Tumwater Canyon is a beautiful drive most times of the year. You get to see the rugged rocky canyon walls, the raging Wenatchee River, and can even stop at places like Tumwater Dam, The Alps Candy Store, or Swift Current Picnic Area. Another spot worth checking out is one that usually just gets driven right by, the Tumwater Pipeline Bridge.
The entrance to the parking lot of this secluded little spot is just a couple miles west of Leavenworth. Find a parking spot, walk down to the little beach, there’s even a restroom there. Take a look around though. Look at the decaying walls and leftover building remnants that make up the spot where you’ve parked your car. You’re parked right where a pretty decent sized powerhouse once sat, making electricity from water from the Wenatchee River to use to help the electric trains get through the Old Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass to the west side of the mountains.
That water was brought to the power generating plant through a pipeline from the Tumwater Dam. That pipeline came down the south side of the Wenatchee River and crossed the river on a bridge before reaching this spot. The building is long gone as is the pipeline, but the bridge is still there.
Walk around the “Road Closed” barricade at the west end of the parking area and a very short trail leads you to the pipeline bridge. Basically, the bridge is just as it was back in the time of power production except for the top half of the pipe having been cut off. The lower section was then filled in with material to give it a flat surface and a pedestrian bridge was born. The trail continues up the path of the old pipeline grade on the other side of the river and offers a nice leisurely stroll along the Wenatchee River. When you reach a large rock pile, you’ve reached the end. Some people do scramble over the rocks while most turn around and return to the pipeline bridge and the parking area.
When water is lower in late summer, the beach area grows and offers enough space for a few families to enjoy the sun and the cold water of the Wenatchee River.
The Tumwater Pipeline Bridge is another of the many fun stops along Highway 2 in Tumwater Canyon.
The Beebe Bridge is somewhat of a historic crossing in North Central Washington. Even before the current bridge stood there, early settlers and the military were in need of crossing the Columbia River there at Chelan Falls. Here is a look at five fun facts about the Beebe Bridge.
-The Beebe Bridge is 1,040 feet long and the bridge deck is 26 feet wide.
-Construction began on the modern Beebe Bridge in 1959 and it opened in 1963.
-The Beebe Bridge gets its name from The Beebe Orchard Company which had built the original bridge at that location in 1919. The original bridge’s main purpose was to carry irrigation water from the west side of the river to the east but it later developed into a private toll bridge that operated until it was replaced with the new bridge in 1963. The old concrete towers of the original bridge are still visible.
-The construction of the piers for the modern Beebe Bridge was able to be done on dry land. The land surrounding the piers would later be covered by water backed up behind the newly build Rocky Reach Dam.
-Due to damage to the steel trusses and beams from a semi-truck collision on August 31, 2009, the Beebe Bridge was closed until repairs and safety inspections could be completed. It reopened on October 9, 2009. In the meantime, traffic in the area wanting to cross the river was detoured on U.S. 97 and U.S. 97A down to Wenatchee.
The Columbia River Bridge is one of the most storied bridges in the entire North Central Washington region. It is a bit taken for granted now, but the history of this impressive and amazing structure, is very interesting. Especially considering how long ago it was built. Here is a look at five fun facts about the Columbia River Bridge in Wenatchee.
-The old Columbia River Bridge in Wenatchee was the first bridge to carry motor traffic across the Columbia River when it opened in 1908. It also had two pipes strapped to its side carrying irrigation water to where East Wenatchee sits now.
-The man who planned the building of the Columbia River Bridge was W.T. Clark who had also been one of the builders of the Highline Canal that was responsible for irrigating so many orchards in the Wenatchee area.
-At the time it opened, the Columbia River Bridge was privately owned. The owners started charging a toll to cross it a couple of years after it opened and this prompted civic leaders of Wenatchee to put in a request that the state buy the bridge and make it part of the early highway system, which they did.
-The Columbia River Bridge, currently used as a pedestrian only bridge, was used by cars up until 1950 when a newer bridge was built immediately south of it.
-The construction cost of the Columbia River Bridge was $177,000.
