Flickr album link: Horseshoe Cove Day Use Site
The national forest day use areas are often overlooked by mainstream tourists that tend to only be drawn to the national parks and in a way, this is a good thing. In fact, the day use areas located in major tourism corridors often are gems hidden in plain sight. A good example is the Wenatchee National Forest riverside picnic areas located along Highway 12 on the way to Mt Rainier National Park. Hundreds of cars loaded with tourists simply speed on by without hardly taking notice and even fewer actually take the time to look around. The local folk definitely cherish these lesser known destinations, especially on the weekends, because they offer an opportunity to enjoy some fun in the sun for a very thrifty price. For the cost of only a few dollars, visitors can enjoy a full day of recreation and relaxation, so the day use areas definitely offer a good value, which appeals to large families and groups.
One of the best Wenatchee National Forest day use areas along Highway 12 definitely is Horseshoe Cove. There are several picnic areas along the Tieton River heading west from Yakima, Washington that offer world class fishing, kayaking and scenic hiking trails, but Horseshoe Cove offers a little more in the way of aquatic adventures. Horseshoe Cove is located on Rimrock Lake, which is a large man made reservoir on the Tieton River. This day use site is primarily known for its boat launch with ample parking, but this actually is also a unique lakeside recreation area complete with basic facilities and picnic tables under tall shade trees. Fishing from the shoreline or a boat is supreme in Rimrock Lake, so putting some food on the table for lunch is easy to do. Thick forests cover the mountains that border upon this body of water and the views are as pleasant as can be. Early in the day, powerful fighter jets can often bee seen blazing overhead on training missions, which certainly breaks the dead silence in a big way and the experience will amaze children of all ages. As one can easily guess, the Horseshoe Cove Day Use Site is the perfect spot for family outings and small craft boating adventures, so be sure to stop to smell the roses while traveling on Highway 12!
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