If you’re looking to escape the spring and summer crowds and want a short but rewarding hike with nearly 360 degree summit views, check out Eagle Rock on Burch Mountain between East Wenatchee and Cashmere.
From Leavenworth, head east on Highway 2 and turn onto Easy St in Cashmere near the Hot Rod Café. Drive past orchards and enjoy views of the Wenatchee River on your right. Turn left on Peters St just before you reach the intersection with Highway 2 and Highway 97 on the north end of Wenatchee, then take a left onto Burch Mountain Rd. Drive a couple miles, climbing past residential neighborhoods, and continuing on past the gate when the pavement ends.
Up until 2014, the remainder of this road was primarily for off-road high-clearance vehicles but has since been graded allowing access for most passenger vehicles. The newly graded road travels 5 miles up Burch Mountain on large gravel rocks, winding back and forth across the hillside offering glimpses of the views you’ll enjoy from the top. After about 3.8 miles from where the pavement ends, you’ll reach the Lone Tree Parking area. It’s hard to miss, as it’s the first tree of any size you’ll past on this grassy hillside dotted with wildflowers. Enjoy southerly views up the shimmering Columbia River as it disappears around a bend beyond Wenatchee.
Continue driving the rocky road for another 1.2 miles until you enter the cover of trees and see campsites on your right and left. Pick an empty spot to park your vehicle and continue walking up the road for another ½ mile until you reach a Y, go left. After another 300 feet, walk around a gate, and keep following the road for another 1/3 of a mile until you see a much smaller trail spur off to the left towards the ridgeline (just before a major right hand bend in the main trail). Follow this trail to the ridgeline in a westerly/northwesterly direction and carefully make your way up the steep switchback-like trail covered in loose rocks to the top of the large boulders protruding from the ridgeline. Congratulations! You made it to Eagle Rock!
Just before you start to climb the last steep section to the top, watch for the archway that has formed on the underside of the huge rock jutting out towards the valley. Enjoy the wildflowers and butterflies while basking in the sun at 4,522 feet of elevation. From this vantage point, see all of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, and Cashmere, as well as the rolling hills that lead up to snow-capped peaks in the distance. On a clear day you can see the monstrous Mt Rainier way in the distance, towering above all other peaks.
There are no permits required for parking, hiking, or even camping in this area and I can’t wait to spend a night under the stars with expansive views of the lights from the towns below, and nothing but the sounds of a crackling fire, my breath, and the occasional click of my camera shutter.