The Brewster Bridge has a unique history. Though the highway it carries across the Columbia River is not considered a major road, it is vital to the local residents. Here is a look at five fun facts about the Brewster Bridge.
-The original Brewster Bridge opened in 1928.
-At the time it opened, the Brewster Bridge was a privately owned toll bridge.
-The Brewster Bridge was bought by the Washington Department of Highways which raised it seven and a half feet in preparation for the rising waters behind Wells Dam.
-The Brewster Bridge was destroyed by a fire in 1967 and was not rebuilt until the early 1970s. During that time, there was a ferry crossing that took its place at that point on the river.
-The new Brewster Bridge, the one currently in use, was built right on the same concrete piers of the one that had been previously burned down.
The Vantage Bridge spans the Columbia River in the southern section of North Central Washington. Interstate 90 travels across the bridge these days, meaning a major portion of Washington’s east-west traffic does too. Here is a look at five fun facts about the Vantage Bridge.
-The first bridge at Vantage was built in 1927. It was replaced in 1962 when the water widened because of the building of Wanapum Dam.
-Prior to that bridge being built in 1927, the only way to cross the Columbia River by car was by ferry service that had started in 1914. This ferry could only take two cars at a time.
-The original bridge at Vantage was dismantled and later reassembled at Lyons Ferry, Washington as a crossing point on the Snake River.
-The Vantage Bridge is 2,504 feet long.
-When the first Vantage Bridge was completed in 1927, it was the seventh bridge to cross the Columbia River.
The Odabashian Bridge was an important addition to transportation in the North Central Washington area. It sits on the north end of Wenatchee and carries US Highway 2 across the Columbia River.
Here is a look at five fun facts about the Odabashian Bridge.
-The Richard Odabashian Olds Station Bridge first opened to traffic in 1975.
-When it first opened, and for the first few years of operation, the Odabashian Bridge used just two lanes for traffic, one eastbound and one westbound.
-Originally, the bridge was named the Olds Station Bridge. In 1991 it was named for Richard Odabashian by the State Transportation Commission. He had served on the commission for a dozen years and has spent part of that time as chairman.
-In 2001, a pedestrian and bicycle path was added to the bridge by cantilevering it off to the side. This path is part of the Apple Capital Loop Trail that runs along the shore of the Columbia River on both the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee sides.
-When the Odabashian Bridge opened, the route across it was designated part of U.S. Highway 2. This meant that the route through Wenatchee and across the Senator George Sellar Bridge on the south end of town would no longer be U.S. 2 and would instead change to State Route 285. This shortened U.S. 2 by 8 miles as the route no longer had to go through Wenatchee to the south, cross the river, and then return upstream on the East Wenatchee side.
The Senator George Sellar Bridge in Wenatchee is an important part of the local infrastructure. It serves as a main crossing for the Columbia River and handles the bulk of the traffic going into and out of Wenatchee on the southern end of the city. It has also become something of a local landmark too, immediately recognizable with the American flag flying high at the top.
Here is a look at five fun facts about the Senator George Sellar Bridge.
-The Senator George Sellar Bridge was built in 1950. It replaced the Columbia River Bridge which had spanned the river since 1908.
-When built, the Sellar Bridge carried U.S. Route 2 across the Columbia River. When the Odabashian Bridge on the north end of Wenatchee was completed in the early 1970s, the designation of U.S. Route 2 was transferred there and the section of state highway that runs through Wenatchee was changed to State Route 285.
-When it was built, the George Sellar Bridge was recognized as the most beautiful bridge of 1950 by the American Institute of Steel Construction for bridges with spans of over 400 feet in length.
-May 24th, 1995 saw the Senator George Sellar Bridge placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
-The total length of the Senator George Sellar Bridge is 1,208 feet.
The Wenatchee River flows from Lake Wenatchee to the Columbia River and along the way passes by and through some scenic little areas. One of those is Tumwater Canyon. Here we see an old metal bridge that now carries a hiking trail across the river and up the shore on the opposite side.