Lake Wenatchee North Loop

Lake Wenatchee State Park covers almost 500 wooded acres along the eastern shore of Lake Wenatchee near the outlet. Open year-around, the park’s activities include camping (almost 100 sites), swimming, horseback riding (for rent), biking, kayaking (for rent), cross-country skiing, and, of course, hiking. This loop meanders through the northern section of the park, along the lake’s shore and a short distance next to the Wenatchee River.

Location Elsewhere
Rating 3.2 out of 5
Difficulty Easy
Distance 3.5 miles
Duration 1:08 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 178 feet
High Point 2,029 feet
Low Point 1,761 feet
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt, wood chips
Water Potable water at campground
Status State Park
Administration Washington State Parks and Recreation
Conditions Excellent
Permits Discover Pass; during winter months Sno Park permit
Camping At campground
Maps USGS Plain
Trailhead From Leavenworth, take US-2 north for 15 miles, then turn right onto WA-207. After 4.5 miles turn left into the North Lake Wenatchee State Park (about a mile north of the South section).

Google Directions (47.811554, -120.719874)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Dogs must be leashed
Features Lake
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 245.6 miles
  • Lewiston 270.2 miles
  • Sandpoint 284.6 miles
  • Seattle 106.8 miles
  • Spokane 213.1 miles
Resources
Date September 17, 2017

The northern section of the trail winds through the woodsFor a counterclockwise hike, start out at the park office in the northern section of the park (there is parking just after you enter the park) and hike on the blacktopped road westwards past the dump station. After about a quarter mile the blacktopped road will sharply turn south to Campsite Loop 2; keep going straight at that point on a pleasantly wide singletrack leading into the woods. After another half mile, the trail moves south at a somewhat confusing fork; however, going straight gets you to a park boundary sign. The trail gradually climbs a small hill and drops down steeply on the far side to the lakeshore.

A sandy beach on Lake WenatcheeThe lakeshore is picturesque, in some places sandy or gravelly and others river-rock covered, littered with driftwood, and ringed by dark-green fir forest. The view is splendid across the lake (Nason Ridge) and to the west and into the Cascades (Wenatchee Ridge, Dirtyface Mountain). Alas, wildfire smoke created a haze in the distance.

Emerald IslandA short spur leads westwards to the park’s boundary and a YMCA camp. If you’re into geocaching you’ll be able to locate a treasure along this stretch. Heading east, the trail hugs the lakeshore closely and spills out onto a day-use area, complete with bathroom, sandy beach and views of Emerald Island squatting near the lake’s outlet.

Wenatchee RiverThe trail then re-enters the woods and moves along the Wenatchee river. Unfortunately, views of the river are frequently blocked by thick timber, a shortcoming that is overcome by a number of short trails heading down to the riverfront. After half a mile from the day-use area the trail shifts away from the river and heads northwest on a thick carpet of woodchips, eventually curling around and returning to the park’s entrance.

Enjoy this hike? Let us know in the comments below!

The northern section of the trail winds through the woods
The northern section of the trail winds through the woods
Panorama shot of Lake Wenatchee
Panorama shot of Lake Wenatchee
Lake Wenatchee, looking west. There was quite a bit of wildfire smoke
Lake Wenatchee, looking west. There was quite a bit of wildfire smoke
Lake Wenatchee, looking east
Lake Wenatchee, looking east
A sandy beach on Lake Wenatchee
A sandy beach on Lake Wenatchee
There are perfect photo opportunities along the lakes shore
There are perfect photo opportunities along the lake’s shore
Geocache
Geocache
A "hut" on the beach near Emerald Island
A “hut” on the beach near Emerald Island
Emerald Island
Emerald Island
A huge tree rotting away on the shore of Lake Wenatchee
A huge tree rotting away on the shore of Lake Wenatchee
Wenatchee River
Wenatchee River
Most of the trail is a wide single-track
Most of the trail is a wide single-track
Trailmap
Alternate Routes

  • Another hiking loop and interpretive trail is in the South section of the park


Things to Consider

  • The park is divided into a northern and southern section, both featuring camping, but the northern section is closed during the winter months. Facilities include a store, kayak/canoe/paddleboard rental, hot showers, dump station, picnic shelters, boat launch, guided horseback rides, and 30-plus miles of groomed cross-country ski trails during the winter.


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