TRAILBEAR ON THE COLUMBIA: The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
Features and Facilities Survey for the TrailLink listing, 9.3.2010
The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail: Whodathunkit?
TrailBear didn’t. He has been going through Wenatchee for years, on the way to other places. He had no idea that, hidden beyond the rail yards and industry, Wenatchee has a green and scenic riverfront lined with parks. Then, last winter, while preparing for the 2010 summer survey season, he turned his attentions and Google to Wenatchee and found the ACRLT. He tucked the map aside for a future look.
The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail: Where to begin?
Well, anywhere. It’s a ten mile loop trail. Continue on, keeping the river on your right or left hand long enough and you will wind up where you started. In between, it is one Nice Ride, with lots to see and do. TrailBear rates it A/A/A for trail bed, scenery and facilities.
The Wenatchee side has three nice riverfront parks in a row. The East Wenatchee side is more “take a ride on the wild side.” It offers two trail heads, one oasis, a memorial bike painted white and a number of ravines with hairpin bends and 6% grades. You might want to ride this side from upstream (Odabashian Bridge, US 2) down to the dramatic black girder pipeline/bike/ped bridge. That seems to put the 6% grades on the downhill side. The TrailBear started in the …
WALLA WALLA POINT PARK, GE: 47.443325 -120.317550
This is a good place to start a loop ride. It’s a grassy sports park with baseball diamonds, tennis courts, lots of parking, a swimming lagoon, picnic tables and views of the river. This and many other parks on the river have been built by the Chelan PUD. Something about mitigation. You want to build a dam or two? We need parks – a dozen or more. I parked here and started up river on the trail and didn’t get far before hitting…
COYOTE LEADS THE SALMON UPSTREAM, GE: 47.446532 -120.318404
Art in the Park is always interesting. This sculpture is more so than most. It retells a local legend. Note the salmon in cheerleader skirt and pearls heading the wrong way and the senior salmon with cane. In a more modern version she would be on her I-Phone.
From here the trail heads inland to the RR tracks and along them. Below is the Horan Wetlands – a purpose-built wetland. No bike trails in here. Peds only. The River Loop Trail leaves the bike trail back at the top of the park and rejoins it at the river bridge ahead.
WENATCHEE RIVER BRIDGE, GE: 47.45696 -120.33298
There are three bridges over the Wenatchee River at this point: One for the highway, one for the railroad and one for the bikers and peds. Our bridge is a graceful Art Deco ribbon of concrete leading to the…
WENATCHEE CONFLUENCE STATE PARK, GE: 47.461084 -120.326345
Here is a handy feature of the trail – camping on the trail at the Confluence. There is an RV park by the river, a swimming beach, sports fields, a boat launch and lots of parking and grass. The trail stays to the inland side of the park, then enters a narrow strip between industrial buildings and the river to climb to the …
ODABASHIAN BRIDGE, GE: 47.47155 -120.31955
Oda who? Richard Odabashian – did twelve years at member and chairman of the state transportation commission. This is the top of the west bank trail. Once over the bridge you are on the wilder east side. Clipped parks will be a thing of the past. Facilities will be further apart. Ride on and you are on the flats above the river, an area of scrubland cut with small ravines and steep slopes.
THE BLUFFS AND BUGS
One of the features of this side of the ride are the columns of bugs you encounter. Breathing through your teeth does not work that well. I now carry a bandana in the saddle bags for these occasions. The scenery here is wide open with distant views of the mountains and close up views of the river below.
27TH ST TRAILHEAD, GE: 47.450272 -120.309563
About 1.5 miles down from the bridge you encounter the first of three trailheads on the east side – the 27th St. Trailhead. Here there is parking and a ramp down the bluffs to the trail below. If you are starting on the east side, there are better trail head facilities down river.
19TH ST TRAILHEAD, GE: 47.440357 -120.306377
Here is another bluff top trailhead. Parking only and along the street. Ride on. It gets better below at the ...
19th STREET TRAILHEAD, GE: 47.43419 -120.30201
Now this is a trailhead - a rather nice one. This one has full services. There are trees, flower beds, restrooms, water, parking, a trail plaza and fountain honoring those who contributed to the effort and even an air station for your tires (Yet to see that feature at another trailhead). This is the obvious choice for your east side trailhead. It is co-located with the Douglas County Transportation offices, so you are not out in some lonesome parking lot. The next stop down the trail is the…
MEMORIAL BIKE, GE: 47.42350 -120.29793
There is it, painted white and attached to a large cottonwood by the trail. Nice spot overlooking the river. There are flags and floral tributes. Across the lake (for what is the Columbia River now days but a series of lakes behind dams) you can see the parks lining the shore on the Wenatchee side. That is for later. For now your next stop is a nice one…
JUDE’S OASIS, GE: 47.41608 -120.29548
Here is a pleasant little Rotary Club parklet on the trail. Water rushes out of the bank, fills a pool and vanishes toward the river below. There is shade, a bench, a trash can and views. It’s a nice place for a break before…
THE BLACK BRIDGE, GE: 47.41475 -120.29684
Here is a dramatic black girder bridge with a surprise – no cars. The bridge is for a large pipe, utilities and peds and bikies. This end of the bridge is also a trail junction. A spur trail heads down river for 3.52 miles to the Kirby Billingsley Hydro Park. Like all the Chelan PUD parks, it is a quality operation.
If you want a longer ride, trailhead at the hydro park. This will add seven miles to your loop ride. For now, head across the Black Bridge, back to the Wenatchee shore. More parks and delights await, such as the …
WENATCHEE RIVERFRONT PARK, GE: 47.42470 -120.30602
This is a delightful park hidden behind the rail yards. It would make a fine trailhead for the ride. There is a sculpture garden, a bridge over the tracks to the convention center and a small gauge railroad of some length – the Wenatchee Riverfront Railway. In fact, it’s quite an operation, complete with station building and maintenance shops. Continue riding through the park until you reach…
STERNWHEELER PLAZA, GE: 47.43235 -120.31238
The plaza commemorates the steam boat era on the Middle Columbia River. That ran from 1888 to 1928. The highways and the railroads finally did the boats in. Have your photo taken with the bronze statue of Capt. Griggs Walks to Work, then saddle up and head for the end of the loop, back in Walla Walla Point Park.
Taking in the sights along the river at Wenatchee.