Wenatchee Foothills Trail
In recent years, development has threatened or eliminated access to areas in the foothills that local people have enjoyed for decades. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust stepped forward to implement the community’s goal to protect the habitat, vistas, and public access that define the western edge of Wenatchee.
The foothills are a valuable community asset that require management and stewardship. We have taken the lead on guaranteeing sustainable access through properly built and maintained trails, developed trailheads, diverse community partnerships, and by buying critical properties.
With the support of hundreds of volunteers, we are working to turn the current web of informal trails into a sustainable trail system. We are extremely fortunate to have large areas of public lands in our foothills, as well as many private landowners who willingly let people cross their lands. From Horse Lake in the northern section of the foothills to Saddle Rock at the south, there are now secured access points to wander though wildflowers and shrub steppe. The Wenatchee Foothills Trails offers our community the opportunity to experience and connect with nature only minutes from our homes and places of work. Contact the Land Trust at (509) 667-9708 for a full size 11" x 17" map.
If you want a map specific to the Homestead Trail, click here.
If you want a map specific to the Jacobson Preserve, click here.
*All trails north of 5th street are closed Dec. 1 - April 1.
The Wenatchee Foothill Trails
Click on the links below for more information about trails in each area.
This includes the Homestead Trail, View Point Trail, Horse Lake Short Loop Trail, & the Old Ranch Road.
For a map of the footills, click here.
For directions to the Wenatchee Foothills trailheads and access points, click here.
For many generations our community has expressed interest in the Wenatchee Foothills. Beginning as early as the 1940’s, local and state interests strived to turn the area around Saddle Rock into a public park. Many years later, in 1963, the Saddle Rock Area Development Committee was formed, as a dying wish of former Lieutenant Governor John Gellatly. After four years, the committee abandoned its efforts as the project couldn’t get off the ground. For nearly 30 years, the Foothills were left to their own accord with development, unmanaged recreational use, and mining operations all impacting this sensitive area.
From 1998 - 2002, the City of Wenatchee updated their Urban Area’s Parks and Recreation Plan. The goals of this plan included protecting wildlife habitats and open spaces, and creating a trail system through the Foothills. By 2002 CDLT had acquired 2 parcels of land that included the Foothills Trail: the 30 acre Jacobson Preserve donated by Dr. John Jacobson and the 32 acre Sage Hills property, purchased with funds raised in the “Save the Sage” Campaign. Private landowners also joined the efforts for conservation and recreational access. Frank Peryea and Betsy Beers-Peryea purchased 400 acres surrounding Castle Rock in 2000 to preserve it in open space. The Lester family also continues to allow a trail across their property allowing for a critical access point to the Sage Hills Trail.
With the groundwork lain by the city plan and various land deals, CDLT convened a public meeting to discuss trail use and public access issues in the Foothills. The formation of the Wenatchee Valley Trails Coalition resulted from this meeting. This citizen’s group and CDLT, working with technical assistance grants from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program and STEPS to a Healthier US, developed the first Wenatchee Foothills Trails Plan. Part of this process included the 2005Wenatchee Trail Connections Design Charrette, which produced excellent ideas for trailhead designs and linkages between existing community resources. Considered a major success for all involved, the Wenatchee Foothills Trails Plan was adopted by the City of Wenatchee with its Comprehensive Plan of 2007.
In 2006 to streamline efforts, the Wenatchee Valley Trails Coalition become an official committee of CDLT, renamed simply the Trails Committee. Also in 2006, the Land Trust, in partnership with the Wenatchee Sportsman’s Association, purchased nearly 1,500 acres at the upper end of Horse Lake Road. These historic ranches extended the corridor of protected land, creating the opportunity for a continuous trail from Fifth Street to Horse Lake Road, while preserving precious wildlife habitat. A trailhead for this Horse Lake property as well as our Sage Hills (Day Drive) property was funded through a 2007 grant from the Interagency Committee of Outdoor Recreation (now know as the Recreation and Conservation Office – RCO). Won through the support of the Foothills Trail Plan, this grant also provided funds to construct 4 miles of new trail. Called the Lone Fir Spur and built by tremendous volunteer support, the new trail connected the existing Sage Hills trail to the Horse Lake Trailhead.
To support our work in trails, CDLT in the summer of 2007 hired Patrick Walker as the full-time Trails Coordinator. Under his efforts, the trails program took off and accomplished substantial amounts of work, including the two trailheads and many trail restoration and building projects. In 2009, CDLT, the Trust for Public Lands, Chelan County, and the City of Wenatchee came together with a broad-based group of citizens, sportsmen, developers, realtors and other interested groups to develop the Wenatchee Foothills Community Strategy. This proactive conservation strategy balances new growth with recreation, wildlife protection and land conservation. CDLT now plans to update the Foothills Trails Plan to encompasses the ideas of the Foothills Community Strategy and give the trails committee and the community at large a better direction for the valuable Wenatchee Foothills Trail.
Caring For Our Land
The places we get to recreate are fascinating and fragile environments. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust stewards our properties and trails wisely, allowing recreational access wherever it will not impair the land’s conservation value. Learn what you can to better appreciate these special places and join in our mission to take care of our lands and waters. Our online wildflower guide is a great learning tool for all trail users. You can also check out ways to eliminate noxious weeds that choke out native vegetation as you use the trails.
We’ve all seen it – huge trenches in the middle of trails, side by side trails because of a rut in one, or trails several feet across because footing is always better on the side. Essentially ugly scars across beautiful landscapes. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust builds and maintains sustainable trails that can stand up to the test of time, wear, and water.
Volunteer to protect and maintain trails.