Tag Archives: hiking

Tumwater Pipeline Bridge – Don’t Just Drive By

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.

Tumwater Pipeline Bridge - Tumwater Canyon
All around are remnants of the old powerhouse.

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.

Tumwater Canyon - Pipeline Bridge
The Tumwater Pipeline Bridge – Tumwater Canyon

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.

Tumwater Pipeline Bridge - Tumwater Canyon
The beach area along the Wenatchee River.

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.

NCW Attraction: The Horan Natural Area in Wenatchee

Located on the north end of Wenatchee, right where the Wenatchee River flows into the Columbia River, is the Horan Natural Area.

Wenatchee - The Horan Natural Area

You can get to the Horan Natural Area easiest via Confluence State Park on the north side of the Wenatchee River. The Apple Capital Loop Trail is a trail that stretches for approximately 11 miles and runs along the shore of the Columbia River on both the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee side. This popular loop trail will eventually take you right past the Horan Natural Area entrance, making it easily reachable from several areas around town.

Wenatchee - The Horan Natural Area

This is a very cool opportunity to see a protected nature area right inside the city limits of Wenatchee. As you walk along the paths, it gives you an indication of what the scenery was like there before all this development and settlement came.

Go and visit the Horan Natural Area a number of time through the year too. As the seasons change, so does the vegetation, surrounding scenery, and even the local wildlife you can occasionally find there.

Wenatchee - The Horan Natural Area

If you’re in the Wenatchee area and looking for something to do in the outdoors, head on over to the Horan Natural Area. You won’t regret it.

Get The Whole Family Out And Explore Ancient Lakes Near Quincy, Washington


One of the more popular outdoor activities in the North Central Washington region is hiking. We are truly blessed with the large amount of hiking trails that are available here. Whether you’re a full time resident or just visiting, finding the perfect hiking trail for you is a snap.

When many people think about hiking in Washington, they picture steep trails leading up to pristine lakes and thundering waterfalls. They envision a climb through thick forests and vegetation covered hillsides. There are a lot of these types of trails to pick from in North Central Washington too and many of them could easily become your personal favorite. Don’t overlook the joy of desert hiking though. For many, it’s something they’ve not experienced before and the scenery can be just as dramatic. Located just off Highway 28, west of Quincy, is a popular desert hiking location known as Ancient Lakes.

Carved by the same glaciers that are responsible for much of Eastern Washington’s distinct landscape, the lakes that make up Ancient Lakes, as well as the canyon they reside in, are beautiful and interesting. You can reach the northern trailhead for Ancient Lakes by turning south off of Highway 28 onto Whitetrail Road and following that for one mile before turning west on Road 9 NW. Following this rural county road for just less than two miles will lead you to where it descends towards the Columbia River before turning south for another four miles where it ends at a large dirt parking lot for the Ancient Lakes Trailhead. On the south side of the parking area is a metal gate. Behind that gate is an old dirt road that will start you on your way.

After less than half a mile on this trail, a noticeable side trail will take off to the east. This trail leads you to the small lakes ahead and takes you alongside the canyon wall for much of the way. You can also follow the main trail another quarter of a mile and then head east on another side trail that will lead you to the same lakes but travel more down the middle of the canyon. The trail is fairly flat, but after about a mile and a quarter you will come to a small rise that will give you a view down into the bos canyon. Depending on the time of year, there will be a few lakes off to your right. Ahead of you will be the three main lakes, including one fed by a small waterfall. You can explore this area to your heart’s content and then head back out of the canyon on either the same trail or the trail you didn’t follow on the way in. You can also extend your hike more by continuing further south once you reach the main trail again and exploring the next canyon that is home to the larger Dusty Lake. There are also trails from that main trail that head off to the west and lead you down to the Columbia River.

Desert hiking is alive and well in North Central Washington. If you’re looking for an interesting hike, don’t be afraid to look east of the mountain range. Ancient Lakes is a nice and relaxing hike that is perfect for a solo trek, a couple of adults, or even a young family.

History and Hiking at Wellington, Washington

Snowshed at Wellington

North Central Washington is known as the home to some of the best hiking in the state. The region is also home to some incredible history, though that is quite a bit more unknown. One destination that can give you a taste of both is the site of a long ago abandoned railroad town called Wellington.

Wellington is located just off Highway 2 on the west side of Stevens Pass. You can reach it by turning off on the north side of the highway on the first opportunity west of the pedestrian bridge at the summit. After following the road for a couple of miles, you will reach the parking lot. Once there, you will find a well developed trailhead, restrooms, and some historical information.

At this site in 1910, 96 people passed away when a massive avalanche came down the hillside and overwhelmed a train that was stuck on the tracks. Some of the deceased were passengers and some were railroad workers. As a way of escaping its past, the town was renamed Tye after the nearby Tye River but it would become abandoned a short time later.

The Iron Goat Trail is accessible from the Wellington parking lot and is the key attraction there. When you take the trail to the east, a short walk will lead you past the remnants and foundations of railroad buildings from long ago. There are markers along the way that describe all that used to be there. At the end of this short walk is the western end to the Old Cascade Tunnel, a tunnel once used to carry the railroad from one side of the Cascade Mountains to the other. Signs warn about the danger of entering the tunnel, but viewing and photographing it from the outside is well worth the trip.


