Wenatchee knows how to do a bike trail right. I’m new to bicycling. Well, new since I was a kid. I just bought my first bike with any kind of gears this past year so I’ve been trying to get out on it riding trails. I don’t want to do road biking because cars just make me too nervous. But trying to find good, long trails that are mostly easy enough for a beginner and a 50+ year old woman, but also a little challenging in spots to build strength and endurance, has been a little difficult. So I was thrilled when we discovered the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in Wenatchee, Washington.
The trail is 10 miles long and loops from one side of the Columbia River to the other. It is the longest loop trail in Washington State. There are several access points and we chose the Wenatchee Confluence State Park to enter simply because that’s where we stumbled onto it. There is plenty of parking and you can enter the trail right there. It took us for a short ride with slight inclines and declines until we got to the bridge. Then it was enough of an incline that Josh and I had to walk our bikes up. David was impressive – he rode all the way up it and his bike is a cruiser – no gears!
While this bridge also carries car traffic, the bike trail is completely separated by a concrete wall so I felt very safe. Once on the other side of the Columbia River, you go a few miles along the river and behind some beautiful houses. There are several spots to pull over and look out over the river, some with benches to sit on. There are two access sites, one at 27th Street and one at 19th Street. The one at 19th has a restroom, water fountain, and even a place to put air in your bicycle tires.
The inclines and declines on this part of the trail are perfect. Some places they are steep enough that going down them there is a 10mph sign. One small part even shows a 6% downgrade.
On the day we rode, the river was quite high and even went over parts of the trail. That was really fun as we were already pretty warm by then and the little bit of water cooled our feet.
About five miles down that side the trail then goes back over the Columbia River via an old railroad bridge, and is for bikes and pedestrians only – still no worry about cars. Going down the other side takes you into Wenatchee and along the riverfront. There are a lot of trailside rest areas, creative works of art, and colorful gardens.
A little further on you have the opportunity at Wenatchee Riverfront Park to take another bike/pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks and on Saturdays, stop at the farmers market. If you get to this spot after noon, take a break and stop in at the Saddle Rock Pub and Brewery. They have an impressive number of microbrews, a fabulous Chicken Caesar Ranch Wrap, and their own Wenatchee Pizza which has bacon and apple slices on it. A tasty alternative to the usual Hawaiian pizza.
Bike back over the bridge and ride through the Riverfront Park, which has more restrooms and water fountains. The trail then goes through Walla Walla Point Park, where there is a lot of activity going on such as sports fields, stand up paddle boarding, kayak rentals, etc.
Not too much farther until the trail enters the other side of the Wenatchee Confluence State Park, through the manicured lawns of the camping sites and soon back to the parking lot.
The ride took an hour and a half (not counting stopping for lunch). It was the perfect amount of time, a ride that was easy enough most of the time, yet challenging in spots, incomparable scenery, and safe from car traffic. The Apple Capitol Loop Trail is the perfect ride for beginner cyclists, young and old!
Map of the trail: http://www.chelanpud.org/documents/Apple_cap_Rec_loop_map.pdf