+5 5 votes

Burch Mountain -- Radio Tower Route

Very close to town—many residents of Wenatchee can ride from their home. Beautiful views of the Cascades, Columbia River, and Wenatchee River. In early morning and late afternoon the sunlit ridges and shadowed faces of the foothills are gorgeous. You feel a world removed though you’re very close to town.

Maps: View our topo map (8.5"x14” portrait mode). Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.

Activity: Mountain biking, trail running, hiking
Nearest Town: Wenatchee
Skill Level: 2
Fitness Level: 3
Distance: The route described is 12.7 miles round trip. Parking at the bottom of Burch Mountain Road adds about 2 miles to the ride. There are also other side roads to explore if you want to lengthen the ride. 
Elevation: 3,420 feet from end of the pavement to top of Radio Tower summit 
Recommended Season: Spring and autumn are prettiest, but the climb up the road is a good early-morning or evening workout in summer.

Access: From intersection of Highway 97 and Easy Street in the Old Station part of Wenatchee, follow Easy Street 0.2 miles north and turn right on Peters Street. Burch Mountain Road takes off to the left in about 50 yards. For a longer ride, park on the right side of Peter Street at the intersection of these two roads. Or turn left on Burch Mtn Rd and follow it uphill for 1 mile until the pavement ends. Traditionally people have parked in on the left side of the road just before the pavement ends. You may also park farther downhill along the side of Burch Mtn Road or about 100 yards beyond pavement’s end in a small pullout on the left. 

Trip Instructions: 

  • Set the odometer at pavement’s end (elevation, 1,290 feet). Ride the main road uphill.
  • Mile 1.15: A smaller road branches right and heads downhill. This is worth exploring on your own at another time. For now, stay on the main road.
  • Mile 3.57: Pass a faint path taking off on your left. This trail is on private property and is closed to public use. Note: In the past, advanced mountain bikers have used this unofficial, eroded trail for a steep descent to Rolling Hills Lane. One the primary land owners whose property this trail traverses has contacted us and emphasized that this trail is closed. Occasionally signs noting that the trail is closed have been posted but these have been destroyed. This gives all recreationalists a black eye and merits stiff penalties (like castration) among those caught practicing such antics.
  • Mile 3.75: One Tree Lookout on your right (elevation 3,330 feet)
  • Mile 5.0: The road flattens out quite a bit as you enter the trees. There is a small camping spot on the right that makes a good parking spot for those who come up here to walk or ride the Burch Mountain Beginner’s Ride. Note: Some neanderthals use this area as a dump each year to pitch couches, mattresses, and large appliances. This gives all recreationalists a black eye and merits stiff penalties (like castration) among those caught practicing such antics.
  • Mile 5.5: Reach a major Y in the road. For this ride, go left.
  • Mile 5.6: End of County Road sign and a gate. Motorized vehicles are not allowed beyond the gate. Ride around the gate and follow the main road up hill. (Note: To reach the radio tower just stay on the largest road, but to get a fabulous view up at Eagle Rock and down on Warm Springs Canyon, follow the road several hundred yards beyond the gate. Just before the main road switchbacks to the right, veer left. Climb gradually for several hundred feet to the ridge line and enjoy the drop-away view.) 
  • Mile 6.35: Reach the radio towers on the top of the hill (elevation 4,720 feet). Check out the views in all directions before descending.

Cons/Hazards: In warm weather this is a long, hot climb with plenty of sun exposure. Bring plenty of water. The lower mountain has been degraded by steep, eroded, unsustainable spur roads.

Uses Allowed: Most of the road is open to both motorized and non-motorzed use. At certain times in the winter, a gate at the end of the paved portion of Burch Mountain Road prohibits motorized use of the road. At such times, non-motorized users (particularly mountain bikers) should also be mindful of their impact. If you're leaving wheel tracks or footprints deeper than 1/4-inch deep in the road surface, you should turn around.

Uses Not Allowed:
 Motorized vehicles are not allowed through the gate at mile 5.6. When the lower road is gated, closed in the winter, all motorized use is also prohibited.

Land Designation:
 County road. The surrounding land is a mixture of private, State Wildlife, and Forest Service land. 

Fees/Permits:
None
.

Dates: This post was first prepared in 2005; updated on July 27, 2008; and updated again on March 2, 2015.

More Rides:  Maps and details of over 100 regional rides in our mountain biking guidebook.

Leave It Better Than You Found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others; pull noxious weeds along your route; do not make or use new roads or new spur trails that were obviously user made. Do not use trails or roads when your footprints, horse prints, or wheel prints are more than 1/4-inch deep.

Important Disclaimer: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change, conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers--they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.