If you have ever driven on Highway 12 in the southeast section of the North Cascades in Washington, you’ll notice a quaint Bavarian-style village with a backdrop similar to the Alps. In the 1960s, the small town of Leavenworth revamped its buildings to model the look of German mountain cities to boost their economy. Leavenworth is now a four-season destination center with Oktoberfest and the Christmas Lighting Festival being its two top attractions. The hot summers are ideal for floating the Wenatchee River and in fall colors offer vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors from the local foliage.
Leavenworth is surrounded by foothills of the North Cascades and the Enchantments to the South. It offers plenty of recreation activities. The Leavenworth Ski Hill is just two miles from downtown and provides an alpine ski area with two rope tows, a ski jumping hill, a tubing and sledding hill, plus 26 KMs of Nordic trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking. The trails are great for mountain biking and hiking in the spring and summer. The Ski Hill Lodge is open all year round.
The Enchantments are a short drive southwest of Leavenworth and is one of the most popular destinations in Washington for trail runners and hikers alike. The 18-mile route from the Stuart Lake Trailhead to Snow Lakes Trailhead is highlighted by mountain goats, Colchuck Lake, Aasgard Pass, and the pristine lakes in the Core Enchantments section.
Leavenworth Ski Hill has several miles of mountain bike trails offering views of the North Cascades and the vacation homes surrounding Leavenworth.
Icicle Ridge is a five-mile round out and back with 12oo’ of ascent that offers views of the Leavenworth, the Tumwater Ridge, and the Wenatchee River. Icicle Ridge continues for over 20 miles into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The Chiwaukum Range is just a short trip north of Leavenworth. These mountains are a great way to get away from the crowded trails and experience waterfalls, meadows, creeks, and clear alpine lakes. The UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge created a great 29-mile route with over 8k of ascent to experience the area called Big Jim and the Chiwaukum that starts at Hatchery Creek TH on FS Rd 7905 and ends at Chiwaukum TH off Hwy 2.
Trail Running Groups
Argonaut Espresso Bar is a walkup espresso and breakfast bar featuring coffee from Blue Star Coffee Roasters
J5 Coffee has an espresso bar right on Front Street in downtown Leavenworth that takes orders via apps on iPhone or Android phones.
If you love beer, Icicle Brewing is a must when visiting Leavenworth. Sample one of ten beers made at the brewery on the outside deck for excellent people viewing on a nice day, or stay cozy in the tasting room during the winter season.
Blewett Brewing is another brewery in downtown Leavenworth. Stop in for a small-batch beer and pizza.
The best way to experience the Bavarian culture is a trip to Stein, a beer hall with 55 beers and ciders on tap. The food menu features rotisserie chicken, ribs, and brisket. It’s also one of the few places in town that serve vegan and vegetarian food.