Nothing beats summertime in the Pacific Northwest and there are many amazing getaway locations within a few hours’ drive of the Seattle area. One of them might even make you feel like you’ve traveled much farther – all the way to Bavaria – in less than three hours.
Leavenworth is often associated with Oktoberfest (delayed another year due to the pandemic) and its fabulous holiday traditions, but the area also offers an abundance of outdoor and cultural activities that are perfect for summer fun. Here are some spots where you’ll find the best spots for hiking, biking and enjoying the local arts scene. To make the most of your trip, insiders suggest visiting Monday through Thursday, for the best deals, less crowded attractions and more fun.
There’s no shortage of hikes in the Leavenworth area and you can count on the trails being in pristine condition thanks in part to the Icicle Fund, an organization that awards grants dedicated to keeping the area’s environment, arts and cultural history alive and well.
Colchuck Lake is a fairly steep nine-mile hike, so you’ll definitely work up a sweat. Luckily there’s the perfect reward when you reach the end: you can jump into the lake. “It’s glacier water so it’ll cool you off pretty quickly,” says Rodrigo Trujillo, banquet supervisor at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort. Trujillo, who grew up in Leavenworth, says this is his favorite summertime hike in the area.
If you’re an avid hiker looking for difficult trails, Alpine Lookout is a 10.5-mile hike thatoffers beautiful views of Nason Ridge, the Stuart Range and Dirtyface Peak. You can also hike Dirtyface Peak itself; just be sure to bring plenty of water because the trail is steep and dry. At 13 miles, Hatchery Creek is a full-day hike that typically takes about eight hours to complete. It involves a steady uphill climb and hikers are rewarded with views of the Wenatchee River and the mountains surrounding Leavenworth.
Icicle Ridge is only four miles round trip, but it’s steep so you’ll get in a good workout in a relatively short amount of time. Marissa Young, spa receptionist and gardener at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, says she enjoys hiking Icicle Ridge after she finishes her workday. “It’s a shorter hike but it’s pretty and at the end you get a fantastic view of the river and town,” says Young. “It’s the quickest hike around [Leavenworth] that gets you great views and is a good workout.”
There are also plenty of easier trails if you’re planning a family trip with young kids or you prefer more leisurely hikes. Icicle River Walking Trail is one mile and has plenty of good spots to settle down for a picnic, observe the wildlife, and simply enjoy nature. Icicle Gorge is a 3.5-mile loop trail along the banks of Icicle River so you can get some great views without the steep climbing required of the more difficult hikes. You can also find easy hikes if you head to Ski Hill Hiking Trails. “You can get another nice view of town,” says Young. She recommends taking short loops that offer great views of Leavenworth.
If you enjoy mountain biking, both Trujillo and Young recommend hitting the trail while you’re in Leavenworth. Trujillo frequently mountain bikes in the area and shares the insider scoop that Xanadu Trail is his favorite. This 6.5-mile loop is moderate difficulty level. Trujillo also highly recommends Rosie Boa and Freund Canyon, which are both difficult trails that reward bikers with stunning panoramic views. For an easier trail, Young recommends biking at Ski Hill.
You can also enjoy the beautiful great outdoors by doing leisurely activities. “Floating the river is one of the best things if you want to chill and enjoy the outdoors,” says Trujillo. Head to Blue Sky Outfitters or the Leavenworth Outdoor Center to rent a tube and then relax as you float along the banks of the Wenatchee River. You’ll be treated to breathtaking scenery throughout your entire trip. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife.
Even if you’re not staying at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, the two-acre garden is open to everyone and Young recommends it as a spot to spend some relaxing time outdoors. “You can grab food and drinks from O’Grady’s Pantry and enjoy the garden, take in the views,” says Young. The garden has shaded areas as well as a gazebo that offers a fantastic view of Sleeping Lady Mountain. Young notes that the garden is also a good spot for birdwatching.
Arts and culture
Leavenworth offers a great arts and cultural scene, with the ongoing support of the Icicle Fund. The Wenatchee Valley Saturday Farmers Market opens in mid May and occurs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each week local artists set up and sell their artwork. “It’s a great place to see local artists display their different crafts,” says Young. Starting in June, you can also visit the Leavenworth Community Farmer’s Market, held 4-8 p.m. Thursdays at 330 Evans Street.
Sleeping Lady embodies the natural beauty and history of Leavenworth and the Wenatchee Valley. Proceeds from the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort support a good cause through our owner, the Icicle Fund.