The Reach 1 Trail is a 3-mile-plus round-trip walk that overlooks the Chelan Dam, Lake Chelan and the Chelan River. It takes visitors from the Riverwalk Loop Trail in downtown Chelan to Reach 1 of the Chelan River – the uppermost section of a 4-mile river that flows down to join the Columbia River at Chelan Falls. This trail was built by Chelan County PUD (PUD) to enhance community recreation as part of its federal license to operate the Lake Chelan Hydro Project. The PUD also owns and operates two larger dams on the nearby Columbia River, including a Visitor Center at Rocky Reach Dam, seven miles north of Wenatchee.
The first section of trail begins in Chelan, at the Riverwalk Loop Trail boat launch on the south side of the Chelan River. This half-mile section is paved and accessible to all. Along this part of the trail, visitors will learn about the Chelan Dam, which provides enough clean, renewable hydropower to supply about 30,000 average Northwest homes. Interpretive signs also explain the power tunnel (or penstock), an underground pipe, 14-feet in diameter, which draws water from the lake at the base of the dam and carries it to a powerhouse two (2) miles away at Chelan Falls. The Lake Chelan Hydro Project is certified as low impact to the environment and helps the PUD supply power to county residents at some of the lowest rates in the nation.
The lower section of the trail, 1.1 miles long, is gravel and winds through the natural riverbanks. Visitors will enjoy learning about the American Indian Tribes that inhabited the Chelan Valley, the wildlife in the various reaches of the Chelan River and about the unique geology where basalt cliffs form a treacherous, narrow gorge for the river as it nears the Columbia.
Please respect wildlife and the natural surroundings as you enjoy the Reach 1 Trail.