Biking the Apple Capitol Recreational Loop Trail

Blog Writers Brandon And Stacy in front of the Wenatchee Confluence State Park sign

Many thanks to outdoor recreation enthusiasts and Tacoma-ites Brandon and Stacy, (pictured above at Wenatchee Confluence State Park) for sharing this post and photos of their trip to Wenatchee's most beautiful places. Read and see more from this trip and their outdoor adventures on their blog, Pacific North Wanderers!

Aug. 31, 2020

The Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail, also more commonly referred to as the “Loop Trail,” is a 10-mile paved trail running along both shores of the Columbia River in Wenatchee.

Popular with cyclists, joggers, dog-walkers and more, this trail provides excellent views of the river, the city  and the nearby mountains. With a mostly level grade, it is easy enough for everyone to enjoy. Nearby numerous parks — including Wenatchee Confluence State Park — local businesses, public markets and rest areas make this an enjoyable experience.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Loop Trail

Distance: 10 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Easy

A bike at a wood bridge on the Apple Capitol Recreational Loop Trail

After taking a few hours break from our morning hike to Saddle Rock, we were ready to hit the bike trail around 4 p.m. Part of the path runs through Wenatchee Confluence, where we were camping for the weekend. We brought some water and snacks along in a backpack, strapped on our helmets and away we went.

Riding in a clockwise direction, we quickly left the park boundary and headed to our first bridge crossing, which was U.S. Highway 2. The bridge provided a wide, barricaded pedestrian path, keeping us safe from vehicles. After making it across, the trail continued south along the river, and the sounds of traffic quickly faded.

Apple Cap 2

Wide, blue skies, warm weather and great outdoor adventures are staples of the Wenatchee Valley.

The beautiful, sunny afternoon gave us unobstructed views all around. There is little shade along the northeastern portion of the route, but fortunately there was a cool, continuous breeze. Picnic tables and boardwalks with signage describing area wildlife provide views and places to rest in this Chelan County PUD.-managed section of the trail.

On this side of the river, we had stopped to appreciate the views and noticed some movement in the rocks. Focusing in, we realized the movement was a marmot enjoying the sun. Just as we had caught sight of the marmot, it caught sight of us and began blasting its loud vocal alarm to alert others of our intruding presence.

Russell Congdon Memorial Plaza
Bikes on the shore of the Columbia River

The Russell Congdon Recognition Plaza and Columbia River Bridge offer restful stops and great views while on the Loop Trail in Wenatchee.

We continued south and detoured to explore the Russell Congdon Recognition Plaza. Dr. Congdon was the first trained surgeon in North Central Washington and moved to Wenatchee in 1909 to determine the cause of the area typhoid outbreak. He was a respected physician, ornithologist and amateur archeologist. This space has seating, plaques, blossoming trees and a gentle fountain. The fountain layout supplied areas where the water pooled, and we joyfully watched small birds as they bathed in these spots.

Back on our bikes, we continued to the Columbia River Bridge, also known as Old Wenatchee Bridge. We saw more marmots and paused to look around. As part of the trail, there is no automobile traffic to worry about here, and there are lovely views of the Columbia and the City of Wenatchee. We soon found ourselves outside the Pybus Market. We recommend a visit to this bustling public market. The variety of quality vendors makes this a must-see.

Bikes on the shore of the Columbia River

Easy biking and beautiful views of the Columbia River await you on the Apple Capitol Recreational Loop Trail. 

This side of the river boasts several parks, gardens and art displays. There are so many places to visit. Public restrooms and picnic tables are plentiful in the parks. It is immediately apparent that much planning and care was taken in the layout in conserving of this public space. Geese graze on the green grasses of the park lawns, ducks and other waterfowl grace the waters within and adjacent to the trail.

Continuing north, we approached Horan Natural Area, which is part of Wenatchee Confluence State Park and lies on the south side of the Wenatchee River. Bikes are not allowed in the natural area, so we didn’t explore much of it, although we were lucky to see a brightly colored pheasant just inside the entrance.

Bike on last foot bridge into Wenatchee Confluence State Park
Stacy at camp at Wenatchee Confluence State Park

A small bridge takes connects visitors to the park making it easy for you to get back to your camp from the loop trail and enjoy some well-deserved treats!

We crossed over one last pedestrian bridge and were back in the park and at our campsite. We had had a full day of hiking and biking. The afternoon light was beginning to fade, so we started our campfire, roasted a few marshmallows, enjoyed a brew and called it a day!

Final Thoughts

Time outdoors, a great bike path, nature, views and wildlife were just some of the great things we got to experience along The Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail. This was an excellent way for us to get around and enjoy some of what Wenatchee has to offer. Whether out for a stroll or putting in some easy mileage on a bicycle, this trail could not have been more convenient and accessible.

Learn More

Looking for more adventure opportunities near ‘The Loop’? Check out this blog, also by the Pacific North Wanderers!
Hiking to Saddle Rock — Pacific North Wanderers

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All photos courtesy of Pacific North Wanderers.