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Guide to Hiking Saddle Rock Trail | Wenatchee

Saddle Rock overlooks all of Wenatchee and the Columbia River from high in the Wenatchee Foothills. An absolute classic of the area that's not to be missed!


Although it's not the highest mountain bordering the Columbia River, it is certainly one of the most prominent in this central Washington area. It sits at an elevation of 2,228' and is close to the also-popular Castle Rock trail.

The trailhead is only about 5 minutes from downtown Wenatchee making it an ideal place for an afternoon hike or run. Locals and tourists alike come to Saddle Rock for its gorgeous views of the city and the valley.


What You Need to Know

  • The trail is closed until October 2022 due to mining waste removal.

  • Permit: None

  • Dogs: Allowed on a leash.

  • Best time to visit? Spring through fall



Saddle Rock Trailhead | Dry Gulch Trailhead

The trailhead for the Saddle Rock trail is the Dry Gulch Trailhead in Wenatchee is very large and paved. There is room for around 100 cars (and sometimes all that space is needed!). There are also bathrooms at the trailhead.


Saddle Rock Trailhead and Parking Lot
Saddle Rock Trailhead and Parking Lot

Did You Know? Saddle Rock is only one popular hike in Wenatchee. The Devil's Spur Trail near Mission Ridge is another great option.

Directions to Saddle Rock

Use the map below to navigate to the Saddle Rock/ Dry Gulch trailhead:




Saddle Rock Trail Stats

The Saddle Rock trail is a somewhat difficult climb that, if you follow the most common loop, is 2.5 miles long. Throughout your climb, you'll ascend around 1,000 feet, but it might be more or less depending on which way you decide to go up or down.

Distance

Elevation Gain​

Time Required

Difficulty

​2.5 miles

​1,000 feet

​2 hours

​3/10

There are several possible paths to the summit, as you'll see by the many branching, dirty trails in the area. But, please stay on the obvious paths as the city is trying to restore this area.


Saddle Rock Trail Map

Check out the map below for some of the many possible ways to the summit of Saddle Rock:



Hiking the Saddle Rock Trail

Your hike begins in a large, open parking lot. Saddle Rock is up above you, perched on the hillside with many other smaller rock formations around it. It looks pretty far away up there, but the trail goes quickly!



Trails headed up to Saddle Rock
Trails headed up to Saddle Rock

From the parking lot, you're going to want to head towards the foothills, aiming for an information sign at the trailhead. After looping around on a wide trail, you'll see that the trail splits. The most common approach is to take the lefthand path and, if you want, you can choose to come down the other way. But, most people go up and down the same way.



The trail climbs steadily from here, weaving up and down through the tall grass. The hike is short and steep, so some brief suffering now will have a quick pay off!


Eventually, you'll get to another point where multiple trails diverge, take whichever suits you best, aiming for the rock face above you. It should be fairly obvious how following one path or another will take you closer or farther from your destination.


View from the top of Saddle Rock down into Wenatchee
View from the top of Saddle Rock down into Wenatchee with the Columbia River behind

After climbing up to the base of the rock, you're pretty much done! If you want to, you can head further into the hills or choose a longer, less-direct descent route. There are countless trails through the Wenatchee Foothills that allow hikers, runners, and bikers to explore the area.


Looking down at Saddle Rock from above
Looking down at Saddle Rock from above


Saddle Rock History and Formation

Saddle Rock was formed when volcanic magma forced its way through the sedimentary rock in the foothills. The area takes its name from white settlers who, in the 1800s, thought it looked like a saddle.






Tips for Hiking the Saddle Rock Trail in Wenatchee

  • There is virtually no shade - if you're hiking in the summer, you're going to want to go early as the trail up to Saddle Rock is completely in the sun.

  • Go early - this is the rule for most hikes, but this one in particular. It's a favorite with locals and tourists.

  • Take water - especially if it's summer. It's very dry on the trail, and you won't have anything to drink till you get back down.



FAQs

Is Saddle Rock open?

No, the Saddle Rock trail is not open right now (as of August 2022). The city closed it to carry out restoration work. The area is constantly being improved to make up for some of the detrimental mining practices that used to take place above the city.


Is the Saddle Rock Hike easy?

No, the Saddle Rock hike isn't easy. But, it's also not extremely challenging. It's only 2.5 miles long and gains around 1,000 feet in elevation, which by central Washington standards makes it quite moderate.



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