Wenatchee, Washington is famous for its apples. With thousands of acres of orchards producing millions of pounds of crunchy, juicy goodness every year, it has earned its title as the “Apple Capital of the World.” Aside from being the king of apple production, what’s so special about Wenatchee’s apple industry?
ProductionWenatchee is blessed with a unique geographical advantage. It’s nestled in the heart of a lush apple-growing region that stretches from Canada to the Tri-Cities. The combination of fertile soil, perfect climate and abundant water from the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers creates the ideal conditions for apple trees to thrive.
However, it’s not just the geography that makes Wenatchee special. Colonists who settled into the region poured their heart and sweat into cultivating apple orchards, laying the foundation for the apple empire that Wenatchee is today.
Fun Apple Varieties You May Not Know
Most people recognize classics like Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala, but Wenatchee’s orchards have spawned many more distinctive apple varieties over the years. Here are a few apples that trace their roots back to Wenatchee breeding programs:
- Piñata: A crisp yellow apple with pink-red striping and speckles, making it look like a piñata!
- Pacific RoseTM: Sweet, rosy skin and flesh with notes of grapefruit and strawberry. A cross of the heirloom Cox's Orange Pippin and Gala varieties.
- Cosmic Crisp: A newer variety renowned for its explosive crunchy texture and tart-sweet flavor. It also lasts months in storage without browning.
- Opal: Pale yellow skin with a unique honeyed, floral aroma. Opal's flavor profile combines citrus, pear and vanilla notes.
- EverCrisp: True to its name, this muted red apple has an exceptionally dense, juicy crunch and balanced sweet-tart taste.
Visiting Wenatchee for All Things Apple
For travelers keen on exploring Wenatchee's beauty and heritage, here are detailed recommendations:
- Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail: This scenic ten-mile trail skirts the Columbia River, offering breathtaking views. This trail is ideal for biking, jogging or a tranquil walk. You'll journey through orchards and city parks and witness the city's love for apples.
- Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center: This museum offers a window into the city’s past. Along with art exhibits, the museum has dedicated sections to apple farming, showcasing antique tools that contributed to the growth of the city’s apple industry.
- Peshastin Pinnacles State Park: In addition to striking sandstone formations, the park provides elevated viewpoints. From here, the patchwork of apple orchards set against the backdrop of the Wenatchee River is truly a sight to behold.
- Wenatchee Confluence State Park: Sitting at the meeting point of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, this park is a nature lover's delight. Bird-watching enthusiasts particularly favor this spot due to its rich avian diversity.
- Washington State Apple Blossom Festival: Held annually in spring, this festival celebrates the apple orchards being in full bloom. Along with the vibrant parades and live music, one can indulge in apple-themed foods and crafts.
- Wenatchee Riverfront Park: Stretching along the Wenatchee River, this park offers serene walking trails flanked by trees. The well-maintained picnic spots and a children’s playground make it perfect for families. There is a biking trail here too!
- Pybus Public Market: Dive into local culture at this bustling market. Alongside fresh produce, you'll find artisans displaying their crafts, culinary stalls serving local dishes and occasional live performances that add to the market's lively atmosphere.
- Mission Ridge: Located a short drive from Wenatchee, this ski resort is for more than winter sports enthusiasts. During off-seasons, visitors can enjoy hiking trails and panoramic views of the valley.
If you want the ultimate apple experience, visit Wenatchee! Attend the Apple Blossom Festival in spring to see the orchards in full bloom and join the festivities. Take a tour of orchards and packing houses to go behind the scenes. And don’t leave without sampling apple pie, cider, donuts and more from local vendors!
Here are some of the top apple orchards that can be toured in the fall around Wenatchee, Washington:
- Stemilt Hillside Orchard - A family-owned orchard offering tours of their packingfacility and apple processing operations. Great for seeing how apples go from tree to store.
- Ohme Gardens - A beautiful 9-acre garden with an orchard, lots of fall colors, and guides who explain the apple growing process.
- Rockridge Orchard - A u-pick orchard with 30+ varieties of apples. They have weekend fall festivals with hayrides, live music, food, and more.
- Snowdrift Cider - An organic orchard and cidery providing tours and tastings showcasing heirloom apples.
- Apple Annie Orchard - A kid-friendly orchard with tractor rides through the orchards and barnyard animals to visit.
- Columbia Valley Fruit Orchards - A large orchard offering tours of their fruit packing and cold storage facility.
Many of the orchards also sell fresh apples, cider, baked goods and more!
Seeking a comfortable spot to rest? Book your stay at one of our Washington Inns, ensuring cozy accommodations and convenient access to all that Wenatchee has to offer.