TRAIL NAME Saddle Mountain
DIFFICULTY Moderate
DISTANCE 3 miles round trip

This hike on Saddle Mountain, the prominent and iconic Wenatchee Foothills peak that looms above Wenatchee, is short, steep, and—thanks to scented sage—a tad sweet. Follow an old jeep track 1.5 miles and 900 vertical feet to the craggy 2,000-foot landmark. 

After that lung-busting ascent, look beyond the slopes to the sweeping vistas. Face west to see rows of evergreen-draped ridges and snowcapped peaks; to the east are the basaltic canyons and shrub-steppe Columbia Plateau. To the north and south is the Columbia River, here cutting its deep gorge through one of the most dramatic transition zones in the Pacific Northwest, where coastal mountains and forests converge with interior arid plateaus.

On the descent, you won’t get saddle sores, but your knees may knock, so bring your trekking poles.

WATCH FOR Old mines dot the surrounding hills; look for shafts, tailings, and other relics.

GETTING THERE From U.S. 2 in Wenatchee, turn south onto State Route 285 (Wenatchee Ave). After 2 miles, turn right onto Miller St. Continue for 3.2 miles and turn right onto Circle St; in 0.3 mile arrive at the trailhead and parking area near the Appleatchee Riders equestrian center.

TIME FROM SEATTLE
2 hours, 40 minutes

Craig Romano is the author of eight hiking books, including Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula (Mountaineers Books).