This summer many are traveling to enjoy the sights of Eastern Washington. Although Leavenworth is a popular destination for families, another great choice is Wenatchee, which is only 23 miles east. Wenatchee is teeming with fun activities for everyone to experience as the weather begins to warm up.
Ohme Gardens is the perfect pit stop for those making a day trip to Wenatchee. This getaway features many picturesque views both within the garden itself and of the Wenatchee River. Spending a few hours in this garden is the best way to soak up the summer sun while taking in scenes of nature.
A Brief History
As breathtaking as Ohme Gardens is, this landscape did not always look like this. Thanks to Herman Ohme and his wife Ruth, Ohme Gardens has become a place like no other. The journey began in 1929 when Herman bought 40 acres of land with the intention of creating an orchard. The plan quickly changed when he and Ruth saw that the land provided views of the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River Valley. The plans for an orchard changed to dreams of nature paths and a scenic getaway.
Ohme Gardens was built solely by Herman and his family. The many pathways were created by rolling native stones to the place Herman wanted them. To build up the forest, the Ohme family transplanted small evergreen trees from the Cascade Mountains and watered them using five-gallon milk jugs to transport the water.
Originally this oasis was intended for the Ohme Family alone, however interest from the public caused Herman and Ruth to open it to all. In 1991, Ohme Gardens was sold to Washington State Parks to preserve their use to the public after Herman passed away. Thanks to Herman and Ruth, generations of families can come to the gardens and experience the beauty the Ohme Family created. When you visit, make sure to write your name down in the guestbook to have your adventure recorded along with all the past guests since the Ohme Gardens opened!
A Day of Exploring
As you begin wandering the gardens you will come across a few structures that are strewn throughout the upper part of the gardens. These buildings are created to give visitors a spot to rest as well as diversify the landscape. Each hut has a sign with a QR code that can be scanned to provide more information about the building. One of the huts, the Vista House, located in the northern part of the gardens, is a lookout that allows visitors to view Wenatchee above the tree line. The Totem Pole Lodge, next to the Lower Lawn, houses vending machines and a seating area for families to recharge.
Ohme Gardens has an abundance of pools and waterfalls scattered throughout the landscape. Each one features unique plant life as well as benches to rest and admire the environment. Many of the benches are shaded by trees and provide the perfect spot for a reprieve from the sun.
As you roam the gardens make sure to keep your eye out for wildlife. The various flowers and plants that grow, attract creatures of all kinds to the gardens. Birds such as robins can be found perched on the branches of the evergreens surrounding the paths and if you look closely a butterfly or two may be collecting nectar from the nearby flowers. Make your way down to the Hidden Pool at the south of the grounds and you will also find koi fish swimming around in the pond.
The gardens offer a “Fairy and Gnome Hunt” that is a great way to keep young ones occupied on your visit. Several fairies and gnomes are hidden throughout the gardens and the more you find, the better. After your visit, you can stop at the gift shop and collect your prizes for finding the magical creatures. This is also a wonderful game for adults as it keeps your eyes wandering and you may just discover another unique aspect of the garden, in addition to the gnomes.
Once you have finished touring the gardens, why not have a picnic on the lower lawn? Make sure to pack some snacks, a basket and a blanket to picnic on so you can take in the sights of Ohme Gardens while you eat. This area is a great spot to sit and take in the view of the Wenatchee River before you head home.