Whenever we visit a city or place we’ve been before, I like to plan at least one day where we go explore something new. When we visited Leavenworth, Washington last week for a little R&R with some friends, I was excited to take a couple hours to wander around Lake Wenatchee for the first time.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Leavenworth, it’s a quaint little Bavarian-themed town settled between the Wenatchee Mountains and Stuart Range. Leavenworth is best known for its Oktoberfest and Winter Festival, but is a fun and scenic place to visit year-round. (Read more of our adventures in Leavenworth here, here, and here.)
This is the second time we’ve visited Leavenworth during Oktoberfest. A few years ago we visited with my parents and camped just outside the town. Kyle and I paid to get into the tented area, and as good as some of the entertainment was, I was a little disappointed with the cost and beer selection.
This time around, we stayed outside the tent and visited several of the local establishments instead and I think it was much more fun and more affordable. Plus, it was fun to see more of the town and support some of the local businesses. I had planned to give you all a play-by-play of all the food, but really you can’t go wrong. Everywhere we ate was delicious and the beer selection seemed good. My favorite place we ate/drank at in town was Stein. It wasn’t a sit-down restaurant, but it was great for a quick bite and some drinks.
Where We Stayed
We rented a cabin just north of town, about a 20 minute drive. It was really nice, clean, and the best part is that it’s dog-friendly. With six adults and four dogs, I was worried that we’d feel cramped for space but that definitely wasn’t the case. We rotated cooking meals, which was awesome, and definitely took advantage of the hot tub and games downstairs. We spent our evening catching up, playing card games and enjoying some downtime together.
On Sunday before leaving town, we split up for a little hiking/biking action. I didn’t realize this until earlier this year, but there are some pretty well known mountain biking trails in the area. However they are all way beyond my experience (and fear) level. So, while Kyle, Drew and Doug ventured off to ride Xanadu, one of said trails, Kate, Wendy and I decided to wear out the dogs before the three-and-a-half hour drive home.
We settled on the Lake Wenatchee Trail, located within Wenatchee State Park and campground. Photos of the beautiful lake have flooded my Instagram feed for quite some time and I was eager to check it out in person. The morning started off with a heavy fog hanging in the trees and over the water – so thick we couldn’t see the other side of the lake. With the bright leaves and mossy rocks and logs, it felt like we were walking through a fairytale – or given the time of year – a horror movie. The dogs ran around, chasing each other and bombing toward the water – and maybe accidentally frightening some small children playing on the banks of the water. Oops.
The trail wasn’t quite what I expected, it was close to the highway in a couple spots, and wound through a busy campground in others. Even though it was more populated than I expected, it was incredibly beautiful and I’m so glad we went. It was an easy hike, doable for just about anyone. It does follow close to the water for most of it, and forks off to several beachy areas. There was a boat launch across the way, but this lake felt ideal for some paddling.
We had a hard time finding the area that this map (and All Trails) tells you to park for free, so we just paid the cost of a day pass and started inside the campground. It was well worth supporting our parks and getting in a scenic walk.
We all had a great time visiting Leavenworth and talked about making it an annual trip. I sincerely hope we do that.