Leavenworth: Washington's backyard Bavaria

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 4-10, 1996
Leavenworth: Washington's backyard Bavaria
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Leavenworth: Washington's backyard Bavaria
Question: I will be traveling to the Seattle area soon with friends for a four-day weekend. I would like to locate a cabin or lodge in a scenic area near Seattle or Vancouver where we could enjoy the outdoors. Any suggestions?

(No name given)
[email protected]

Ersatz Bavariana sugarcoats Washington's outdoor sports mecca
Adventure Adviser: One particularly worthy spot is Leavenworth, Washington, a hiking, mountain biking, and climbing mecca that's only about 100 miles east of Seattle. And, considering that it's surrounded on all sides by the 6,000- to 9,000-foot peaks of the Wenatchee National Forest, the scenery ain't bad either.

Base yourself at the All Seasons River Inn, one mile west of town on the banks of the Wenatchee, where a double room will run you about $90 per night (509-548-1425). From there, try an easy five-mile day hike on the Icicle Ridge Trail, which starts one mile southwest of town on Forest Road 7600 and takes you to the Icicle Ridge Lookout for a sweeping view of the cascading creeks that crisscross the mountainsides.

If you've got your harness and ropes, head out to Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, ten miles east of town on U.S. 2. The park has more than a dozen routes, from the Gully, a beginner-friendly 5.0, to White Lightning, a 5.11 rock-jock haunt on the north side of the park. Leavenworth's fount of climbing wisdom and gear is Der Sportsman (509-548-5623).

For mountain biking, try the 14-mile loop from Icicle Ridge Trail to Fourth of July Creek Trail, which ends back on Forest Road 7600, but beware: pedaling in the Wenatchee is not for the faint of quad. If you're feeling extra-ambitious (read: bordering on lunatic), take the Devil's Gulch-Mission Ridge loop, 20 miles that hit you with a 3,000-foot climb near the halfway point. It is known, deservedly, as the area's toughest ride. To get there, take U.S. 2 southeast 12 miles to Cashmere, then head south on Mission Creek Road to Forest Road 7100; rent bikes at either Der Sportsman or Leavenworth Sports Center (509-548-7864). After a long day on the trail, you'd be wise to stop by the Leavenworth Brewery (509-548-4545), where you can Bavarianize your aching body with any of the seven varieties of beer brewed on the premises.

From Seattle, take I-5 north 25 miles to U.S. 2 and then head east for 100 miles. Make your first stop the Leavenworth Ranger Station (509-782-1413), where you can pick up a Forest Service map, guides to hiking and biking trails, and a backcountry camping permit if you need one. And, before you go, check out "Backyard Bavaria" in the Destinations section of our July 1994 issue.

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