If your interests tend more toward hiking than to Hummel figurines, you'll find plenty to do around Leavenworth. The town is on the valley floor at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and Icicle Creek, and rising all around are the steep, forested mountainsides of the Stuart Range and Entiat Mountains. Spring through fall, there is rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and, in winter, there is downhill and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Just 25 miles north of town is Lake Wenatchee, a year-round recreation area with hiking and cross-country ski trails, horseback riding, canoe and kayak rentals, windsurfing, swimming, fishing, mountain biking, camping, and snowmobiling. Lake Wenatchee State Park (tel. 509/763-3101) is the center of recreational activity.
Icicle Creek, which runs through Leavenworth, has a short summer salmon season for fish headed upstream to the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery. Lake Wenatchee is 5 miles long, the area's biggest lake, and it holds kokanee, as well as Dolly Varden and rainbows. To fish for kokanee, you'll need a boat. Several of the rivers and streams in the Leavenworth area are open to fly-fishing only.
Golfers can play 18 holes at the Leavenworth Golf Club, 9101 Icicle Rd. (tel. 509/548-7267; www.leavenworthgolf.com), which charges $26 to $35 for a round of golf and is located on the outskirts of town, or north of Leavenworth near Lake Wenatchee at Kahler Glen Golf Course, 20700 Clubhouse Dr. (tel. 800/440-2994 or 509/763-4025; www.kahlerglen.com), which charges $27 to $38. However, the Highlander Golf Club, 2920 Eighth St. SE, East Wenatchee (tel. 509/884-4653; www.highlandergolfclub.com), with its Scottish links styling and awesome big-sky views, is the hottest course in the region. Greens fees range from $54 to $60. If you want to practice your putting, the Enzian Falls Championship Putting Course (tel. 509/548-5269 or 800/223-8511), located across from the Enzian Inn, is a beautiful, bent-grass 18-hole putting course (not a tacky miniature golf course).
Right in town, you'll find a pleasant paved walking path in Waterfront Park. Out at the fish hatchery on Icicle Road, there is also a mile-long interpretive trail with information on the hatchery. In winter, both of these areas have cross-country ski trails. Past the fish hatchery, up Icicle Canyon Road about 15 miles, you'll find the Icicle Gorge River Trail, an easy 3.5-mile loop trail along the banks of beautiful Icicle Creek. This is the prettiest easy hike in the area. Don't miss it. The trailhead is just past the Chatter Creek Ranger Station. In Tumwater Canyon, the narrow gorge that serves as a gateway to Leavenworth as you approach from the west, there is an easy hiking trail along the Wenatchee River banks. The trail starts out by crossing the river on an old pipeline. The trailhead is 1.5 miles outside of town.
Just outside Leavenworth, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, lies some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the state, and the trails that lead into this wilderness are among the most popular. They're so popular that backpackers must reserve camping permits months in advance to stay overnight in such heavily visited areas as the Enchantment Lakes basin. Most trails are best suited for overnight backpacking trips as they climb steeply and steadily for many miles before reaching the more scenic areas. For information on trails in Wenatchee National Forest, contact the Leavenworth office of the Wenatchee River Ranger District, 600 Sherbourne St., Leavenworth, WA 98826 (tel. 509/548-6977; www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee). Reservations for backpacking permits are accepted starting March 1; to apply, call the ranger station or visit its website. Permits go fast, so do apply early.
If you're on your way to Leavenworth from the west side of the Cascades and are driving over Stevens Pass, you might want to get out and stretch your legs on the easy Iron Goat Trail. This newly constructed trail follows the route of a railroad line that once followed much the same route as today's U.S. 2. An interpretive center, complete with old rail cars, is at milepost 58.3 on U.S. 2 (10 miles east of Skykomish). From here, several hikes of different lengths are possible.
If you'd like to go horseback riding, contact Eagle Creek Ranch (tel. 800/221-7433 or 509/548-7798; www.eaglecreek.ws), which charges $37 for a 1 hour ride and $50 for a 1 3/4-hour ride. Wagon rides are also available and cost $15 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 3 to 12. Icicle Outfitters & Guides (tel. 800/497-3912 or 509/669-1518 in Leavenworth or 509/763-3647 at Lake Wenatchee; www.icicleoutfitters.com), offers a similar variety of rides, with stables at Lake Wenatchee State Park and in Leavenworth on Icicle Road near the fish hatchery. A 1 3/4-hour ride will cost you $64.
