Two thousand. That’s the population of this Bavarian-themed village hiding in the Cascades, though you’d never know it. Festivals seem to be more common than not, authentic German fare — ice cold beer, fresh sausages, and giant pretzels — fills plates on every patio, and Front Street buzzes with people morning, noon, and night. Factor in the surrounding mountains, rivers, and lakes, and you’ve got some serious eye candy. Instagram gold.

Which is why we can’t stop looking. Willkommen, as they say, to Leavenworth.


Aerial view of Leavenworth

Leavenworth sits at the eastern slope of the Cascades, an area once covered by glaciers. Living conditions have changed a bit over the past 15,000 years.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Paddling the Icicle River

The Icicle is one of the choice local spots for rafters, kayakers, and canoers. It winds from Josephine Lake (right by the Pacific Crest Trail) all the way to Leavenworth—and yes, it looks this good the entire way.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Spring in Leavenworth Valley

There are 700 (700!) miles of hiking trails around Leavenworth, and most of them lead to views like this, at least come spring. Plenty will make you work for it, but the Icicle Ridge Trail (4 miles round trip) will get you awesome views of the valley after only a half-mile of effort.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


The Leavenworth Pear

With this area being one of the largest growers of organic pears in the country—and home to a town that loves a good celebration—it's fitting that April is pear month in Leavenworth. Taste Leavenworth, a culinary crawl through local shops and restaurants, takes place on the first weekend of the month. And, yes, all participants put their own fantastic spin on the humble pear.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Maifest horns

You've heard of Oktoberfest, but Maifest is just as important around here—it's been a German tradition for what seems like forever, and has been celebrated in Leavenworth since 1971. If you thought the city seemed Bavarian every other day of the year, check it out May 11-13 (the horn section will let you know you're in the right place).
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Mountain biking in spring

In what may come as a surprise to no one, the mountain biking here is awesome, too. Devil's Gulch and Freund Canyon are two of the best stretches of singletrack around, offering views like this for those willing to put in the pedaling.


Climbing Leavenworth

Within even a 15-minute radius from town, the climbs can barely be counted. Snow Creek Wall is one of the more famous spots; Castle Rock, Midnight Rock, Careno Crag, and Givler’s Dome frequently make lists, too.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce



Because winter is no reason not to have a festival. Come here on MLK Jr. weekend, and you'll see Leavenworth light up in half a million lights and plenty of fireworks (though not quite half a million) for Icefest. The calendar is full of activities, and if you've never "smooshed" before, it's about time that changed.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Leavenworth in Winter

Yes, even diehard summer lovers could be converted with winters like these.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Skiing Stevens Pass

460 inches of snow each year give Stevens Pass—just west of Leavenworth on US-2—no choice but to be a major ski destination. There's trails for all skill levels, 1,800 vertical feet to cover, and night skiing, too.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Cross-country skiing outside Leavenworth

You can cross-country ski just a few blocks from downtown—that's the level of outdoorsy we're talking about. Waterfront Park has a short trail that follows the river from town; excellent longer trail options include the 8km Icicle River Trail, the 7km groomed course at the Ski Hill Trails (most of which is lit at night!), and the 22km system at the Plain Valley Nordic Ski Trails. For more, hit up Lake Wenatchee State Park and Kahler Glen.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Leavenworth at Christmastime

They actually design snow globes from images of Leavenworth during the holidays.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


Cascade Mountains from town

When we said Leavenworth was in the mountains, we meant it.


Maifest Dancers

Dancing around the Maipole is believed to be a source of good luck. Worth a shot, right?


Lake Wenatchee in summer

Five miles long and 244 feet at its deepest, Lake Wenatchee is a very, very welcome glacial remnant just north of town, framed by mountains on almost all sides. You can also hike and ride horses and mules here, in addition to the laundry list of experiences to be had on the water.


Kayaking down the Wenatchee

Class II, III, and IV rapids can be found on the Wenatchee River—choose the section that fits your skill level. And if that's not intense enough for you, there are Class V+ rapids on Icicle Creek in Icicle Canyon.
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce


A Maifest Hello

Or guten Tag, that is. See you in May!
Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce