Painting by Kerry Siderius. See Kerry’s watercolor gallery of other local scenes.
Attractions. The Horan Natural Area is a tranquil wild area at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers that is only a stone’s throw from the warehouses and train tracks of Wenatchee. If you’re harried and time crunched before work, during lunch, or after work, the gravel trail through the cottonwoods and willows of this estuary offer peace and quiet without needing to vacate town.
Difficulty. 1 (easy). Length: 1.8 to 2.5 miles (roundtrip) of flat trail.
Wildlife. There are about fifteen kiosks and viewing station along the gravel trail with information about this riparian zone and the animals living here. Eagles populate the cottonwoods during their late winter migration. Throughout the warm months, the place is a racket of birdlife. And deer, coyote, beaver, raccoons, muskrats, minks, skunks, squirrels and other small mammals are seen here year round.
Access and Directions.
- Option 1. From the ‘Old Station’ part of Wenatchee near the junction of Highway 2 and Highway 97 (the very north end of Wenatchee), follow signs to Confluence State Park. Shortly after entering the park and before going through the toll booth into the main part of the park, turn right into the first parking lot. From the parking area, walk the paved Loop Trail several hundred yards south and cross the Wenatchee River on a pedestrian bridge. After crossing the bridge, a gravel trail system takes off on your left and enters the Horan Natural Area. Follow the trail for about a mile as it makes a ‘P’-shaped loop through the natural area. Roundtrip distance: under 2 miles.
- Option 2. Drive to Walla Walla Point Park north of downtown Wenatchee by driving east on Ninth Street and then hooking north on Walla Walla Street. From the parking area at the north end of this park (the one nearest the swimming beach) get on the paved Loop Trail and head north toward the river and then northwest (upstream) along the river. About 150 before leaving the park and intersecting Hawley Street, take the gravel trail on your right into the Horan Natural Area and follow this upstream (north and northwest) for a little under a mile until the gravel trail reconnects to the Loop Trail by the pedestrian bridge crossing the Wenatchee River. Walk out to the middle of the bridge to enjoy the view and to look for salmon in the river below you. Then either retrace what you’ve walked so far or walk the Loop Trail back to Walla Walla Point Park. Roundtrip distance: 2.5 miles.
Facilities. Restrooms are available at both parks used to access this area.
Fees / Permits: None.
Rules. Pets are allowed but leash and scoop laws are observed here. Bikes are allowed on the paved trail leading to the Horan Natural Area but not on the gravel trails within the natural area. Off-trail wandering and the picking of plants are not allowed.
Misc. Info from the Chelan PUD about the creation of the Horan Natural Area.
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route.You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.