Taking the trail west from the parking lot is pretty eye opening. This is a longer trail and is popular with through hikers who want to do the entire route which stretches for more than six miles. Along this stretch of the trail are several examples of concrete snowsheds. These snowsheds were built after the Wellington disaster and you can hike right through many of them on paths where once passenger and freight trains came roaring through. This is a look at a real part of railroad history that you cannot easily see anywhere else.

Whether looking for a historical attraction or a chance to get out in the outdoors, Wellington is a good choice. No matter which of the reasons you’re looking to go, you’ll probably find enjoyment in the other too. Wellington is a regional treasure and one that any resident of North Central Washington or visitor coming its way would love to see.

Fun Facts About Northrup Canyon Near Grand Coulee Dam

Northrup Canyon is located south of Grand Coulee Dam, off of Highway 155, and very near Steamboat Rock State Park. this is a popular place for local hikes that show off the North Central Washington terrain. It gives a great look at what this part of the state must have looked like when it was first settled.

-Northrup Canyon was first settled by the Northrup Family in the late 1800s.

-When you hike up Northrup Canyon, you will reach some of the original homestead buildings still standing there, mostly in ruins.

-Though it is small, Northrup Canyon is home to the only native forest in Grant County.

-During the winter months, the walls and trees of Northrup Canyon are home to approximately 200 bald eagles.

-The old wagon road trail that cuts through Northrup Canyon was once one of the main roads used across the Grand Coulee, leading from Almira in the east to Bridgeport in the west.

A Visit To Wellington, Washington

Wellington, Washington?

Where is that?

Well, it’s not as familiar sounding as many of the community names, but Wellington is located just on the west side of the summit of Stevens Pass. This is the original name of a small railroad community that was found there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Situated right near the old exit point of the original Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass, Wellington became nationally famous in 1910 when the deadliest avalanche in American history occurred there. Snow and debris came roaring down the mountain that day, ultimately killing 96 people including both passengers on a train as well as railroad workers clearing snow from the tracks.

All that is left of Wellington now are some old foundations of some of buildings there that were used to service the trains as they entered or exited the tunnel. It is also the eastern trailhead of the Iron Goat Trail, a popular hiking trail in the region. If you visit Wellington today, you can view these old railroad ruins, check out the mouth of the old Cascade Tunnel, and even walk through the remnants of a snowshed that was built in the years following the avalanche as a way of protecting trains and their passengers.


The old tunnel is a very cool thing to see and gives a great glimpse into history. There are plenty of signs though that warn of how dangerous it is to enter it and it’s recommended visitors listen to those signs. The tunnel is on the National Historic Registry too and getting the opportunity to combine history and nature like this is not always possible. After a visit to the tunnel via a very short path to the east from the parking lot, you can return and head west into the snowshed.


The snowshed is dark and cool. If you’re going there early or late in the year you’ll want to wear a light jacket even if the sun is shining outside. If you’re traveling with kids, this is where the fun starts. The path is even and straight and there are small wooden bridges over the small areas where runoff water passes through so they can run ahead, sprint back, and burn off plenty of energy.

About halfway through, there is a short side trail that leads outside the snowshed to a viewpoint that details the history behind the avalanche that happened there.


After that, you return to the snowshed and continue heading west. Along the way, take note of the difference between what’s inside the snowshed and outside of it. Every once in awhile you’ll come across a small pine tree that is unlucky enough to have started its life as a sapling growing up inside a concrete structure. You’ll also see plenty of evidence of the railroad tracks that once ran through the snowshed in the form of old and decaying railroad ties. There are also spots where rebar is becoming visible from inside the concrete supports, roof, and walls. This is a sign that this structure won’t be here forever. Taking the opportunity to see it up close and in person while we can is another reason for visiting it.


When you reach the end of the snowshed, you’ll see what I think is a look at the whole structure’s future. Here, the trail leads you back outside where you can view a portion of the shed’s decaying process in action. The roof has fallen in and chunks of concrete are hanging in the twisted metal that supports them. You can continue on from there, further on down the Iron Goat Trail, or turn around and return to the parking lot where you started.


A visit to Wellington is a unique opportunity to stretch your legs in the great outdoors, see a couple of regionally important pieces of history up close and in person, and also learn a good deal about the history of the region. Adults and kids will both enjoy the time they get to spend there.

A Winter Visit To Ancient Lakes


The weather broke earlier this week and we made a visit to Ancient Lakes.  These beautiful little canyons feature a lot of interesting things including rocky cliffs, small caves, wonderful scenery, and during the right time of year, even some wildflowers.

There are trails all through the area and it is very easy to find one that suits you.  Some even take you up the canyon walls and give you a nice panoramic view of the area.

Ancient Lakes is located between Crescent Bar and Quincy, and is accessible from below near the river or up above atop the canyon wall too.  For those if you who enjoy some time in the great outdoors and don’t want to head into the forest or mountains yet, it canbe a very fun place to go.