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The Route

Departing Coles Corner adjacent to the turnoff toward Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake (state Route 207), continue toward Bavarian Leavenworth winding your way through the magnificent Tumwater Canyon. During spring, melting snow streams off looming granite spires overhead, filling the Wenatchee River as it winds through the canyon. During fall and in particular, late September through mid-October, this canyon is awash with fall colors. Travelers and photographers from all around the world trek to this part of the Loop to snag views and photos of the amazing colors and their reflections in the seasonally lower and slower-moving water. Jolanda Lake, the still area of water just above the dam, is a wildly popular selfie spot. That said, there are many designated pullouts throughout this stretch so plan to spend extra time here.

Round the bend one last time and the roadway delivers you to Leavenworth, and the landscape shifts immediately to that of an alpine village — the scene is reminiscent of the small hamlets tucked into the highest peaks of Europe! The New York Times wrote “It’s like living in a snow globe.” "The Today Show" and Condé Nast Traveler described Leavenworth as a top destination for unique fall foliage. Leavenworth delivers high-voltage Bavarian memories year-round with everything from yodeling to schnitzel. It’s even home to one of the world’s largest nutcracker collections at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum! Intricately detailed Bavarian architecture houses an abundant and growing food scene, including international restaurants and handcrafted foods. Guests enjoy festive outdoor beer and brat gardens, wine-tasting rooms and hugely popular festivals such as Maifest, Oktoberfest, and Christmas Lighting. During winter months, the town is transformed into the Village of Lights from Thanksgiving through Valentine's weekend — over a half-million colored bulbs light up the snowy town! During warmer months, flowers flow throughout town and can be enjoyed while taking in the shops on foot or by horse-drawn carriage. Visitors have a lot of lodging options to choose from here, including family-friendly hotels, upscale resorts, rustic cabins, vacation homes, and bed-and-breakfast inns. Be sure to peruse the lodging options on our Lodging pages, and at leavenworth.org/lodging.

With more than 800 miles of trails, Leavenworth offers amazing outdoor recreation! Mountain bike Freund Canyon, day hike the Alpine Lakes Wilderness or float the Wenatchee River. There are numerous outfitters to choose from. Rock climbing and bouldering are also huge here. Rock and Ice Magazine named the Icicle climbing network in the neighboring Icicle River Valley among the top five in the nation. 

If hiking and climbing aren't your forté, take a horseback ride with Wild At Heart Horse Rides in Plain, instead! Arts and culture are also amazing in Leavenworth. Live music is often played from the gazebo on Front Street while Art in the Park can also be found on display. Take in eclectic live music, film and a colorful array of events at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts located next to award-winning, LEED-certified Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, home to expansive outdoor art installations and a stunning organic garden. 

Leavenworth is also home to a fast-growing wine scene. Several wine tasting rooms can be found on Front Street and many restaurants here stock and serve a wealth of locally sourced wines as well. If you want to enjoy a truly special wine-tasting experience, head east on Highway 2 toward Silvara Cellars. Look for their sign on the right-hand side of the highway as you follow the Wenatchee River. The winery is renowned for its small-batch, handcrafted wines. The owner is often on-site and the vibe is fun and casual. Wine makes a perfect souvenir so pick up a case or two and treat yourself!

Continue on to the small town of Cashmere and you’ll find a community with a whole lot of heart. Cashmere can only be described as all-American. The town takes its high school sports seriously, the locals know their history and their neighbors, and they love to welcome visitors! Cashmere’s Cottage Avenue Historic District features early 1900s-era Craftsman bungalow homes lined with picket fences and mature trees. Learn about the region’s founding days at the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village. The kids will love the treasure hunt and getting to peer through vintage pioneer cottages! Pay tribute to all who lost their lives and those who responded at the 9/11 Spirit of America Memorial. And finally, indulge your sweet tooth at the Aplets & Cotlets Candy Factory Tour. From slow-cooking their candies in small batches to lovingly packing each tasty morsel by hand, you’ll see and sample the whole process here. When you’re done, hop over to their country store and pick up goodies for the road - and the next region of the Loop -- Wenatchee and the Columbia River!

Leavenworth and Cascade Foothills Visitor Services

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The Wenatchi-P’squosa, Yakama and Kittitas tribes traveled seasonally here for fishing, gathering and hunting. Many descendants of these tribes are now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. 

The 1800s brought fur trappers and explorers followed by prospectors, miners and settlers. A small townsite at the mouth of Tumwater Canyon was originally settled in the 1890s and incorporated in 1906 by Captain Charles Leavenworth. The town boomed with the Great Northern Pacific Railway but suffered when the rail line and rail yard were relocated to Wenatchee in the 1920s. That, combined with the Great Depression, delivered a swift blow to the local economy. Local business leaders put their heads together in the 1960s and developed the concept of the Bavarian-themed village, and the Leavenworth we know today was reborn.

Leavenworth & Cascade Foothills Adventures
Hiking
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Fish On!
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The Arts
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Amazing Food
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Climb On!
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Alpine Lakes Wilderness
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Festivals
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EV Charging Stations
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Winter
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Side Trip: Lake Wenatchee/Plain Loop
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2019 Autumn Leaf Festival and Parade
Leavenworth Oktoberfest
Leavenworth Christmas Lighting 2019
Tea and Tour
Identifying Raptors on the Cascade Loop
It’s a bird .. it’s a plane … what exactly is that in the sky? As you travel around the Cascade Loop you will likely see a variety of wildlife, including some very large birds that live in our region. This article will help you to accurately identify some of the most common of our raptors: osprey, bald and golden eagles, red-tail hawks and turkey vultures. The time of year you travel will affect your chances of seeing some of these incredible birds. Read More >>>>
Three Delightful Wagons Straight Out of a Fairyland--Now on Whidbey Island!
A bit of European history has found its way onto Whidbey Island.  And, if the woman responsible for bringing them here has her way, you’ll soon be able to see them.  But first, Carol Kildow has the job of restoring them to their original splendor.Two belonged to the nomadic Romani people of England, while the third was commissioned by the Church of England. She discovered them in Wales and lived in one for two years as a student.“I fell in love with the lifestyle. I fell in love with the… Read More >>>>
My 3 thrilling Days in Wenatchee
Check out this sample of how one traveler spent 3 days in Wenatchee-- complete with food and activity recommendations! Read More >>>>
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