Leavenworth is an amazing Bavarian-themed German village located in Washington's Cascade Mountains. Their community embraces both old and modern-world German traditions. Leavenworth is home to some of the world's greatest cultural attractions, warm hospitality, and annual festivals such as Maifest, Christkindlmarket, and Bavarian Icefest. According to Vacationidea, the stunning Lovely Front Street Park is one of the main tourist attractions in Leavenworth and is located near entertainment and shops. We also recommend you try out the various world-class restaurants in this town. In this article, we will take a closer look at the 20 best things to do in Leavenworth.
20. Explore Icicle Creek
The Icicle Creek starts from the high Cascade Mountains, reaching down to Wenatchee River near Leavenworth. Closely following the waterways is the lengthy Icicle's Creek road, serving as a gateway to the town's gorgeous mountain environments. As you drive through this 20-mile road, you will marvel at the magic mountain features and amazing landscapes with scenic pullouts, camping grounds, and hiking trails.
19. Hike through the Enchantments
The Enchantments is the most beautiful area of Okanogan-Wenatchee's four-million-acre National Forest surrounding all sides of the town. You will need to drive 15 miles from town to enjoy the spectacular glacial remnants, rivers, and majestic mountains that make your adventure more exciting. According to Globeguide, the Enchantments is home to amazing features like Asgard Pass and Perfection Lake. The hike through the Enchantments is a challenging 18-mile trip with more than 4,000 feet of jagged peaks. Most hikers usually start their journey at the Stuart Lake Trailhead, which is 13 miles along Ice Creek Road from Leavenworth town.
18. Celebrate the festive season at the Christmas Lighting Festival
Every winter, the Leavenworth downtown storefronts come under one special glow to celebrate the Christmas Lighting Festivals. Almost half a million lights are used to decorate the cold weather evenings. This spectacular light display always captivates all children and adults to participate in this celebration. The Christmas Lighting Festivals are held every weekend in December and start at 4.45 pm. The festival is made more exciting by roasting chestnuts and special appearances by a reindeer petting zoo and Santa Claus. Another famous annual celebration is Christkindlmarket, which occurs over Thanksgiving weekend.
17. Camp at Lake Wenatchee State Park
Lake Wenatchee State Park, a 20-mile drive from Leavenworth town, is one of the state's best parks. This 500-acre camping park is located near the eastern shoreline of the 5-mile-long Lake Wenatchee. Tourist activity is abundant throughout the year at Lake Wenatchee State Park, where they come to view the glimmering lake with a mountainous backdrop view. During summer, the park provides boat tours in the afternoons where you can practice fishing in the lake. During winter, the state park has 150 standard camping sites and a designated snow camping area that offers a safe place to spend the night. Hot showers, heated restrooms, and other modern camping amenities are available for all winter campers. Other fun activities at the Lake Wenatchee State Park include; guided horseback rides, fun hiking trails, and spectacular shoreline views.
16. Ski at Stevens Pass
According to Planetware, Stevens Pass is one of Washington's best ski resorts. This well-known ski resort is 35 miles west of Leavenworth on Highway 2. Found on the Cascade Range crest, it receives an average of 460 snow inches annually. All this snow spreads over 1,000 acres, creating the perfect environment for skiing. Night skiing takes place on the mountain for up to five nights of the week, from Wednesday to Sunday. There are also other snowbound activities in the park, including; a sled and a completely free tubing hill.
15. Enjoy Cross-Country Skiing on the Winter Sports Club trails
Winter is the perfect time to visit Leavenworth since it is usually packed with plenty of snowbound adventures. The Winter Sports Club maintains over 26 kilometers of groomed trails in Waterfront Park and the Leavenworth Ski Hill. This expansive spread creates a suitable environment for cross-country skiing and experiencing the exciting rush of winter travel. Winter Sports Club is open from Wednesday to Thursday from 3-8 pm and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
14. Raft at the Wenatchee River
Leavenworth is a hotspot for white water rafting, where millions of tourists run memorable rides down the Wenatchee River. The river starts from Lake Wenatchee and flows southeast passing next to the center of Leavenworth town. White water rafting is very popular in the high-water season between May and June. Water rafting guiding companies such as Blue Sky Outfitters, Orion River Rafting, and Osprey Rafting provide affordable full-day trips to Wenatchee River. These trips usually start near Leavenworth town and finish downtown, where the water waves move slowly.
13. Stop at the Organic Garden at Sleeping Lady
Organic Garden, part of Sleeping Lady, is a stunning luxury mountain resort located about 3 miles from Leavenworth town. The Organic Garden is the perfect getaway location to enjoy a peaceful stroll and relax on a bench as you view the different birds and wildlife. All nature lovers will certainly appreciate the Garden's 2 acres of certified-produced herbs and flowers surrounded by a spectacular mountain backdrop. Everything grown in the Garden follows strict organic gardening techniques monitored by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Some of these growing techniques include introducing insects such as ladybugs and bees for pollination, using natural fertilizers, and natural pest control methods.
12. Explore the Eagle Creek Ranch
According to Whimsy Soul, Eagle Creek Ranch is a family-operated and owned, all-season horse ranch located in the Cascade Mountains. This historic ranch is surrounded by the Wenatchee National Forest, one of the town's greatest outdoor nature preserves. Here you will get to explore the scenic beauty the ranch offers and take a walk in the national forest on a horseback ride. In the winter, the Eagle Creek Ranch becomes a scenic valley that can be explored on a horse-driven sleigh. The ranch also provides a free basic course program for horseback riding beginners.
