Looking for a road trip to a year-round outdoor playground? In the center of Washington State, visitors find an alpine wilderness and arid desert, mountains, rivers, hills, manicured parks and natural beaches along the riverfront — the ideal landscape for a variety of activities.
Just a 2 ½ hr drive east from Seattle, adventure seekers find nirvana in Wenatchee, where rafting, hiking, cycling, skiing, snowshoeing, golfing, canoeing or kayaking, is just outside your door. There is also a historic center with Americana flair. The main street is lined with restored century-old buildings, boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, markets, art galleries, a health bar and yoga studio.
Known as the Apple Capital of the World, where produce is abundant – peaches, apples, apricots, cherries, blueberries are freshly picked from Wenatchee’s fertile valley. Plenty of sunshine keeps this area “Always Fresh, Always Growing” (tagline for Wenatchee), says Jerri Barkley from the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce.
During our 72 hrs, we played golf, hiked, relaxed by the Wenatchee River, visited the public market & historic main street, and went on a wine & cider & beer tastings tour. Sharing a list of recommendations – what to do, where to go, stay, dine & spa in Wenatchee, Washington.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
(Credit: Some notes & recommendations shared below by the Wenatchee Visitor’s Center)
1. Play Golf: We spent a morning playing golf at the Highlander Golf Course . A premier par 70 golf course with challenging water features and canyon carry tee shots. The stonework bridge and shady trees add to the beauty of this course. We enjoyed breathtaking views from 800 ft above the Columbia River. Afterwards, it’s nice to relax and have lunch in style at Highlander’s Bar and Grill.
2. Cycle, Walk, Run or Blade the Apple Capitol Loop Trail: In the heart of this historic town, you’ll find a pedestrian bridge on 1st Street that leads to the 10-mile Apple Capital Loop Trail that circles past the Columbia River and over bridges that connect the trail to the East Wenatchee side.
It’s an awesome trail for cyclists, walkers, runners, roller bladers! There are two extensions on the East Wenatchee side as well that offer up out and back options totaling 26-miles of paved trails.
3. Hike a Trail or Two: Chelan~Douglas Land Trust is making strides in preserving the Wenatchee Foothills for visitors and locals who can hike on many trails – Saddlerock, Castle Rock, and the Sage Hills Trails.
- Saddle Rock: A steep short 1-2 hour hike up Saddle Rock’s trail offers trekkers incredible views of Wenatchee Valley and the Columbia River. From the rocky outcrops and mountain peaks, you can see the North Cascades on a clear day. Trails are well maintained. For more information visit, click here
- Castle Rock another short hike that offers amazing views of the Wenatchee plateau. The open slopes lead up to a rocky peak that resembles a castle.
4. Yoga & Paddle Boarding: Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga with iLa yoga or guided excursions.
5. Pybus Market Tour and Farmer’s Market:
You can’t leave Wenatchee without a visit to Pybus Market, voted by KING 5 TV’s Evening Magazine as the “Best Farmers Market in 2015 and 2017.” Pybus is located just a short two blocks east of historic downtown Wenatchee. Opened in 2013, Steve Robinson GM of Pybus Market, told us about the history of this reclaimed steel mill, that now serves as a bustling hub for the town.
We were impressed with the high quality selection of artisan and ethnic products, locally grown fruits and vegetables, restaurants, cafes, and community spirit. Check the schedule for events – cooking classes, demonstrations & live music.
Don’t Miss! The Farmer’s Market where over 150 family farms set up stands outside of the Market place, every Saturday 8am-1pm. We left with a bag of peaches, apricots, cherries, and a jar of honey made by McGregor Bee Farm.
6. Get a Massage! After hiking, rafting, kayaking, or a yoga session, check into Elements of Beauty for an amazing massage. Ask for Kristin Denkinger, LMP, licensed therapist.
7. Visit Ohme Gardens: Beautiful gardens and walking paths with panoramas of the Columbia River and Valley.
8. Shopping & Walking Historic Main Street: Stroll along the Historic Main Street Downtown and experience “small town” America.
- Owl Drug – an old fashioned ice cream parlor – a favorite for children & adults
- Gilded Lily – home décor and so much more
- Gather – comfortable yet stylish clothing
- Tumbleweed Studio—handcrafted & locally sourced jewelry and gifts.
- Firehouse Pets – warning! cute adoptable kittens, as well as pet supplies, toys and treats.
9. Culture, Art Walks & Live Music: We walked through the town, and visited art galleries, saw several of the 88 world-class outdoor sculptures that are exhibited throughout Wenatchee, and heard live music at concerts in the park.
10. Wine & Cider & Beer Tastings — a partial list of wineries, breweries & cider tastings in the Wenatchee area.
Malaga Springs Winery: Malaga Springs Winery brings a little bit of the Southwest style to Wenatchee with its adobe architecture, beautifully set & tucked under the basalt columns of the steep cliffs above the Columbia River. Owners Al & Kat built their home, beautiful gardens and vineyards.
Some of the wine produced today comes from vines that were brought here from Spain to supply the railroad builders in the late 1800’s. Wines are hand crafted using sustainable wine making and farming techniques. This boutique winery produces approx. 3,500 cases per year.
