Family Time in Wenatchee, Living Wenatchee, Tourism

Wenatchee Winter Hikes

Some of the Wenatchee foothills trails are closed during the winter months (Dec. 2- April 1st) to give wildlife a much needed sanctuary, but there are still good options left for hikes. You may need snowshoes or micro spikes, depending on the amount of snow and ice.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust has a good listing of trail openings and conditions, please check their website www.cdlandtrust.org.

The Hamilton Cemetery Loop

One trail the Land Trust does not list is on the East Wenatchee side, well within sight of the city and easily accessible: the Hamilton Cemetery loop. It is a less-used, pleasant route.

The Trailhead

Ascending to the Old Hamilton Cemetery

To get to the trailhead, drive along 10th St and just above the Evergreen Memorial Park & Mausoleum at 1301 10th St. NE you will find a small parking area by the hillside, next to a fenced-in storage area. The trail goes straight up the hill from there.

The initial climb may take your breath away, but once on top of the hill the going gets easier as the terrain levels out.

Several Options

You will have several options of trails to follow, they will all lead to the old Hamilton cemetery. For the most scenic one, you can choose the trail leading west (to the left as you reach the top) following the ridgeline.

The walk will take you through sagebrush and grassy growth, offering views of the river, city and the foothills in the background. You will be looking at Mission Ridge directly across the river.

To the north you will see Burch Mountain and beyond it, towards Cashmere, the almost always snow-covered tops of the Wenatchee Mountains at Blewett Pass.

Wildlife

wildlife tracks along the Old Hamilton Cemetery Loop

During the snowy season, the hilltop is dotted with tracks of critters who live there. You may see the tiny footprints of a mouse or the larger indentations of a rabbit, indicating their homesteads and routes.

Overhead you may see hawks or flickers who like to winter on the hills. Coyotes wander there, too, so be mindful of that.

The Terrain

While the trail is mostly flat, there will be a couple of hills to descend and ascend along the way. A walking stick may be helpful.

If you feel like you are getting disoriented, keep your eyes to the powerlines – the main service road runs right below them and will lead you back to the parking area.

The Old Hamilton Cemetery

A grave marker at the Old Hamilton Cemetery

The Hamilton cemetery is not obvious until you are right upon it. A lone tree marks the spot, with wind chimes and other decorations hanging from it.

The grave markers are interesting – and on occasion, sad – to read. They indicate the resting places of young men who died in war, small infants who did not live to their first birthdays as well as long lives lived.

The spot itself is an excellent viewing place where you can see for miles all around. It is also a place of quiet and calm, in the middle of the vast open country.

The Duration of the Hike

The hike can take anywhere from one hour to two, depending on how often you pause and the pace you like to maintain. It is impossible to get lost as you will always see where you came from, but the many trails may keep you guessing which one to take.

Jaana Hatton