Photo: Canoeing on the Upper Wenatchee River
By: Kathy Spencer (2006), Updated 5/2011 and 5/2013 with notes from Kathy Spencer . Swimming info added by WenatcheeOutdoors (July 2010)
Below is a listing of most of the public access points to the Wenatchee River, starting with access points farthest upriver, and ending with those farthest downriver. Most of this information was prepared by Kathy Spencer in 2006, 2011, and 2013. We try to keep the information below updated as we learn about changes but the most current information about river access and egress are noted at this link prepared by Kathy and Dick Spencer.
THE WENATCHEE RIVER DIFFICULTY RANGES FROM CLASS I TO V+, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING IF YOU POSSESS THE SKILL LEVEL REQUIRED FOR THE SECTION YOU CHOOSE
Lake Wenatchee (Wenatchee National Forest Land). Forest Service at Lake Wenatchee. Tturn toward the lake from highway 207 at the Ranger Station, turn right at North Shore Drive, then go to 17499 North Shore Drive (building 1211) and look for the dirt road with an iron bar across it. Problems with this access: 1) The gated dirt road is about a quarter of a mile long (downhill) 2) There’s not a lot of parking spaces.
Lake Wenatchee—University Beach. This (popular among wind surfers needing access to lake. The parking for University Beach is between the YMCA camp and the first house on N Shore Road, where an unmarked path leads from the lake to N Shore Rd. The distance from Highway 207 and the trails is 1.2 miles.
Lake Wenatchee State Park. Use south entrance to the park. There is a $5 fee for parking and launching. Good swimming is also available at the park.
Glacier View Campground—Wenatchee National Forest. Located 5.5 miles from the south state park entrance, Glacier View Campground is on the opposite side of lake from the other sites. It can be used as a takeout for the White River, but the shuttle is longer. Boat launch fee is $4. Picnic fee $5.
Braeburn Road (near outlet of Lake Wenatchee). A road parallel to the Lake Wenatchee Highway goes between Braeburn Rd and the river, just downstream of the first bridge across the Wenatchee River. Be sure not to block access of the Braeburn Road. residents. This can also be a takeout for Nason Creek.
Plain, WA (highway right-of-way at bridge). At the bridge on Highway 209, near Plain, there is room to park about 4 vehicles on the upstream, river right side. From there, it is necessary to carry boats to the river.
Tumwater Campground (Wenatchee National Forest campground along Highway 2). It is possible to access the river from both the upstream and downstream sides of the river. The trails are equally steep on either side. Before shuttling and launching, be sure to check out the eddy. A large parking area is located near the bridge. As the waterlevel drops later in the summer, you can wade and swim from the campground or just downriver (park in a pullout on the eastern side of the bridge). 2011 Update: Access will be altered when the DOT begins to build a new bridge at Tumwater Campground.The DOT engineer said that the access at the bridge will still be available after the new bridge is built and the bank will be less steep. But, while construction is going on (about 2 years) the area will be blocked off. The Forest Service is not sure what they will do about allowing access in the campground. (Some PTCC members have reported that they were chastised for taking out in the campground during a trip a couple of years ago). The Forest person to call for up to date info on taking out on the Wenatchee River before Tumwater Canyon is Bob Stoehr at 548-2579
2013 update about the take-out at the Highway 2 bridge. While the bridge is under construction:
- Old take-outs below the bridge are blocked by this project.Also, safety concerns dictate that boaters should not pass under the bridge while work is in progress.
- While bridge construction is taking place, take out upstream of the bridge – use the trail between campsites 13 and 14. Check the trail out while leaving a shuttle vehicle at the takeout. Go down to river and note what the spot will look like as you approach from the water.
- Leave your shuttle vehicle in the day-use parking area or at a campsite you reserved.
- Once the bridge construction has been completed, an access point to and from the river will be available across the highway from the Tumwater Campground
Tumwater Canyon swimming holes. Between the Tumwater Campground and the town of Leavenworth there are several pullouts where you can leave the car and access the river for a dip. Traffic along Highway 2 is busy so park as far off the highway as possible and keep your group well away from the traffic. Use all of these areas only in late summer when the water level has dropped — all of these areas have dangerous rapids downstream of them and every few years someone who is swimming in the river early in the summer gets washed out of the calm water and drowns. Swim at any of these places at your own risk.
