Things to do in Leavenworth
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23 BEST Things To Do in Leavenworth, WA

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From hiking to watersports to just walking around the adorable town, there are tons of things to do in Leavenworth!

This Bavarian-style settlement is located in an envious position in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, meaning that there are so many activities to do here! 

We’ve created a list of the best Leavenworth adventures. Whether you want to enjoy birdwatching, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, or drinking and eating, read on for the best things to do in Leavenworth! 

23 Things To Do in Leavenworth

Map of things to do in Leavenworth.
Click the image to view the clickable map of things to do in Leavenworth.

Check out our guides to Leavenworth:

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You need some wheels! It’s nearly impossible to get around the USA and check out the best adventures without a car! Here are our top recommendations…

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If you don’t have your own, renting a car is your best bet!

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🚐 Rent a home on wheels

For the more adventurous, rent a van or RV and ditch the hotel.

👉 Find The Best Van For Your Trip

1. Take a Stroll Around Waterfront Park & Blackbird Island

Waterfront Park and Blackbird Island are ideal places for hiking, but there’s so much more to do here! You can take the trail, which leads you to birdwatching lookouts, rafting opportunities, places to paddle, and tiny beaches. 

Nina walking along a trail in Waterfront Park surrounded by trees and distant mountains near Leavenworth.
Walking around Waterfront Park is one of the most laid-back things to do near Leavenworth. We love it!

The actual loop hiking trail is just under 2 miles and is relatively easy, perfect for all skill levels and families. Dogs on leashes are also welcome. 

This is one of the most accessible places to visit in Leavenworth because it is within walking distance of the town. There is also plenty of parking.

2. Hit the Trails

If you are up for a true hike, there are tons of epic trails around Leavenworth. Here are a few favorites, but keep in mind that there are a lot more!

Old Pipeline Bed Trail

Distance: 2.4 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 85 feet

The Old Pipeline Bed Trail is a quick and easy hike that’s not too far from Leavenworth – perfect if you want to do something one day but don’t have much time! 

Nina on an old rusty steel bridge along the Old Pipeline Bed hike in Washington.
Along the Old Pipeline Bed Trail in Leavenworth

The trail follows the Wenatchee River, and features a cool bridge, a “beach” (the water is freezing, beware), and gorgeous fall colors if you’re here at the right time.

Icicle Ridge Trail

Distance: 4.8 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 1,758 ft

Icicle Ridge Trail is a moderately difficult out-and-back trail that runs from near Icicle Road to a beautiful ridge where you can take epic views of the surrounding area. You’ll have to work for the views—this is a pretty steep hike!

View from the Icicle Ridge hike overlooking trees and snow-capped mountains near Leavenworth.
Add a hike up Icicle Ridge to your list of things to do in Leavenworth.

Lake Valhalla and Mount McCausland Trail

Distance: 7.9 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 1,771 feet

The Lake Valhalla and Mount McCausland Trail is one of the best in the area. However, it’s rated as difficult and is over 7 miles, with a short side trip to see the lake from above. 

Garrett posing on a rock with a backdrop of mountains and Lake Valhalla.
Lake Valhalla from Mount McCausland and a happy Garrett because he just found some huckleberries for us to pick!

It’s worth the climb – there are excellent views from the top and lots of beautiful flowers, berry bushes, and trees, depending on which time of year you are there!

Sauer’s Mountain Trail

Distance: 5.2 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,873 feet

For some of the best views of any hike in the Leavenworth area, tackle the 5.2-mile Sauer’s Mountain trail. There are great viewpoints all along the trail, but the best overlook is (obviously) from the summit, so keep pushing until you reach the top!

RELATED: 9 Awesome Hikes Around Leavenworth, Washington

3. Indulge in Authentic-ish German Cuisine

After a long day of hiking, skiing, or exploring, you’ll likely be looking for some good grub to fill your belly. The Bavarian culture extends past the architecture here – there are several places around town where you can find some authentic-ish German cuisine.

Nina and Garrett smiling and holding a stein of beer with the German-style buildings of Leavenworth in the background.
A stein is authentic German cuisine… right?

Munchen House is one of the most popular joints in town. They’ve got local German-style beers on tap, plus some imports from Munchen. The food menu is very sausage-forward, but there are also plenty of sides to choose from.

If you’re looking for a wider selection of German food, head to Andrea’s Keller for schnitzel, spaetzle, pork hock and more!

4. Hit the Slopes at Steven’s Pass

Leavenworth is an iconic destination year-round, and if you happen to be visiting Washington in winter, you can’t miss Steven’s Pass.

Steven's Pass ski resort mid-winter with an overcast sky and snow falling on the trees and ski lift.

This popular ski resort isn’t too far out of town, and it has some pretty awesome downhill runs for winter sports enthusiasts of all skill levels.

