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On The Loop: Leavenworth & Cascade Foothills

Departing Coles Corner adjacent to the turnoff toward Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake (Highway 207), continue toward Bavarian Leavenworth 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 autumn 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. The landscape shifts immediately to that of an alpine village — the scene is reminiscent of the small village 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. Leavenworth is home to a fast-growing wine and cider 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. Guests enjoy festive outdoor beer-and-bratwurst 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, enjoy flowers throughout town while you take in the shops on foot or 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. 

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! Another idea for outdoor fun while in Plain, head up to Leavenworth Ziplines for a little adrenaline and a lot of fun! 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.

Looking for a truly unique experience for the whole family? Make your way to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. Meet, feed and learn about these endangered Woodland Caribou year-round. The farm is USDA-certified and is a member of ROBA (Reindeer Owners & Breeders Association of America). The property is also an excellent place for a picnic stop during warmer months after your visit!

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 peering 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!

Bavarian Village of Leavenworth

Leavenworth and Cascade Foothills Visitor Services

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Heritage & History

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.

Your Next Adventure Plans

Wildlife & Birding
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Hiking
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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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Side Trip: Lake Wenatchee/Plain Loop
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EV Charging Stations
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Winter
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Upcoming Events In Leavenworth

Filmed on the Cascade Loop
When you are surrounded with the kind of beauty we have on the Cascade Loop, its not surprising that movie crews have been coming to the area for years to film movies. Read More >>>>
Meet the Locals: Steven & Michelle (also their close friend, Wine)
We’ve known Michelle and Steven for a few years and know that one of the things that they really enjoy together, like many Cascade Loop travelers, is our state’s amazing local wines. Did you know that Washington State is home to over 1,000 wineries and over 60,000 acres of wine grapes? AND the Cascade Loop is home to all manner of wineries with different varietals being grown in the various regions of the Loop. It makes sense that since our byway landscape, topography and climate vary wildly from region to… Read More >>>>
Salmon Viewing Locations on the Loop
Fall marks the season when Salmon can be seen in the waterways along the Cascade Loop. Check this list for some of our favorites! Read More >>>>
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