• Ine Vandenwyngaert

5 reasons why you should visit Leavenworth, WA

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Located 188 km (117 miles) east of Seattle, Leavenworth is a charming village in the Cascade Mountains at the center of Washington State. With its Bavarian-themed architecture, it feels like you've been transported to Germany. Add to that the breathtaking scenery as the backdrop, consisting of majestic mountains, glacial lakes and rivers, and dozens of wineries. It is hard to not fall in love with this idyllic setting. Leavenworth is a popular weekend getaway for Seattlites and is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Washington State. If you are not convinced yet, here are 5 good reasons why you should consider visiting Leavenworth!

Downtown Leavenworth

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1. Leavenworth is THE Bavarian village in Washington

Leavenworth sets an unforgettable European-style atmosphere that is enriched by hosting German celebrations and festivals such as Maifest, the Autumn Leaf Festival, and of course Oktoberfest. The Alpine-style architecture, restaurants serving German beer and 'Bratwurst' and 'Pretzels', provide Leavenworth's guests with a uniquely German experience.

However, this hasn't always been the case. About a century ago, this little town was a thriving logging community connected by the railroad. When the railroad was forced to re-route their track due to avalanches and other natural disasters, the village quickly started to lose steam. To battle economic deprivation, visionaries who lived in the town came up with a brilliant idea: adopt the Bavarian style to draw tourism to the area. And guess what? ...It worked! Soon after the architecture, building signs and street names began to imitate the German-style, the community started to revive and more visitors started flooding in. Today, the town is largely dependent on tourism while continually growing and expanding its possibilities!

Downtown Leavenworth

2. Leavenworth is the Northwest's hottest wine region

The Leavenworth Valley Wine Country has an upcoming, vibrant wine scene. The mild and dry climate gives the wines a unique depth and complexity that is rarely found in young wine regions. Home to dozens of wineries hosting wine tasting rooms, Leavenworth is becoming an attractive destination to the wine aficionados who want to taste the fruits and flavors of the region. You can take a winery tour or just enjoy the dramatic and beautiful vineyard landscapes around! Popular tasting rooms include the Icicle Ridge Winery, Eagle Creek Winery, and Silvara Vineyards.

Leavenworth wine region

3. Leavenworth is an All-Year-Round Destination

With four distinct seasons being suitable for different outdoor activities and festivities, Leavenworth receives tourists all-year-round.

Leavenworth in winter

During the winter and early spring season there is inevitable snow, which is ideal for various winter sports activities in the area. Visitors can ski or snowboard in the nearby Steven’s Pass area, or simply go snowshoeing and engage in other snowy activities around Leavenworth itself. There is also the winter’s incredibly popular Christmas-lighting ceremonies, that turn Leavenworth into an undeniably magical winter town.

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Leavenworth in spring

When the snow finally starts to melt around late April or early May, blankets of wildflowers start to cover the mountainsides. This makes spring an enjoyable time for hiking and mountain biking. However, some areas are not snow-free until June! For example, the well-known Enchantments trail is only accessible from mid-June. We hiked up to Colchuck Lake at the end of May and the lake was still partly frozen!

Leavenworth in summer

That being said, the summer in Leavenworth is the perfect time to go camping and do multiple-day hiking in the surrounding mountains. The endless sunshine and high temperature also encourage paddle boarding or tubing in the calm waters of Icicle Creek, or white-water rafting for the adventurous souls.

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Poster Leavenworth, Washington

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Leavenworth in fall

When the fall finally comes around, the leaves become colorful, the air crisp, and the famous Oktoberfest brings plenty of beer and joy! Oktoberfest is usually celebrated across 3 weekends in October. With four entertainment venues, live music, traditional food, and delicious beer, this is a highlight in Washington State and the West Coast!

Spring season with wildflowers - Lake Chelan

4. Leavenworth is an outdoor heaven

Located in the midst of the Cascade Mountain Range, Leavenworth is a jewel for outdoor recreation. The area provides easy access to outstanding skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, boating, fishing, white-water rafting, and mountain biking opportunities. Adventure-seekers are especially attracted to the surrounding wild glacial waters, three sublime ski passes, and the hundreds of miles of (often challenging) hiking and biking trails that weave through the forest, mountains, and pass gorgeous emerald lakes. The Enchantments is probably the most popular hike and can be done in one day. For multiple-day hikes, you'll often have to obtain an area pass through a lottery that allows you to camp.

Breathtaking Colchuck Lake (part of the Enchantments)

Mountain Goat at Colchuck Lake

5. Leavenworth offers spectacular mountain scenery

It cannot be emphasized enough how spectacular Leavenworth's surrounding scenery is. Driving to and around Leavenworth is a wonderful experience. The scenic Cascades Loop is a perfect opportunity to explore the natural wonders by car. The roads take you through the North Cascade Mountains along hundreds of waterfalls, the rugged Wenatchee river, miles of vineyards, peaceful river valleys, and pristine lakes. Make sure to stop at Lake Chelan, a gorgeous emerald lake outside of Leavenworth. The town itself is cute and the waters are inviting for a swim on a hot summer day.

Lake Chelan
Surrounding hills - Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan overlooking the valley

Check out our trip to Leavenworth to have an idea of what to expect.

Find more information about things to do and where to stay in Leavenworth here:

Need more travel inspiration? Check out our other destinations and articles about the US:

Hi! We are Ine & Zac. An international travel couple from Belgium and the US. We created World Wild Hearts to inspire life-changing travel experiences like we've had. Use these tips, stories, and guides to inspire your next adventure of a lifetime!

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