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Washington Day Trip: Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | July 31, 2023 1:30 AM

LEAVENWORTH – Travel about 30 miles northwest of Leavenworth on U.S. 2, and you’ll find the Bygone Byways Interpretive Trailhead.

Wrapped in a bow-shaped piece of land between the highway and Nason Creek, the trailhead offers public restrooms and a walking path of about a mile that overlooks the stream and offers opportunities to see wildlife.

Parking is located near milepost 69 and visitors will not need a parking pass of any sort to access the trail which is within the Wenatchee National Forest.

Good stops along the way to the trailhead, or on the way back from hiking, include the 59’er Diner, downtown Leavenworth and the Apple Annie Antique Gallery in Cashmere.

The 59’er Diner is located at 15361 US 2, just outside of Leavenworth. The pet-friendly restaurant favors a 1950s diner theme with Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and other era entertainers and pop culture references featured.

Downtown Leavenworth offers a large variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy, even outside of the town’s annual Oktoberfest, including art fairs, shopping, dining and wine tastings. During the summer months, this may be better to stop at during the early part of the day when you’ve got a bit more energy or in the evening as temperatures begin to cool. On July 22, the temperatures in the Bavarian-inspired village were in the triple digits, while temperatures at the Bygone Byways hiking site were in the low 80s.

Apple Annies is a staple stop between the Columbia Basin and Stevens Pass, where the Bygone Byways Trailhead is located. The antique mall is fairly large and has booths featuring a variety of collections that include art, glassware, furniture and other random items that may defy categorization. A key trick to getting to Apple Annie is to take onto Eels Road, then a right onto Apple Annie Avenue. The store is pet-friendly, so as long as your pet is people friendly, let them join you on your exploration of historical items.

The keypoint of the day trip really is the Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail. Offering a respite from the heat of the summer, the trail is well-shaded and cooler due to its higher elevation in the Cascades.

Wildlife lovers can find multiple species of warblers and small birds to photograph at the trail and may come across deer and other larger four-legged wildlife. Be mindful of safety and do not approach animals too closely. Mule deer, elk, black bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote and others are known to be in the region. Keep a camera handy and stay alert to get a good photo, but give animals their space.

While the U.S. Forest Service’s website indicates that the trail is wheelchair accessible, that information appears to be outdated with multiple obstacles along the pathway and narrowed trails as brush has grown up nearby.

For more information on the Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail, visit https://bit.ly/BygoneTrail.

R. Hans “Rob” Miller may be reached at editor@columbiabasinherald.com.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

The Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail is located about 30 miles from Leavenworth on U.S. Highway 2, near mile marker 69. The parking area is relatively small, but marked by this sign.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Much of the Bygone Byways Interpretive Trail overlooks Nason Creek with several small waterfalls and nooks and crannies. The water draws wildlife and keeps the area lush and green, even in mid-summer.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

A variety of flowers including fireweed can be found at the trailhead, which also features a variety of pine, cedar and other trees.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Water pools dot Nason Creek along its path beside the trailway. Hikers may want to bring insect repellent to avoid run-ins with mosquitos.