Visiting Leavenworth in the Summer
Leavenworth is one of the top destinations in Washington for outdoor enthusiasts and those who love scenic, picturesque mountain towns. While this year will be different due to social distancing and safety concerns, the many outdoor activities in the area are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the summer.
One of the most popular things to do while in Leavenworth is to go for a hike! The town is surrounded by the beautiful Cascade Mountains and offers convenient and quick access to some of the most beautiful hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Check out our staff recommendations by category below.
These trails let hikers of all ages and abilities experience the natural wonder of the Upper Valley. They’re also great for bringing along your four-legged family members as each of these trails allows dogs on leash.
Blackbird Island Trails
Located only three blocks away from Front Street, these waterfront trails are easily accessible from our downtown Leavenworth vacation rentals. Enjoy a pristine riverfront atmosphere and a mostly flat elevation profile that allows for a leisurely pace. Visit during the early morning or evening for fewer people and an increased likelihood of spotting wildlife. If you cross both bridges and do the whole loop, expect to cover about 2 miles.
Tumwater Pipeline Trail
The trailhead for this 2.5-mile round trip hike is just two miles west of town along Highway 2. Cross a repurposed pipeline bridge over impressive rapids and wander upstream along the scenic Wenatchee River. This is a great stop between town and the Lake Wenatchee area and is easy to squeeze into even a busy day.
Icicle Gorge Nature Loop
Drive deep into the mountains about 3 miles past the end of the pavement on Icicle Road to find the parking area for this trail. The loop is approximately 4 miles and meanders up and down (no significant elevation gain) on each side of Icicle Creek through a surprising variety of habitats. Take a moment to take in the quiet so far from the hustle and bustle of town and on a hot, summer day, appreciate the cooler air.
Mountaintop Views of Leavenworth
One of our guests’ favorite things to do is go on a hike with a great view of the town from the summit! While hiking up a mountain can be difficult, it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends on vacation.
Icicle Ridge Trail – Moderate
This is one of Leavenworth’s most popular trails that offers a stunning view of the town and the Wenatchee River. Be aware that the trail is often crowded due to its popularity, so we recommend only doing this hike during the week and going early in the morning to avoid the busiest time of the day. Roundtrip length is 5.5 miles and the hike difficulty is moderate. Looking for a more difficult and less busy alternative? We recommend the Fourth of July Creek trail that is accessible further down the road.
Sauer’s Mountain – Moderate
Named after the local family that generously provides their privately owned land for the start of the trail, this path takes you up and along a ridge that boasts views as far as Glacier Peak. Round trip is about 6 miles and while this is a popular excursion for families with older children it is a climb that requires a bit more exertion than other options close to town.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness
If you’re an experienced hiker and want to discover some of the best views and mountain scenery that the Leavenworth area has to offer, look no further than the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. There are many trails and alpine lakes to explore in this area, but we’ve narrowed it down to one hike that’s a great place to start.
Colchuck Lake – Difficult
Both beautiful and challenging, the hike to Colchuck Lake is one of the most scenic hikes in the central Cascade mountains. The deep turquoise-blue water and jagged mountain spires will leave you breathless and in awe. If you choose to extend your hike, many guests also visit the other nearby lakes including Stuart Lake and Isolation Lake. There is a $5 parking fee unless you have a NW Forest Pass, so make sure to bring cash and pay at the trailhead.
Leavenworth Tubing and Rafting
The scenic Wenatchee River runs right through town and offers both tubing and rafting for guests. River activities typically begin in late June or early July, depending on the river level. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day of tubing or an exciting rafting trip, make sure to add a river day to your vacation itinerary. Check out the local outfitters and start planning your day on the river!
Did you know Leavenworth is one of the top tubing destinations in the United States? The ultimate relaxing thing to do on a hot summer day, tubing down the Wenatchee River or Icicle River is a must-do for a summer vacation to Leavenworth! Local outfitters provide tubes, transportation, lifevests, coolers, and more so that you can focus on enjoying the float down the river. This part of the river near downtown Leavenworth is gentle, easy to float down, and offers access to sandy beaches along the way.
If you’re looking for more adventure and excitement than tubing, then a rafting trip is for you! Local companies specialize in guided trips down the Wenatchee River and Icicle River. You can choose what type of trip you want, anything from relaxed trips down class I and II rapids, all the way to class III and IV! Rafting is an excellent way to spend time with the family or group of friends while surrounded by the stunning river views.
Take a Scenic Drive
The Central Cascade Mountains offer incredible scenery that makes for a beautiful drive. We highly recommend the relatively quick drive to Blewett Pass and exploring the many gravel forest service roads nearby.
Only a half-hour drive from Leavenworth, Blewett pass is one of the most scenic drives in the state. You’ll be able to see stunning valleys, green forests, and even Mt. Rainier in the distance once you get to the top! There is also a pull-off area with parking at the top of the pass that provides access to the Swauk Forest Discovery Trail. Since this is a relatively quick trip, it makes for a great morning or afternoon drive, leaving you with plenty of time for other activities.
Wenatchee National Forest
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that surrounds Leavenworth is perfect for taking a scenic drive or exploring the many gravel roads in the area. In addition to the scenic drive around Lake Wenatchee, there also many other picturesque and secluded roads in the area. For more information, we recommend visiting the Forest Service website for up to date details and trip planning information.
During your visit to Leavenworth, remember not to gather in large groups, always maintain a 6-foot distance from others, and wear a mask while in grocery stores or other public places. If you haven’t found a place to stay, our vacation rentals offer a wide selection of homes perfect for social distancing.
We look forward to welcoming you to Leavenworth and hope you are able to enjoy the great outdoors while you are here!