5. Spend Christmas in Leavenworth

Speaking of winter, Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Leavenworth – sorry, summer lovers! Each year, the downtown area is transformed into a winter wonderland with colorful lights, live entertainment, and Christmas markets.

Overlooking Leavenworth in the winter as it's full of Christmas lights.
Leavenworth in winter!
Christmas lights and tourists at the Leavenworth Christmas Markets.
It turns into a Christmas town

Even if you can’t make it for the actual holiday, the winter spirit can be felt from Thanksgiving through February! Woo hoo!

6. Plan Your Visit Around One of the MANY Events in Town

If you’re not much for winter, don’t worry. Leavenworth is jam-packed with fun events all year long.

If you’re not around to feel the Christmas spirit, you can come back in the spring for Maifest (a traditional Bavarian festival with lederhosen dirndl) or plan a visit during Oktoberfest in the fall (more on that below).

A group of men German folk dancing on a stage in front of a crowd.
There’s certainly a lot of interesting events in Leavenworth

7. Attend One of the Country’s Best Oktoberfests

Of all the festivals that this quaint mountain town puts on, Oktoberfest is arguably the best. It’s often lauded as one of the best festivals of its kind in the entire nation, and there are a few reasons why.

The Bavarian-style architecture and stunning mountain backdrop naturally lend themselves to a feeling of authenticity, but that’s not all that Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest has going for it.

A group of people cheers-ing steins of beer.
Nothing like an Oktoberfest atmosphere!

The festival puts on TONS of fun activities throughout the three weekends it’s on, including keg-tapping events, stein-holding competitions, mustache showdowns and braiding show-offs, and tons of live music. This is a popular event, so make sure to book your accommodation well in advance.

8. Tackle the Lake Colchuck and Lake Stuart Trail 

Distance: 12.1 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 3,031 feet

This is a fantastic trail that’s not for the faint-hearted! If you want a day’s adventure from Leavenworth, it’s well worth heading to Lake Colchuck and Lake Stewart

Nina sitting on a large log besides Colchuck Lake looking at mountains in the distance.
Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth.

The trail is around 12 miles long and features two of the best lakes in the area. You can turn around after the first lake, but try to hike the whole way if you can – it’s worth seeing both crowning jewels – Lake Colchuck and Lake Stuart. 

Hiker at Lake Stuart near the Colchuck Lake Trail
Lake Stuart

Lake Colchuck is the busier of the two, and you can take a dip in the water to cool down. Lake Stewart isn’t visited as much as it’s a short detour from the main trail, but it will be much more tranquil.

READ MORE: Hiking The Colchuck Lake Trail + Lake Stuart!

9. Backpack The Enchantments (The Most Adventurous Thing to Do in Leavenworth!)

Distance: 18 miles
Type of Trail: Point-to-Point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 4,790 feet

If you want to take it one step further, you can continue onto the Enchantments hike.

The Enchantments Trail is an even longer, even more challenging trail that goes beyond Lake Colchuck! You should only attempt this in one day if you are a fit hiker and have experience hiking similar trails. You also must start your day pretty early to make it back before sunset.

Nina posing on a rock in a lake in The Enchantments surrounded by moutains.
Stunning views along with The Enchantments

However, you could also hike this route as a multi-day trek (highly recommended). It is a point-to-point hike encompassing Lake Colchuck and Lake Stewart, and it has epic views over Crystal Lake and Inspiration Lake, as well as side trips to Prusik Pass and Little Annapurna Summit. 

It’s a 20.5-mile trip, but it is difficult terrain, so don’t underestimate it and plan to camp for at least one night (unless you are a very experienced hiker). There is a good campsite about halfway at Inspiration Lake.

You will need a backcountry camping permit to camp anywhere along this hike. It’s also a lottery so apply early and be prepared to not get accepted, it’s a well-sought-after permit!

Autumn scenery on the mountains of The Enchantments near Leavenworth.
Backpacking The Enchantments is one of the most challenging things to do in Leavenworth.

To reach the trailhead, drive along Icicle Road out of Leavenworth and turn left onto the National Forest Development Road 7601. The trailhead is along this road. The end of the hike is near Icicle Road – you probably won’t want to do it as an out-and-back route, so it’s best to arrange a pickup!

RELATED: 19 Amazing Weekend Trips From Seattle (1-5 Hours Away!)

10. Spend a Day (Or Night) at Lake Wenatchee State Park 

Lake Wenatchee State Park is one of the best things to do in Leavenworth for people who want all kinds of adventures!

Empty picnic bench besides Lake Wanatchee with views of distant hills.
Some of the most adventurous things to do in Leavenworth are in Lake Wenatchee State Park.

The park encompasses the beautiful Lake Wenatchee and Wenatchee River, fed by dramatic glaciers. Take in surreal alpine scenery from this park, where the mountains soar high and are capped with snow even in the summertime. 

