Wenatchee is located in the apple country of Central Washington, in the rainshadow of the Cascade mountains, and accessed through Stevens Pass from Puget Sound. It’s located at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, providing a placid panorama from one of several viewpoints in the surrounding foothills. The area begins to warm up in April, with an average temperature of 65 degrees, providing early mountain adventures compared to the other side of the state. The rivers provide a great place to cool off during the hot, dry summer months.
The City of Wenatchee provided an adventure video to highlight all of the outdoor activities to do in the area, including hiking, mountain biking, and paddleboarding.
View of the Cascades from Devil’s Gulch
Wenatchee Foothills– A system of trails in the Western Wenatchee foothills managed by the Chelan – Douglas Trust provides many miles of trail running along with views of the Enchantments, the city of Wenatchee, and the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers. Horse Lake Preserve, Sage Hills, and other areas are accessed through this trail system.
Wild Flowers in Horse Lake Preserve (photo Joseph Miller)
Rooster Comb-Saddle Rock Loop – An 8.2-mile loop in the Dry Gulch Preserve from Saddle Rock Trailhead in SW Wenatchee that features the pointed rocks overlooking the city.
Mission Ridge – Mission Ridge is a ski resort just outside of Wenatchee in the Okanogan – Wenatchee National Forest. The snow melts earlier than those located closer to Seattle, giving runners miles of trails to explore when spring arrives.
Squilchuck State Park – Located 8 miles from Wenatchee and close to the Mission Ridge Ski Resort, Squilchuck features 4 miles of hiking trails and 10 miles of mountain biking trails. It’s open from April 15 – October 31 and a Discover Pass is needed to park.
Devils Gulch is a new race and one of the few competitions that go beyond 100 miles. The race has three distances: 120 miles, 50 miles, and half marathon. “Many of the other 100s in the PNW showcase what this region is so known for; rain, big mountain climbs, and tons of greenery on the west side of the Cascades. I think this race will show people another side of Washington that is equally breathtaking, which might be surprising for a lot of people to learn, “says Jessie McClurg, Race Director for Banshee Running. “I’m also really proud of the buckle for the 120 miler – it’s in the shape of Washington state, which is fun and unique. I’m also just trying to offer a lot of fun swag, like a t-shirt with a hand-drawn cartoon of the course and all the features you might run into. So many of the older races around here have a strong history and more of an old-school feel, which you can only earn over time. So I’m trying to offer fun and silliness on top of the beauty and the challenge of the course.”
“I think runners are going to love the many different microclimates and ecosystems they will go through on the course. At times, you might be on the edge of an enormous rocky cliff edge looking out over mountains as far as the eye can see. Then you’ll run through a burned forest and some huge hoodoo rock formations up to a ridgeline with dropoffs on either side of you and wildflowers all around. Then you will be running through a muddy, wet, river gulch surrounded by tons of greenery,” adds McClurg. “It changes so much and every section is more beautiful than the last. I also think a great benefit of my race that people might like is the generous cutoff times: we have a 48-hour cutoff for the 120, and a 24 hour cutoff for the 50 miler, which allows for a lot of ability levels to run this race.”
The signup for Devils Gulch has been changed to waitlist in case it gets canceled, so no one will be charged until we know if the race can still be put on due to COVID19 protocols. McClurg is also offering discounts to those who have had races canceled this spring and who have lost their jobs/income. Email her at email@example.com.
Devils Gulch 120 mile finisher’s belt buckle
Horse Lake Trail Runs is a 5-mile, 10-mile, and 25k put on by Run Wenatchee in late April through Horse Lake Preserve in the Wenatchee Foothills. The race has been moved to September 19 because of the Coronavirus.
Leavenworth 100 mile and 50k is another new race from Destination Trail scheduled for 2020 now canceled until 2021. The race is 100 miles (or 55k) beginning in Wenatchee and finishing in Leavenworth, WA.
Run Wenatchee is a running group that also hosts race events. They meet every Thursday at Pybus Public Market for a 5k or 10k run on the Apple Capital Loop Trail.
Mela Coffee Roasting is a great setting to sit down for with a freshly roasted espresso and enjoy a pastry in downtown Wenatchee.
Cafe Columbia is located in Pybus Public Market, which makes it convenient for picking up last minute nutrition and a quick breakfast for the Sunday long run.
Saddle Rock Pub and Brewery – Located in downtown Wenatchee, Saddle Rock has its own beers and several other brews and ciders on tap, as well as pizza and appetizers to gobble down after a run.
Stone’s Gastropub – A place to unwind with 12 local beers on tap, wine, whiskey, and craft cocktails. The food is more upscale than standard pub food, serving items like Snake River Farms pork shank and prime porterhouse steaks.