This short leg-stretcher winds through old growth fir and ponderosa forests with amazing geology to entertain even the most curmudgeonly kids in your car. Highway 97 traverses the Wenatchee Mountains largely without giving them their due justice. For those who pay attention, peak-a-boo views of Swauk Formation sandstone towers dot the hillside. This hike gets you into one of those amazing sandstone uplifts.
In the summer the trailhead is at the Swauk Campground. During the off season, Swauk becomes a Sno-park and you will need a Sno-park pass to park here. The trail is a horseshoe loop with one end at the group shelter near the campground entrance and the other end in the back of the campground. Park near the group shelter, then walk through the campground to start your hike.
From the back of the campground, the trail dips a little and crosses the diminutive Swauk Creek. The well-maintained trail now steadily gains most of its 300 feet of elevation. The mature pine forest opens up as the ridge-crest is reached. Small territorial views appear through the trees.
Quickly, a tombstone shaped sculpture of rock appears before you. This fantastic, eroded sandstone formation towers overhead while the trail deftly skirts around the edge. This brief little side trail is suitable for most everybody, but keep a close eye on children and pets, as it ascends to quite nearly the top of the rock!
Enjoy the views and the wind blowing through the trees before heading down. Turn left to follow the ridge for a bit before it heads down hill to your parked car. An hour can easily be spent here, or the entire loop can be run in ten minutes. Either way, you’ll never look at the Wenatchee Mountains the same again.