Cycle the Cascades

Leavenworth, Washington

Sep 12, 2013
Outside Magazine
Oktoberfest in another part of the world

Oktoberfest in another part of the world    Photo: csp via Shutterstock

Set inside the wide Wentachee River valley in the Cascade Range, Leavenworth sports alpine views in every direction. Long, gradual climbs and curvy descents along the rivers are fenced by evergreens trimmed with turning maple, alder, and cottonwood. Or, bust a lung on the 2,200-foot climb up Highway 2 to Stephens Pass, hard enough you likely won’t notice much besides your soaring heart rate. Eurosports in Leavenworth is the epicenter of a friendly roadie culture and owner Eric Redrup hosts a trove of ride beta on his website.

WHEN TO GO: October, though Washington is known for its long foliage season so you might get lucky into November.

ROUTE: The moderate, 43-mile Chumstick-Chiwawa loop spins north out of Leavenworth on the Chumstick Highway, over Beaver Pass, and down to the shores of Lake Wenatchee via the Chiwawa Loop Road.

PROST: Bavarian-themed Leavenworth is basically one big beer garden, but the cycling crowd tends to congregate at Icicle Brewing Company’s tasting room to nosh on the Meat and Cheese Plate and quaff their brews. Ride hard enough and you’ve earned a couple of the Priebe Porters. On the weekends between October 4 and 19 the town celebrates Oktoberfest. Motivation to start early and finish by noon on Saturday comes courtesy of the town’s ceremonial 1 P.M. keg tapping.