Set on the northern reaches of the Columbia just east of the North Cascades, Wenatchee is a thriving place with an abundance of shops, museums, and restaurants, plus a fun riverside path and many great places to explore nearby.
The name Wenatchee comes from a Native American term meaning “water flowing out.” Philip Miller was Wenatchee’s pioneer apple grower and one of the first white settlers. In 1872, Miller took squatter’s rights on a parcel of land in the Wenatchee Valley and planted a handful of apple seedlings that eventually grew to make Wenatchee what it is today.
Wenatchee gets over 300 sunny days and only 10–15 inches of rain per year. The warm, sunny days, cool nights, and volcanic ash soil combine to provide ideal conditions for apples, pears, cherries, peaches, and other fruits in the mountain valleys, while the irrigated flatlands to the east are ideal for vineyards.
Getting to Wenatchee
Pangborn Memorial Airport (1 Pangborn Ave., 509/884-2924, www.pangbornairport.com) serves the region’s aeronautical needs. Horizon Air (800/547-9308, www.horizonair.com) operates a number of flights between Pangborn Field and Seattle.
Wings of Wenatchee (3764 Airport Way, 509/886-0233, www.wowgofly.com) offers charter and flightseeing trips out of Pangborn. An affordable 30-minute zoom over the area runs $89 for up to three people, with every additional hour costing $160. Longer flights are flown in a slightly bigger plane, costing $224 per hour for up to three passengers. Charter rates are comparable, with custom service all over the Northwest.
Columbia Station (at Wenatchee and Kittitas) is Wenatchee’s downtown transportation center. Amtrak trains, Link buses, and Northwest Trailways all stop here, providing convenient connections for travelers.
Link (509/662-1155 or 800/851-5465, www.linktransit.com) has bus service throughout Chelan and Douglas counties, including Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth, and to Mission Ridge Ski Area. The buses also carry bicycles. Northwestern Trailways (800/366-3830, www.northwesterntrailways.com) offers bus service east to Spokane and west to Everett and Seattle.
Amtrak’s (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) Empire Builder train serves Wenatchee, with daily service east to Spokane and Chicago, and west to Seattle.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition