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Added by Lindsy Dugan

River gorgeCamp groundNational ForestRapids

Perhaps the "best kept secret" among the scores of trails within the Lake Wenatchee region, this one follows along the Little Wenatchee River at a dramatic gorge. A wonderful destination for hikers of all ages and abilities, the river puts on quite a show as it tumbles and froths over rapids and beneath ledges. Amble or while away the afternoon, or combine this hike with one of the other nearby short but sweet trails.

The trail takes off south from the quiet campground and then immediately swings west. The spur that continues south follows Elevenmile Creek for a short distance to the Little Wenatchee River. It's not a bad diversion if you miss the turn. The main trail, however, continues across a bench of hemlock and huckleberry, shortly meeting up with the river at an inviting spot that encourages napping and picnicking. Directly across from the pristine waterway, Theseus Creek tumbles into it by a small campsite.

Heading upstream, the trail hugs the riverbank. Majestic Doug-firs and a few western white pines shade the way. After passing beneath a small scree slope, the trail makes a short steep climb. Notice the tread work. Is this perhaps a portion of the original trail to Cady Pass before logging roads shortened and obliterated much of the route?

Notice too that you are now at the head of the gorge. Avoid a spur that heads right, back to the road, and continue left to steeply drop back to river level. Now walk languidly along the crashing river, gazing into rapids and swirls and admiring tight chasms that thunder when the water level is high. Keep children and pooches close by at some of the gorge overlooks. Catch glimpses of Labyrinth Mountain rising above in the distance. After you pass a small punchbowl waterfall, the gorge broadens. And after passing its confluence with Lake Creek, the river once again makes a tight squeeze. A spectacular rapids-fed bowl will hold your attention.

Beyond, the river resumes a more mellow flow, while the trail ends at an old road 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Return via the same route or turn right and follow FR 65 back to your vehicle.

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