The flower show in some parts of the PNW is on! Right now some hikes are carpeted with arrowleaf balsalmroot and purple lupine–including this network of trails in Wenatchee.
An impromptu trip for vitamin D, exercise, and most importantly, mental health was decided at 9pm the night prior. I had assumed given the higher snowpack this year that flowers would be later, so planned for my spring flower hikes in Mid-May, not mid-April! But Mother Nature had different plans, so armed with SPF and sun protection, a trip over the pass to see the flowers seemed to be just the ticket. If you want to do this hike for flowers, your window is closing soon!
The lot Google Maps took us to (for “Sage Hills Trailhead”) has spots for four–yes, only four–cars. The “Sage Hills Trail Parking Area” on Number 1 Canyon Road has far more parking, so might be a better starting point. Either way, I’d come with a general route in mind, as this is a vast network of trails. Once we left the main connector of parking to trails, we barely saw anyone for the rest of the trip! I’d also bring ample water as it can get very hot here, with pretty much 0 shade. But once prepared, get ready for a visual feast.
It is very important to stay on-trail here and practice LNT principles. Whenever we stepped off for bikers (who were all very courteous), we took care to do so in parts with no flowers nearby. It was hard to look where we were going the views were so gorgeous! After about a mile from the smaller trailhead, we reached the spot where the trails split, and it’s choose-your-own-adventure. We stayed on the Sage Hills trail which took us down into a bit of a canyon. From the “Gut Saddle” junction, we went to the Jackhammer Trail, where we found a few rocks just off trail large enough for a snack. It was one of those perfect Eastern Washington spring days.
With Highway 2 traffic weighing on our minds, we tore ourselves away from our lunch spot. We kept exclaiming what a gorgeous, perfect day it was, but really–spring had sprung! Not just from the flowers and magpies about, but other signs–we saw deer prints in the path, coyote scat, possible coyote (or just large dog?) prints, and even what I guessed to be a deer scapula of some sort. Even with snow-capped mountains in the passes, spring is here! There was one tricky spot as we wound down before connecting with Maiden Lane Trail, but with ginger footwork or poles, this route should be fine. But the world’s your oyster here–or at least, nearly 1,000 acres.
Distance: Many miles of trails. Paths are shared with bikers but solitude is likely.
Elevation: Some hills of varying steepness depending on route taken.
Parking: No passes required
Bathrooms: We didn’t see any at our time of visit, and there isn’t a ton of shade available if wanting privacy.
Best Beer Bet: I am aware of breweries super close in Wenatchee, but have never personally sampled them myself. Options include Badger Mountain Brewing, Columbia Valley Brewing, and Wenatchee Valley Brewing.