Tenas – George Canyon Loop

April 2nd, 2016

While in Wenatchee for one of my son's school events over the weekend, I snuck away and went for a hike. I looked at the Wenatchee Outdoors website and found the Tenas George Loop, (they call it the Tenas George Canyon Circumnavigation) in the guidebook hiking and backpacking section of the website. They rated it as a 3 for fitness and 3 for skill level, 3 being the highest level. Well, one out of two isn't bad so I went for it.

The directions for accessing the area on the Wenatchee Outdoors page are spot on. You park right in front of the wildlife fence and there is a gate (see below) you walk through to access the area. Visit the Wenatchee outdoors site for turn by turn directions and a map of the area. For me, I looked at their map and used it to draw a track on Google maps which I uploaded to my phone and just used those with the MyTrails GPS app. Very good app by the way. Much better than that battery draining Gaia GPS app. I've included my tracks below for download if you would like to use them yourself.

Once you get through the gate and get a little bit of elevation, the route becomes pretty clear. You follow one ridge up to a road. Take the road for 6 or 7 miles, then pick up the ridge on the other side of the canyon and follow it down to complete the loop. There are no trails. The terrain is open most of the way with the exception of the very top which is wooded, but by then you are following the road so its no big deal. Great, wide open country so you can just go whichever way your heart desires really.

My trip was pretty non eventful until I got to the road. The road was supposed to be the easy part of the day, but because the snow hadn't yet fully melted at that elevation, the road became the hardest part and was, how do I put it? A post hole hell. I went around this big curve in the road through the snow and just figured that once I went around the bend the snow would stop. It was very deceiving since you couldn't really see the snow unless you were at the road level or above it. Had I known how much snow I would be going through, I probably would have turned around and gone back the way I came and say to hell with the loop. Ah, but hind-site is 20/20 and I was already halfway through it so I plowed ahead. I estimate I post holed for 4 or 5 miles on the road. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don't do snow. But here I was in my trail runners scraping up my shins on the hard outer crust of this snow every time I punched through. Snow that shouldn't be here. Lets just say I got a good workout. I guess I was so perturbed by the snow that I failed to get any really good images of it while I was wallowing in it. I really just wanted to get through it. As you'll see in my images below, I took few images from the snow section.

OK, enough banter. Lets get on to the images. The images I took BTW are from a new lightweight camera I got. I'm not real crazy about the images it takes and have since sent it back to get something a little more powerful.

 

This is the entrance to the area. I just parked right in front of here. The gate is odd, it swings up and inward on the hinge which is the bar you see just under the sign. There were a whole bunch of tumble-weeds that had blown against the fence. Directly behind those tumble-weeds is a big rock. I had to reach in between the links of the fence and pull the tumble-weeds out one by one until I could successfully push the gate open It took 10 or 15 minutes to do this and was quite a pain. There were simply too many tumble-weeds against the fence to force my way through without clearing them out first. I guess I was the first one to head up there in a while.
Going up from the fence, you'll come across this old dirt road. When you get to the road, go right and follow it as it goes into the canyon.
Panorama from the old dirt road looking up the canyon and across to the ridge I would be coming down.
Following the dirt road, when I got to this tree, I decided to leave the road and start following the ridge up to the left. I did the loop in a clock-wise direction. The tree is the only one like it at this altitude and I figured it would be easy to spot as I came down the other ridge.
A last look up the canyon as I prepared to get serious on the steep ridge. Notice you can't see any snow at all up there.
Shooting Stars
The ridge I would follow up.
Looking back down at the Columbia River (Lake Entiat). Turtle Rock is the name of island out there.
Saw a deer
Then a few more
Then a herd.
I pretty much followed them about halfway up the ridge
Looking back. I was following the ridge on the lower right.
There were these two weird looking rock formations. I took advantage of the situation and snapped a picture of Wenatchee from here
When I did finally leave the grassy ridge and entered the woods, this arrow was one of the first things I saw.
Finally made it to the road. Little did I know that I would only be on it about a half mile before running into the snow. Directly to the left but not in this shot is Swakane Canyon.
Finally made it to the road. Little did I know that I would only be on it about a half mile before running into the snow. Directly to the left but not in this shot is Swakane Canyon.
Beyond that gate, the misery post holing session would begin. Did I mention I was in my trail runners?
One of a few shots I got from the snowy road section. Notice there is no snow in the picture. It was mainly all on the road
This is a panorama using the same picture from above.
This is after the big long slog through the snow. Was so motivated to just keep moving that I didn't get a whole lot of pictures through there. It would be a pleasant stroll without the snow

Mouse over image for an overview of the upper road route.

This was part of the road route without snow. very nice, see?
Road route
Interesting Rock
A last look back at the snowy road route.
You take the high road and I'll take the low road (because I need to get back to my car).
Leaving the road, I followed this ridge back down. Barely visible in this image, There is some kind of antenna or radar station on the top of the ridge. See next image for a better view.
Some kind of antenna or radar thing on the ridge.
Selfie on the ridge going down. Wenatchee directly behind my big head.
I ran across this cairn on the way down the ridge. The only cairn I saw all day.
The only cairn I saw all day.
Looking south at the Columbia River (Lake Entiat) and Wenatchee in the distance
See the house with the green roof? See the red speck near the road just under it and to the left? That's my vehicle. I'm about two thirds of the way back down the ridge at this point.
Hard to see but there is a deer standing on the top of the lower ridge in this image.
Another deer.
Looking back up the steep ridge I had just come down.
I was essentially aiming for the tree on the road where I started the loop. Mouse over to see the start of the route and the location of the tree. Tree is more visible in the next image.

The tree on the road was my target.
Saw this thing that looks like a rain/snow catcher to give the wildlife some water since they are essentially gated off from accessing the river water. Probably to keep them off the highway I guess. I actually saw another one of these higher up on the road but due to its appearance and being partially buried in snow, I thought it was some kind of structure that had collapsed. Upon closer inspection of this one, and seeing the trough under it, it was clearly there for catching water.
Almost back to the tree
There were some nice flowers along the road here
A last look up the canyon and the ridge I had just come down. The picture really doesn't do justice to how tall that ridge is. At the end of the day with all the ups and downs, I did close to 5000 feet of elevation gain. Long hard day but it felt good to dust off the cobwebs.

This was a good trip. If you like off trail adventure and are near Wenatchee, give this one a shot. I imagine it is hot, hot, hot in the summer so try it in the spring or fall. Cell reception is great too, if posting to Facebook while you hike is your thing. I love it, LOL.

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