Try paddleboarding or hiking in the summer months, or go sledding or snowshoeing in the winter. You can even camp year-round too. Enjoy the atmosphere of summer camping, or try pitching your tent in the snow with heated bathrooms and warming shelters! 

11. Check out the Leavenworth Farmer’s Market

Browse for local goodies at the Leavenworth Farmer’s Market. Held seasonally from May through September, the market sits in the historic downtown area and features a wide range of fresh produce, local meats, flowers, baked goods, and more.

Punnets of tomatoes and blackberries lined up at a farmer's market.
Fresh fruit at the farmer’s market can’t be beat!

If you love a good farmer’s market, taking a stroll through Haymarket Square while the market is happening is so much fun!

12. Clamp on Your Snowshoes and Hit the Winter Trails

Snowshoeing is one of the best things to do in Leavenworth once the snow begins to fall. There is usually a pretty good snowfall each winter, so check out some of these trails if you’re in town during the colder months.

Two people snowshoeing over a field of snow.
A great activity for winter!
  • Leavenworth Winter Sports Club (LVSC)
  • Lake Wenatchee State Park
  • Stevens Pass
  • Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort

Most places have stuff to rent if you don’t feel like dragging your own equipment with you.

13. Take in the Views at Peshashtin Pinnacles State Park

Another popular Washington State Park is Peshashtin Pinnacles. Encompassing 34 acres, rugged pinnacles punctuate this state park. There are various activities you can do here, including rock climbing up one of the pinnacles. 

Wooden entrance sign for Peshastin Pinnacles State Park in the mountains near Leavenworth.
Entry to the Peshastin Pinnacles State Park.

There’s also a cool trail here. It’s a loop walk that is just under a mile long and is a fantastic way to explore the surrounding scenery. Although it’s only a mile long, there is quite a lot of climbing involved! 

However, the views from the pinnacles are worth it – stretching all over this part of Washington state, you’ll be able to take in the state park and the Cascade Mountains. 

14. Sample a Stein or Two of German-Style Beer

If you couldn’t make it to the famous Oktoberfest, you still have a chance to sample some great local German beers while in Leavenworth.

Nina sipping on a giant stein of beer while overlooking the center of Leavenworth from a balcony.
A stein with a view!

The main brewery in town (Icicle Brewing Company) has a wide variety of craft beers on tap and in cans, and they’re not just German-style! There are also IPAs, stouts, sours, and more for your drinking enjoyment (Duh, you’re in the PNW, after all).

Doghouse Brewing is another great spot to stop in for a pint. This is a tiny craft brewery, but its location right in downtown Leavenworth makes it worth popping in.

15. Discover Leavenworth’s Wineries

One of the most underrated things to do in Leavenworth is to go winetasting. Everyone knows that this Bavarian town has some great beers, but most people don’t know that it also has some incredible wineries.

A group of people cheers-ing wine glasses during a wine tasting tour.
You can never go wrong with a wine tour!

This is an up-and-coming wine region, and there are actually four wineries in the area (two are right in downtown Leavenworth!). So, if you prefer wine to beer, you’re in luck!

16. Go for a Ride on the Freund Canyon Trailhead Bike Trails

This trail is suitable for hiking, but it’s also really popular for mountain biking!

There’s a mix of tracks here – you can start with the standard Freund Canyon loop, which connects with lots of trails around the area, or try the Rosy Boa, which has impressive views of Leavenworth. 

Bike trail through the forest at Freund Canyon in Leavenworth.
The Freund Canyon trails near Leavenworth

It’s a very small track, and there are many switchbacks and jumps. So it might be a bit overwhelming if it’s your first-time mountain biking – but if you’re experienced, it’s one of the best things to do in Leavenworth! 

There are a few bike rental shops in Leavenworth if you don’t have your own set of wheels with you. 

17. Meet Rudolph at the Reindeer Farm

Okay, I can’t promise that Rudolph will be there, but there will definitely be plenty of other reindeer around at the Reindeer Farm.

Situated just outside of town in the foothills of the Cascades, the farm is home to a large herd of reindeer, which you can witness up close and personal all year round!

Portrait of a reindeer in the snow.
Rudolph, is that you?

It’s not just for the wintertime—the farm holds tours outside of the Christmas season, and it’s actually a lot less crowded when the weather is warmer.

Note that you will need to book a ticket in advance.

18. Float Down the Wenatchee River

Getting on the water is one of the best things to do in Leavenworth! 

Whether you want to go stand-up paddleboarding, paddle in your kayak, or float lazily in an inner tube, there is something for every adventure level. 

Person tubing on along Wenatchee River with mountain views near Leavenworth.
Some of the best things to do in Leavenworth are on the water

Trips run along the Wenatchee River, just a short drive from Leavenworth. You can check out Osprey Rafting for rentals and tours; their office is near Cashmere. 