11. Visit the Leavenworth Ski Hill
Leavenworth Ski Hill has been a tourist location for fun winter activities since 1982. Many tourists and the locals flock here for affordable, sometimes free, winter events and activities. Apart from snowboarding and skiing, you can also snowshoe or stop at the Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park for an exciting water-based activity.
10. Stop at the Mountain Springs Lodge
Mountain Springs Lodge was founded back in the 1800s and has developed to become a centerpiece to pristine natural beauty, rich Bavarian tradition, and family heritage. In 1990, it was renovated and renamed the Mountain Springs Lodge and Conference Center. Many visitors travel from far to enjoy themselves by relaxing at the lodge, walking through the meadows, basking in the rock-sculptured pool, and learning more about the lodge's history. The Mountain Springs Lodge also provides its visitors with tubing, rafting, fly-fishing, and kayaking lessons at very friendly prices.
9. Visit Icicle Brewing Co
Are you interested in the beer brewing process? Then you should make your way to the Icicle Brewing Company in downtown Leavenworth. Here, you will taste some of the town's best local brews that immediately overwhelm your taste buds. This brewing company is managed by Dean Priebe. He perfectly combines the clear waters of the Icicle River with fresh, carefully selected ingredients to create the most original and delicious ales and lagers. They also provide tours to the Company Production Facility, where you will learn how the beer brewing process works. According to Family Destinations Guide, Icicle Brewing Co is open every day from 11 am to 10 pm.
8. Hike up Penstock Trail
Penstock Trail is listed on the National Historical Register and is one of the main tourist attractions in Leavenworth. The trail used a huge water pipe that transported water from the Wenatchee River to a powerhouse for an electricity-powered engine that substituted a coal-fire engine to drive trains. Tourists can now enjoy a hike up the trail to view one of Washington's most serene environments. The Penstock Trail is relatively easy even for beginning hikers, and it usually takes an hour to complete the two-mile hike trail.
7. Visit Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
It is a museum fully dedicated to all nutcracker lovers. It was founded in 1995 by George Wagner and his wife, Arlene. As of 2020, the museum contains about 6,000 items exclusively designed for cracking nuts, dating from ancient times to today. These tools are made of different materials, and several variations have been made, including; Carved European wooden figures, Betel Asian cutters, Silver Victorian nutcrackers, and priceless ebony, porcelain, and ivory figures. Although some figures are crude and others very ornate, they all perfectly display the history of human artistry, ingenuity, and crazy love for nuts.
6. Stop at Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is a family-operated reindeer farm located in the magical foothills of the Cascades. The farm welcomes all tourists year-round and provides exceptional farm tours that are very educational. You will also get the chance to get personal and up close with the reindeer. Tours at the farm usually last for an hour. It should be noted that tours at the farm must be booked before the visit and usually charge an average fee of $25-$40.
5. Hike at Icicle Gorge
Icicle Gorge trail is a well-traveled and prominent trail located 16 miles from downtown Leavenworth. Apart from how easy it is to hike on this trail, you will enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Icicle Creek Valley, Icicle Gorge, and surrounding evergreen forest filled with different wildlife and birds. About halfway through the trail is a small bridge where you can better view the town's exceptional beauty and take some great photos with friends and family.
4. Visit Greater Leavenworth Museum
According to Our Adventure Journal, Greater Leavenworth Museum is a century-old museum that was once home to the family of the town's banker and a former bed and breakfast resort. The museum sits on eight acres of land that provides spectacular views of the Wenatchee River and comprises the Barn Beach Reserve. All visitors are welcome to explore the museum and learn more about the special permanent and rotating Bavarian-theme exhibits in the museum.
3. Stop at Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery is one of three hatcheries in the area. The hatchery was created after the Grand Coulee Dam was constructed in the 1930s. The dam closed when many fish swam down the Columbia River, creating a fish hatchery. Here, you will not only get to learn more about the salmon life cycle but also enjoy excellent views of the Icicle Creek Nature Trail. Visitors can now visit this hatchery and learn more about its history and operations.
2. Enjoy a ride at Leavenworth Ziplines
To enjoy the thrilling rush of riding ziplines from ridge to ridge? Then you should try out the Leavenworth Ziplines. They provide you with eight different ziplines to choose from. Since the zip lines are located in the Cascade forests, you will enjoy a spectacular view over the expansive canyon and evergreen trees.
1. Relax at Front Street Park
Located a few steps from the buzz of downtown restaurants, galleries and shops are the heart of Leavenworth town- Front Street Park. The park is decorated with lovely green lawns for fun family picnics and large old trees that provide shade during hot afternoons. The park is accessible to everyone, and entry is completely free.
Whether you are into outdoor theater, interesting museums, skiing, wine tasting events, hiking, geocaching, or any other fun outdoor activity, Leavenworth is the perfect getaway location for you. The town is home to some of the world's most famous tourist attractions, including Icicle Creek, The Enchantments, and Icicle Gorge. It is also the ideal all-season location, where during winter, you can enjoy all your favorite winter sports at the Leavenworth Ski Hill. During summer, you can explore the Penstock trail or even relax at Front Street Park.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn