Paul and Muriel Milem took advantage of our beautiful weather earlier this month and canoed up the Little Wenatchee from Glacier View Campground on Lake Wenatchee. The glassy water and gorgeous fall colors made the paddle an immediate favorite, tempting Paul to write that he wouldn’t be surprised if this is the most beautiful place to experience fall colors in the area.
After returning to the Glacier View Campground, Paul chose to take advantage of the calm water and paddle down to the Lake Wenatchee swim beach where Muriel met him with the truck. Another option to lengthen this paddle would be to combine it with a jaunt up White River.
Attractions. Put-in and take-out are the same location so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of taking two cars. Flat water and slow current make for fairly easy paddling. In the fall, the foliage is stunning.
Maps. See our topo map. Note: Use ‘Print Preview’ to orient/scale the map before printing.
Activity. Flatwater paddling
Nearest Town. Plain
Skill: 1 (beginner)
Fitness: 1+ or 2- (easy to easy intermediate)
Distance: About 4 miles (roughly 2 hours of paddling); can vary depending on how far up the river you paddle.
Best Seasons. Early October is a great time for the red/gold color show, but you can paddle this section almost any time of year.
Access. How to get to Glacier View Campground: Drive west on Highway 2, turn right onto highway 207, drive for about 4 miles, and turn into Lake Wenatchee State Park. Cross the Nason Creek Bridge and look for a paved road off to the left. Take that road (Cedar Brae Rd) and stay on it for about five miles. Glacier View Campground is at the end of the road. The last mile or so is unpaved.
Parking is close to the launch beach – you can back your vehicle down to the water, or do a short carry. Lake Wenatchee can get windy and rough, but winds are usually from the West, so waves on this paddle usually haven’t had time to develop.
Trip Instructions. Put-in at the Glacier View Campground and head up lake. The entrance to the Little Wenatchee River is easy to find. You just paddle to the end of the lake and turn right (see map). The route shows about an hour of paddling up the river including taking time to snap some photos. Return the way you came.
Hazards. Lake Wenatchee can get windy and rough. There’s a shallow bar at the end of the lake that needs to be crossed but, after that, the river is quite deep. The current increases as you paddle upstream. You may get to a point where the combination of current and wood debris needing to be negotiated discourages further progress.
Other Issues. On busy summer days, you may encounter a lot of motored traffic in the lake (jet skis, boats pulling wake boarders, etc.) but due to the sand bar that needs to be crossed to get to the Little Wenatchee, you won’t have a problem with boats in that area or on the river.
Reporter. Paul Milem first posted 10/21/10, formatted for blog 10/29/10.
More Flatwater: Maps and details of over 15 regional flatwater trips in this guidebook.
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