Hiking To Saddle Rock
A Winding Trail Near Wenatchee
After camping the previous night at Wenatchee Confluence State Park, we were well rested and ready to go. The day was forecasted to be clear, sunny, and warm—so we opted to get this hike done in the cool of the morning. As we drove to Saddle Rock trailhead, a short 15 minutes from the park, the sun was out, and we knew we’d have some great views from the top.
A Steep Hike To The Saddle
The Saddle Rock Gateway opened in 2017 and includes paved parking lots with nearly 100 spaces, two separate restrooms with two stalls each, a sheltered picnic area, and interpretive signs throughout. At 8AM, it was already a bit busy. We put on our packs and hit the trail.
The trail was packed earth, broad and dry. The path is just about a mile to the summit of Saddle Rock with an elevation gain of 920 feet. It’s an excellent workout for a shorter hike. The trail up is visible from the parking lot, and the name ‘saddle’ for the rocky summit is apropos. Softer, rounded foothills are covered in the velvety green of spring growth and surround the remainder of the parking area, except for in the direction of downtown Wenatchee. Vibrant clumps of bright yellow spot the hillsides along with the gray-green sagebrush.
The sky was a bold cornflower blue with only wisps of white clouds. The temperature was only in the low 50’s, but on this shadeless trail in full sun, we warmed quickly. The rapid gain in elevation gave us brilliant views all around, even before reaching the top. We reached the top in just 40 minutes. The city of Wenatchee lay spread out below along the curving sapphire blue ribbon that is the Columbia River. Beyond the grassy domes of the nearby peaks were jagged snow-capped mountains. The breeze was cool and steady up top and as refreshing as our views.
We lingered at the summit for photos and to take in the sights. The trails lead on zig-zagging along the crests of the hilly terrain, and we decided to follow the path a bit further. This led us to more views and even a glimpse of Glacier Peak in the far distance. The scenery was idyllic, the breeze was cool, and the birds were singing. It was an impressive outing, and all of nature seemed to agree. As we topped another hill, we spotted a grouse darting across the trail and disappearing into the sage. We took short video at this spot as the birds were lending their voices as theme music. This was a peaceful Sunday morning hike, here at the top, taking in the views and hearing nothing but birdsong—there was not a more wonderful place to be in that moment.
We wound our way down the dusty trail, taking many more photos and stopping to appreciate all the balsamroot blossoms. The day was warming, which made us glad we had gotten an early start. This short workout was well worth the views and had worked up appetites in both of us. We were all too soon back at the vehicle and now in search of some breakfast.
Spring hikes, like this one, are sort of a re-awakening of our souls. The harder the work, the more rejuvenated we become. We loved this trail, this day, this place, this weather, you name it, we loved it. This was a shorter hike, but it left us time for all the other activities we had planned while in Wenatchee. Moral of the story: long hikes, short hikes, morning hikes, evening hikes, all hikes have their virtues. While spending a weekend in Wenatchee, we were happy we chose this hike!