is
its special history. Today's campground location was the site of
the Longmire Wagon Train's stop on their way to Steilacoom, WA.
There are several other "branch routes" off the primary Oregon
Trail in the area (maps are available at the Naches Ranger
District Office) for visitors to explore and imagine what it
might have been like to travel through the Forest in a covered
wagon more than 150 years ago.
There are so many special places in the Wenatchee National
Forest, things to do, lakes to fish, trails to hike, rivers to
float, roads to drive, sights to see, and memories to make in the
Wenatchee NF. There truly is "something for everyone" in this
Forest and it all waits for your discovery.
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, Washington 98801
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
803 W. 2nd St.
Cle Elum, Washington 98922
2108 Entiat Way
Entiat, Washington 98822
10237 Highway 12
Naches, Washington 98937
600 Sherbourne St.
Leavenworth, Washington 98826