The skinny: The ride up Joe Miller Road puts you smack dab in Stemilt Hill orchard country. In the spring, that means blossoms galore; in the summer, the sounds of water sprinkling the trees; and in the fall, the ambiance of falling leaves.
Distance: 16 miles
Time: About two hours
Terrain: Flat, then a long climb, followed by a fast descent, then flat
Highlights: This route offers great views of the Columbia River and the Three Lakes area. Expect to see plenty of cherry and apple blossoms along the way as well. The quaint Stemilt Hill Church is a perfect spot to refuel. If you aren’t in fit condition or a beginner, climbing Joe Miller might be a bit too much. But even if you find that to be the case, stop, turn around and enjoy the rest of the journey.
Lowlights: Traveling along the Alcoa-Malaga Highway, where the posted speed limit is 50 mph, can be a bit hairy. There is a shoulder, however.
1. In Wenatchee, get on South Wenatchee Avenue and take that south until it turns into the Malaga-Alcoa Highway. From there, head five miles south to the community of Malaga, then right on the second West Malaga Road exit you spot (you’ll spot the first one before you reach Malaga).
2. Take a left on Joe Miller Road and climb the road to the old Stemilt Hill Church (the church is at the four-way intersection of Joe Miller/Stemilt Hill Road/ Blair-Slack Road/Stemilt Loop Road). Take a break and then descend Joe Miller Road.
3. This time, take a left on Hamlin Road and take that to where it intersects with West Malaga Road. Take a left on the West Malaga Road and proceed to the Malaga-Alcoa Highway.
4. Take a left on the Malaga-Alcoa Highway and head north back to Wenatchee.