Don’t Miss! Al’s handmade ceramics – for sale in the wine tasting room.
Snowdrift Ciders: Owner Peter Ringsrud shared that Snow Drift crafts their ciders from apples grown on their orchard in sunny East Wenatchee. This incredible region gives their apple trees the ideal conditions to grow apples packed with the flavors necessary to produce fine ciders. When ripened to perfection, the apples are picked and crafted into award-winning ciders.
Martin-Scott: High on the bluff above the Columbia River, we visited the Martin Scott vineyard in Eastern Wenatchee where we looked out to incredible views of the valley below. Taste some of their 17 varietals, and sit outside on the patio and enjoy looking across to Mission Ridge ski area, local orchards and Malaga Springs Winery.
Don’t Miss! Guido’s wood-fired pizza – delish
Jones of Washington Wine: Jones of Washington is a family-owned winery and was one of the first families to farm these productive and scenic lands. The Jones estate vineyards produce small-batch artisan wines.
Wenatchee Valley Brewing Co: Located in Pybus Market, Wenatchee Valley Brewing Co. has quickly become a Wenatchee favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. The family operation is committed to crafting and serving great beer in a lively setting.
Warm Springs Inn & Winery: One of the most charming B&B’s in Washington! Warm Springs Inn was built in 1917 as a private residence & horse ranch, and has been renovated by its owners Julie & Ludger Szmania, who warmly greeted us with the family dogs.
The Inn is located along the Wenatchee River offering the perfect location to cool down from the heat of the summer sun. The property is beautifully landscaped, has a gazebo & many places to stroll and relax.
Don’t Miss! The legendary breakfasts by Chef Ludger, the owner himself, who carries on the gourmet talents from 7 generations of family chefs. Ludger hand-picked blueberries from the Inn gardens & sprinkled them on the side with rainier cherries, paired nicely with the apricot beignets.
Highlight: Be sure to gaze up at the night stars!
Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel: Centrally located in the heart of the historic town, guests are within a few blocks to Pybus Market, the Apple Loop Trail, and shops on the main street.
Photo courtesy of the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel
Wenatchee offers a range of dining options — authentic Salvadorian Food, Indian Cuisine, Russian and Japanese as well. Here’s a short list of some of the places we visited and dined.
Chateau Faire le Pont Winery: We met owners Doug & Debe, first winemakers in Wenatchee, at their state-of-the-art winery located in a beautifully renovated 1920’s brick warehouse (formerly used for staging fruit to be loaded onto trains).
Enjoy fine-dining and wine indoors with panoramic views, or outside on the decks and gazebo.
Don’t Miss! Live music on Friday Nights.
McGlinn’s Public House: If you’re in the town center and hungry for local healthy, delicious food, head to McGlinn’s. It’s a popular place to eat in Wenatchee — love the outdoor sitting area! One of our favorite items was the McGlinn’s Salad & the Grilled Veggies Nachos.
Pybus Market: You can find a variety of places to eat in Pybus Market. We visited Pybus Market to mingle with locals, shop, and savor the Latin food at South for dinner, and breakfast at Pybus Bistro .
Breakfast – Local Favorites:
- The Roaster Grill offers a one of a kind view of the Valley, located on the 9th floor of the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel
- Mela, Wenatchee’s own coffee roaster, which features great pastries or full breakfasts.
- The Hunter’s Wife, Great way to start the day? Healthy power acai bowl at The Hunter’s Wife Health Bar in Wenatchee. A Power Bowl is an extra thick acai berry smoothie topped with banana slices, granola & dressed with apple nectar & chicory root.
- Bob’s Classic – just across the street offering breakfast classics
- Pybus Market – Café Columbia, a smoothie at Royal Produce or the Farmers Market
- Anjou Bakery: If you need a little java jolt for the drive over the mountains, grab a yummy pastry and a latte from Anjou Bakery located in Cashmere, considered one of the best bakeries in the state. Open Thursday – Sunday 8am-5pm
- The Hunter’s Wife: This Health Bar serves up plant based fresh vibrant local whole juices, acai bowls and other tasty snacks. I met Tandi Rolen, Owner & Founder of The Hunter’s Wife and love her story and goal to “feel great, be great” by healthy eating and living.
- Lemolo Café & Deli: An offbeat, colorfully painted haunt with bikes on the walls and a menu of hearty homemade salads, sandwiches, soups and pizza.
HOW TO GET AROUND
HOW TO GET AROUND
BookMark Tours: Whether you want a tour of Wenatchee and the surrounding areas, or wine tastings, or a tailor-made tour, contact BookMark Tours owner — Jeremy Waters – #509.888.2172. He’s punctual, professional, knowledgeable about Wenatchee, and a really nice guy!
Planning a Roadtrip? Consider Wenatchee, called the Apple Capital & destination to explore the great outdoors — just 2 1/2 hrs from Seattle.
Check out the website of the Visitors Center at the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce – click here!
When you’re in town, stop by the Visitor’s Center on the historic main street (137 North Wenatchee Avenue Wenatchee WA 98801) – and you’ll find maps, brochures, helpful local insights & even wine tastings! #PickWenatchee
Global Adventuress would like to thank the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce for hosting this trip, and introducing us to those featured in this article.