It’s only a quarter-mile hike to the Horse Lake Viewpoint, a scenic overlook recently built by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, but the spot delivers a mega-mile view over the natural beauty surrounding the Wenatchee Valley.
Longer hikes can also be taken in this area, but the short stroll along a gentle, gravel trail leading to this viewpoint, located up Horse Lake Road about 3.25 miles from the Wenatchee Walmart, is one virtually anyone can complete and enjoy. It is also one where the interpretive signage available will help visitors better appreciate the native flora and fauna, identify the peaks on the skyline, and understand more about the geologic processes that shaped the area.
Good times to visit the Viewpoint.
Spring. Please stay off Horse Lake Road while it’s muddy. A few vehicles driving the county road up to the trailhead can put ruts in the roads that last for years (or until the road is graded again). But as soon as the dirt road is dry enough to withstand vehicular use without creating ruts (early April is usually OK), it’s a good time visit. The flower show starts going off in April and hits its peak between mid April and mid May. Look for these native plants along the Foothills.
June is another prime time to visit the Horse Lake Viewpoint. Located at the 1800-foot-level, the hillsides here beginning to bleed their greens but have yet to be painted over by the blondes and browns of mid-summer. Meanwhile, the peaks of the high Cascades are still well armored with snow that contrasts starkly against the blue skies of summer. It’s a skyline where the Titans of winter and summer struggle for climate control.
Finally autumn is beautiful up here. In October the vegetation starts taking on shades of yellow, orange and red, and the light becomes slanted and dramatic. It’s beautiful after the browns and flat light of summer.
Length: A -quarter mile trail leads from the Horse Lake Trailhead to the viewpoint.
Elevation Gain: About 100 vertical feet.
Difficulty: A very easy walk on a gravel, well-graded trail. The trail is made to accommodate disabled visitors.
Access: From the intersection of Wenatchee Avenue and Horselake Road at the north end of Wenatchee, drive west (uphill) on Horselake Road. In one mile, the pavement ends and (if you’re driving) you can use a pullout on the right to park. Or drive another 2.3 miles up Horselake Road and park in the parking lot on the right side of the road.
Amenities. There’s a vault toilet at the higher parking lot mentioned above. Regarding trash, please don’t litter and carry away any trash you generate.
Trip Instructions. The short trail leaving to the viewpoint leaves directly from the parking lot and climbs the little hill on the same side of the road as the parking area. Longer trails leave from the opposite side of the road (read about those options here).
Map: See our map of ther 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.