Wenatchee’s Saddle Rock trail reopens after summer cleanup project

The Saddle Rock trail is a Wenatchee gem known for its sweeping views of the city. A popular destination for both visitors and neighbors, lines of schoolchildren can often be seen climbing the steep trails to the craggy summit.

For the past few months, this well-loved trail system has been closed to continue a cleanup and improvement project. This most recent closure will be the last since work began in 2019. Now, Saddle Rock is celebrating its grand reopening.

On a sunny day with a rocky hilltop in the background, an orange and white striped barrier blocks a dirt trail with a "trail closed" sign.

Saddle Rock was once a mining site. Historical gold prospecting left behind waste rock piles containing arsenic and heavy metals.  

The Department of Ecology partnered with the City of Wenatchee to direct over $2.1 million in state grants into the project. Cleanup began in 2019, with a total of 11,800 tons of contaminated materials removed from the trail system.

At the bottom of a hill dotted with small bushes, an orange excavator sits on top of a dirt pile with an orange plastic mesh barrier beside

One last waste rock pile was left near the summit, and the trail closed from July to October 2022 to undergo the final cleanup efforts.

The city also used the cleanup project to make much-needed trail improvements, including a new gazebo and updated signs.

On a sunny day with a rocky hilltop in the background, a group smiles while someone holds scissors to a red ribbon strung in front of them.

With the project now complete, Ecology’s Valerie Bound and Frank Winslow, both with the Toxics Cleanup Program in Central Washington, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion. They joined Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz, the Wenatchee City Parks Department, and engineers who worked on the cleanup to officially welcome visitors back to the trail.

We hope to see you out there! Tag us in your photos or use #EcologyWA to show us your view at Saddle Rock.

Purple wildflowers dot the foreground in front of a rocky hilltop covered with small bushes.