Whether you want to take a boat out for a few hours or go on an all-day expedition, there are water activities here, and they’re perfect for the summer months! If you have your own paddleboard or tube, just head out to Waterfront Park (#1 on this list) and plop yourself in at any of the “beach” put-ins.

19. Get Adventurous on a White Water Rafting Tour

The Wenatchee River is a great place for relaxing adventures, but if you want to crank the adrenaline up a bit, you can go white-water rafting. This is one of the best spots for rafting in the entire state of Washington, so it’s one of the best things to do in Leavenworth if you’re keen on adventure.

Group of white water rafters being violently splashed with water.
For the adrenaline seekers!

The best time to go is between May and June when the water is at its highest. The rest of the summer is okay too, you’ll just have a bit more relaxed experience. There are several outfitters located along the river, and taking a guided tour is recommended unless you’re a pro.

20. The Best Thing to Do in Leavenworth—Walk Around!

There are so many adventurous things to do in Leavenworth, but make sure you spend some time just exploring the town—which is SO cute! It’s truly one of our favorite places in Washington.

German looking downtown Leavenworth with a backdrop of mountains.
One of the best things to do in Leavenworth is to simply explore the town

The town started its life as a Native American salmon fishing area. In the late 19th century, settlers traded with the Wenatchi, Chinook, and Yakima tribes, who have lived in this region for millennia. 

Leavenworth grew over the centuries, eventually reinventing itself in the 1960s as a tourist town. It used its beautiful mountainous setting as a backdrop for a quintessentially Bavarian-style village. There was no German migration here, but you could almost feel like you’re in Europe when walking around! 

German-style buildings in downtown Leavenworth with mountains in the distance.
The setting of Leavenworth is beautiful

There are tons of little Bavarian shops, restaurants, and bars all within an easily walkable center. Even the regular supermarket is German-themed on the outside!

21. Eat a Pretzel the Size of Your Face

I can’t think of anything more German than eating a pretzel the size of your face. Oh, wait, how about drinking a stein of beer with some gorgeous mountain views in the distance AND eating a pretzel the size of your face?

If this sounds like your idea of a good time (we’d be great friends), then head to Rhein Haus in downtown Leavenworth. After all that walking around, this is the perfect little treat!

22. Explore Lake Chelan For The Day

One of the best things to do in Leavenworth is actually to get out of town entirely! There are some great towns not too far from city limits, including the lovely Lake Chelan. The drive there is stunning, and once you arrive, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy for days on end.

Statue of a silver bear along the main road of Lake Chelan town in Washington.
Visit downtown Lake Chelan

This area is full of scenic parks, hiking trails, and some great breweries and wineries. This could be worked into your itinerary as a day trip, but it can certainly be a great spot for a longer stop on a Washington road trip!

READ MORE: 12 Awesome Things To Do in Lake Chelan, Washington

23. Take a Day Trip to Wenatchee

Not to be confused with the state park, the city of Wenatchee (located about half an hour southeast) makes for a great day trip from Leavenworth.

Train sign and signals besides tracks and a disused train carriage in Wanatchee Riverfront Park in Washington.
Check out Wenatchee Riverfront Park!

Known for its stunning mountain scenery and tasty apple orchards, you could easily spend an afternoon here. If you have more time, you can make a full weekend out of it and explore riverside parks, check out the trails, or just soak up the incredible scenery.

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things To Do in Wenatchee, Washington

Where to Stay in Leavenworth

  • Camping – There are a whole host of pubic campsites along Icicle Road and throughout Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The closest to Leavenworth is Eightmile, but you’ll find the most sites at Johnny Creek, and parking for extra-long RVs at Blackpine Horse Camp.
  • LOGE Leavenworth Downtown – This central hotel combines minimalist décor with a focus on adventure and sustainability.  Guest can make use of free bike hire, outdoor patios with a fire pit, and Sunday yoga sessions.
  • Off-Grid Cabin – This cozy stay is for anyone that truly wants to disconnect, with no electricity or indoor plumbing. You can truly focus on enjoying the natural surroundings from the deck or playing board games by the wood fire.
  • Whistle Post Inn – Just a short drive from town you’ll find this converted barn that’s great for groups. It’s a combination of bunk-style bedding and oversize tents for an outdoor/indoor glamping experience.
  • Alpine Escape – You can stroll to the river from this modern two-bedroom condo. It’s fully equipped with a fireplace and a large kitchen and is just 15 15-minute walk from downtown.

👉 More Accommodation in Leavenworth

There are many fun things to do in Leavenworth; you could spend all year here and not get bored. Whether you’re into hiking, watersports, or mountain biking, this adventure hotspot will meet all your needs and is a wonderful place to base if you want to get outdoors. 

Check out our guides to Leavenworth:

We hope this helped you plan your trip to Leavenworth, Washington!

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