- Milepost 95.8. Wide pullover on south side of the highway. Fish and Wildlife area. Places to dip in the river.
- Milepost 96. Gravel pulloff on south side of highway. Some good dipping in the river but rapids very shortly downstream of the area.
- Milepost 96.5. Pulloff for climbing at Castle Rock on north side of highway. In low water conditions there’s good swimming just across the highway from the pull off. Use extreme care in crossing and get off the highway fast so as not to confuse drivers.
- Milepost 97.4. Access to parking area for red bridge/Penstock Pipeline Trail. Pit toilet here. Some swimming in low water conditions near parking area. It’s also nice to hike the trail upstream 1.5 to 2 miles to beautiful sandy beaches on the opposite side of the river from the highway.
Leavenworth, WA (access belongs to the city of Leavenworth). Directions: 1) From Highway 2, turn southwest onto East Leavenworth Rd, between the bridge and the Safeway 2) Go a little over ½ mile, when road bends left, take dirt road to the right. Commercial launches are not allowed. This site is good for boaters and innertubers wanting to put in the river. Swimmers are better served by Waterfront Park and Barn Beach on the opposite side of the river.
Peshastin access (Washington Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife – permits required). Directions: 1) Turn at Peshastin traffic light and cross over bridge 2) Turn right onto School Street and follow it until the end (roughly 0.6 miles) where it enters a gravel lot where you access the river. This is a good place to launch boats but not a good place to swim. A Fish & Wildlife permit (Discovery Pass) is required to park in this area. There is a toilet available in the parking lot and it is an easy carry to reach the river. Rock and Roll Rapid is approximately a mile downstream from this access.
Dryden Dam. The Department of Transportation (DOT) owns part of this access and the Chelan Public Utility District owns the other portion. To get there: 1) Head southeast (toward Wenatchee) from Highway 2 and 97 junction 2) At milepost 105.1, take first left turn after the junction 3) Immediately turn left again on Saunders Rd (on your left) 4) Go 0.3 miles and after Dryden Gun Club, but before the Peshastin Creek Bridge, turn right onto DOT’s gravel road 5) Drive 0.4 miles to the Parking/Portage/Dam area. Boaters carry around the dam at this area, and the launch is located just below Dryden Dam. The DOT may someday surplus the property that includes the access road—action may be needed to assure that this access remains available. Upstream of the diversion dam there are some good beaches to hangout and dip in the water, but on weekends these beaches see lots of rafters landing to portage around the dam.
Dryden Fish & Wildlife Site (below Gorilla Falls). Directions: 1) Take Dryden Avenue into the town 2) At the stop sign, turn right onto Main Street 3) Go a short distance, then turn left onto Depot Road 4) Cross the railroad tracks, go to the end of pavement, then follow signs. Parking and a toilet are available at this access. There’s good places to lounge beside the river and swim.
Rodeo Hole or Fox Access (Fish & Wildlife). This is a popular area and the parking lot has a toilet. There’s good wading and swimming later in the summer when the water level drops. A permit (Discovery Pass) is needed to park here. There’s lots of poison oak in this area so watch what you’re brushing against. Directions from Cashmere: 1)Turn toward river at Aplets Way (stop light on highway) 2) Go through Cashmere and turn right onto Sunset Highway 3) Drive 3.2 miles and after a long guard rail as you’re headed downhill, watch for a house with a blue metal roof—number 7444 is on house 5) Turn into lower driveway, watch out for orchard vehicles, stay to left when the road forks. Directions from Dryden: 1) Turn right onto Johnson Rd at Dryden intersection 2) Make a quick left onto Stine Hill Rd 3) Shortly after the 2nd Pine Flats Loop Rd, turn left onto unmarked road (the lower of the two)—you will be 1.6 miles from Dryden intersection 4) Stay to the left when the road forks.
Turkey Shoot Road. Use the same general directions as for Rodeo Hole (above). Turkey Shoot Road is 1.75 miles before the Rodeo Hole turnoff if you’re coming from Cashmere, 1.75 miles after the Rodeo Hole turnoff if you’re coming from Dryden. Turn north (toward the river) off the Sunset Highway and drive about 0.7 miles to the end of the road. The road ends at a small Fish and Wildlife site beside the river (Discovery Pass required).
Goodwin Bridge (road right-of-way). This access is located above Snowblind Rapid and opposite Camino Real Café. You will have to lift over the guard rail to get to the water.
Riverfront Park (Cashmere, WA). This is a popular place to get off of the river (Peshastin to Cashmere run) or to get on the river if doing the Lower Wenatchee. There’s parking, grass, fields, changing rooms, and restrooms. There’s not good swimming here, however. Directions: 1) Turn off Highway 2 at mile 111.1. You will be turning onto Aplets Way which crosses the river and enters Cashmere 2) Go several blocks and turn left on Pleasant Avenue, follow the signs that direct you to Riverside Park which is located on the downstream river right side of the bridge.
Cashmere, WA (downstream of Cotlets Ave. bridge leading). Directions: 1) Turn off Highway 2 and cross the bridge on Cotlets Avenue leading towared Cashmere. 2) Immediately after the bridgey turn left onto Riverfront Drive. 3)Park on road right of way, after Parkhill Street. There are no facilities, and you must take short trail to reach the river.
Monitor #2 (Fish and Wildlife access). Directions from Monitor: 1) Cross Wenatchee River into Monitor 2) From Main Street, turn right onto Pioneer 3) Turn right onto Old Monitor Rd 4) Turn left onto a dirt road just before crossing the one-lane bridge. Directions from Cashmere: 1)Going southeast, turn right at Anjou Bakery onto Old Monitor Rd 2) Turn right onto a dirt road just after crossing the one-way bridge 3) This access is located just above Fish Trap.
Monitor #1 (Fish and Wildife access). Directions: Cross the bridge at Monitor, then turn right.
Sleepy Hollow Bridge (Road right-of-way and land on river right of bridge which is owned by Chelan County) Directions: 1) Turn off of Highway 2 at Lower Sunnyslope Rd (there is a left turn lane for people going away from Wenatchee) 2) Turn right onto Sleepy Hollow Rd 3) Cross bridge, use 20-minute parking zone on the left side of the road 4) During the summer, a toilet will be across on the other side of the road. Rules: 1)After unloading, go back to Lower Sunnyslope Rd to park 2) Please be courteous, this site was only recently made available again 3) The Chelan County Sheriff has requested we report violations to 509-663-9911. To access the put-in and a small swimming beach, follow the trail to the left of the power pole to reach the river.
Confluence Park (State Park). Put-in your boat using the dock or beach. This access requires a short paddle up the Columbia River. Confluence also has 59 campsites, restrooms, picnic tables, a swimming are, a recreational vehicle dump, and access to the riverfront Loop Trail (a 10-mile paved trail). Directions: from US Hwy 2/97, heading east: 1) Look for Hwy 2 exit at Wenatchee interchange as you go downhill into Wenatchee 2) Follow Confluence State Park signs which begin at the first stoplight after the interchange.
Walla Walla Point Park (part of the riverfront park along the Columbia River in Wenatchee). The park is just downstream of where the Wenatchee River enters the Columbia River. There are beaches, a swim area, changing rooms, play fields, tennis courts, restrooms, access to the Loop Trail, and lots of parking. Directions from north end of Wenatchee when heading south: 1) Turn left onto Hawley Street from Wenatchee Avenue (at stop light) 2) Turn right onto Miller St 3) Turn left onto Walla Walla Ave 4) Turn left into Walla Walla Park, before Lowes Hardware 5) Park near restroom.
Additional Information. For a complete list of access points on the Wenatchee River, check out this information prepared by Richard and Kathy Spencer.
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 not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.