Flickr album link: Wild Rose Day Use Site
In southern Washington, Highway 12 is a major tourism corridor that runs from Yakima to Mt Rainier. This long scenic route parallels the Tieton River most of the way and there are plenty of lesser known places to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. The Wenatchee National Forest Service manages several day use picnic areas along the river and they are very easy to access when passing through. Oddly enough, these picturesque picnic spots are usually empty on weekdays, simply because this section of highway is a fly by zone where travelers are in a hurry to get to the national park. The Wild Rose Day Use Site is one such spot and it definitely is a place where slowing down to smell the roses is well worthwhile.
Why be in a hurry while on vacation? ... Haste makes waste and this old adage especially holds true near the national parks. Because of the overcrowding problems, getting stuck in an entrance gate traffic jam is guaranteed to happen and empty parking places will be difficult to find. Curbing the hunger till arrival also makes no sense, since the dining options near a national park have grossly inflated pricing. The quality of the food is also death defying, since most of the seasonal businesses operate on a shoestring budget with questionable food handling skills. If you happen to survive the national park dining experience, the high price of lodging will send you into a state of shock. For these reasons, it is best to not be hasty and take the time to enjoy a picnic in a cozy uncrowded scenic place prior to arrival.
This is where the Wenatchee National Forest Wild Rose Day Use Site fits into the picture. Not only are there basic facilities and picnic tables, a powerful river is only a few steps away that offers white water rafting and world class fishing. This makes for an opportunity to catch fresh fish for lunch in a beautiful place where a landscape artist would be happy to set up shop. Because the Wild Rose Picnic Area is popular with the locals, it does get busy on the weekends. During weekdays this unique Tieton River picnic area sits empty, so be sure to chalk this spot high on the list when passing through!
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