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Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
Length: Ten miles of multi-use trail (marked in half-mile increments).
Level of difficulty : Level-to-gentle paved and gravel trail.
Setting: The longest loop trail in Washington state, this path traces both shores of the Columbia River in Wenatchee, connected by three bridges (two over the Columbia and one over the Wenatchee River).
Several of the parks along the trail were developed under recreation plans required by the federal government as part of the Chelan County Public Utility District's (PUD) licenses to operate hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River.
The Wenatchee side of the trail connects several parks, while the trail on the east side of the river offers a more natural wetlands habitat. Joggers, cyclists and walkers share the trail, joined by those in snowshoes and cross-country skis in winter.
The trail can be easily accessed from many locations, including Wenatchee Confluence State Park (directions given below), and Walla Walla Point Park and Wenatchee Riverfront Park, which are both in downtown Wenatchee on the Columbia River (from Wenatchee Avenue, the main street — take Fifth or Ninth Street toward the river).
Highlights : The present location of Wenatchee Confluence State Park was an important gathering place for Native Americans and some of Wenatchee's earliest settlers homesteaded here. The Columbia Basin is located along the Pacific flyway and migratory birds join many resident species here during spring and fall.
Facilities : Restrooms and water at the three parks on the Wenatchee side of the river.
Restrictions : Leash and scoop laws in effect; pets prohibited in designated wildlife-habitat areas. Don't feed the waterfowl. The nature-preserve portion of the trail (east side of the river) is closed annually from Dec. 1 through March 1.
For more information : Call 509-663-8121 or visit www.chelanpud.org/apple-capital-loop-trail.html.
Cathy McDonald, a Renton-based freelance writer, is a regular contributor to Northwest Weekend
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company