U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Wenatchee National Forest


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Forest Information

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 campgrounds.

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.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 215 Melody Lane Wenatchee, Washington 98801 509-664-9200 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Cle Elum 803 W. 2nd St. Cle Elum, Washington 98922 509-852-1100 Entiat 2108 Entiat Way P.O.B. 476 Entiat, Washington 98822 509-784-1511 Naches 10237 Highway 12 Naches, Washington 98937 509-653-1400 Wenatchee River 600 Sherbourne St. Leavenworth, Washington 98826 509-548-6977

Fred and Suzi Dow