From easy rides on meandering dirt roads to grueling climbs up mountaintops with spectacular views, the Leavenworth area has some of the best mountain-biking routes in the state. Mountain bikes can be rented at Der Sportsmann, 837 Front St. (tel. 800/548-4145 or 509/548-5623; www.dersportsmann.com), and Arlberg Sports, 1207 Front St. (tel. 509/548-5615; www.arlbergsports.com). Expect to pay $40 to $90 per day for a mountain bike. Inquire at either of these shops about ride recommendations.
Two miles west of Cashmere on U.S. 2, you'll find Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, Washington's only state park created exclusively for rock climbing. The Snow Creek Wall, about a mile up the trail to the Enchantment Lakes area, is another great climbing spot. The trail head is located about 4 miles up Icicle Creek Road. Over on the west side of Stevens Pass, the Index Town Walls outside the tiny community of Index are the area's other great climbing site.
Whitewater Rafting & Tubing
The Wenatchee River flows right through Leavenworth and, just downstream from town, becomes one of the best whitewater-rafting rivers in the state. Rafting season runs from April to July. If you're interested, contact Osprey Rafting Co. (tel. 888/548-6850 or 509/548-6800; www.ospreyrafting.com), or River Riders (tel. 509/548-4575; www.riverrider.com). A half-day trip on the Wenatchee costs about $55 per person, and a full day is $75 to $90.
When there isn't enough water for rafting, a couple of local companies rent big inner tubes and will shuttle you to or from the river. Leavenworth Outdoor Center, 321 Ninth St., Suite 101 (tel. 509/548-8823; www.tubeleavenworth.com) charges $25 while River Riders, 10860 U.S. 2 (tel. 509/668-RAFT; www.riverrider.com), charges $20. This latter company is located a couple of miles east of town. Either way, you get your money's worth and have loads of fun. Keep an eye out for trout in the river.
Some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding in the state is available 40 miles west of Leavenworth at Stevens Pass (tel. 206/812-4510 for general information, or 206/634-1645 for snow conditions; www.stevenspass.com). Adult all-day lift tickets are $79 to $112 and night skiing is $46. There are plenty of intermediate and advanced runs, but not many beginner runs.
Head down the valley from Leavenworth and then up into the hills outside Wenatchee, and you'll find Mission Ridge ski area (tel. 509/663-3200 for snow reports, or 509/663-6543; www.missionridge.com), known for its powder snow (a rarity in the Cascades) and sunny weather. Adult lift ticket prices are $75.
Cross-country skiers can find plenty of groomed trails in the area. Stevens Pass Nordic Center (tel. 206/812-4510; www.stevenspass.com) has mostly intermediate- and expert-level trails, generally open Thursday to Sunday and on holidays. A trail pass costs $17. The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club (tel. 509/548-5477; www.skileavenworth.com) maintains 15 miles of groomed trails (including 3 miles of lighted trails for night skiing) at several locations around Leavenworth. A trail pass runs $10. This ski club also operates the beginner-level Leavenworth Ski Hill, a mile outside of town. Although small, this little ski hill does have a ski-jumping facility.
Skis can be rented at Der Sportsmann, 837 Front St. (tel. 800/548-4145 or 509/548-5623; www.dersportsmann.com), which charges $14 to $22 per day for cross-country skis. Snowshoes ($12 per day) can also be rented.
If you'd rather experience the snow from a horse-drawn sleigh, you can do that, too. Sleigh rides are offered by Red-Tail Canyon Farm, 11780 Freund Canyon Rd., Leavenworth (tel. 800/678-4512 or 509/548-4512; www.redtailcanyonfarm.com); and Eagle Creek Ranch, Eagle Creek Road (tel. 800/221-7433 or 509/548-7798; www.eaglecreek.ws). Rides cost about $20 for adults, and $10 for children.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.