Shop and sight see… check.
Party at Oktoberfest… check.
Explore the beautiful mountains and river… here we go!
Due to the craziness of the Leavenworth Marathon, we were unable to hike Icicle River like we initially planned, but thanks to a knowledgeable employee at Leavenworth Mountain Sports, we decided to hike Penstock Trail, just a couple miles west of town. I am SO glad we did!
We actually hiked the trail twice. That’s how beautiful it was. On Saturday morning, Kyle and I loaded up the dogs in search of the Icicle River trail I mentioned earlier. It was close to camp and looked pretty easy and quick. Somehow we missed it and ended up driving all the way back into town. Traffic heading the opposite direction was terrible! There was no turning back at that point.
Penstock Trail is easy to miss if you’re heading west. So easy in fact, that the lady at LMS told us just to look for the bridge going over the river, and then use the turnaround about 150 feet ahead. I’m glad she gave us the tip because we would have gone right by it otherwise.
The trail itself is easy and lovely. We took my parents back on Sunday to see some of the fall colors, the beautiful bridge and the river. The Cascades are so much different from our mountains, I always enjoy the change in scenery.
The trail is named for a large water pipe that was once used to deliver water to a powerhouse (now the parking lot). According the Leavenworth.org site, the electricity powered electrical engines which pulled trains through the Cascade Tunnel at Stevens Pass.
Along the way, we saw several smaller trails peeling off, heading to some great bouldering spots. We also saw some rock climbers across the river scaling a (what I would call crazy) peak. I could tell Kyle was mentally adding that to his bucket list.
Note to self: Purchase additional life insurance ASAP.
We also saw a ton of salmon just hangin’ in the river. They were easily as long as our arm. INSANE. I’ve never seen fish just chillin’ like that before. My dad said they were probably done breeding and getting ready to die, which bummed me out. But they were beautiful nonetheless and I’m so glad we got to see them.
We were told to keep going once we reached the end of the trail. If you go far enough, you’ll reach one of those tunnels I mentioned earlier and see some of the old track. Of course we had to check that out.
The lady at the store said, and I directly quote, “You may have to do a little bushwhacking, but nothing crazy.” This statement was following my explanation of having an elderly dog with us. So I took her at her word.
Never again. While the trail was exciting and a good workout for us, having two dogs to (literally) mountain climb with was a bit too much. But they did great and we all survived. It was however, way more than a “little bushwhacking.”
The tunnel was worth the effort. Just a ton of old re-bar, track and caviness (another Andrea-ism for the books).
I would highly recommend this hike for anyone. You can do the easy, 2 mile walk or continue on for a little adventure. The banks of the river had several sandy beaches and looked so nice if it had been a hot summer day. I’d love to pack a lunch and a book and just relax by the water.
Also take note, the site says that the trail is often flooded in the spring. This part of the Wenatchee river flows through Tumwater Canyon. In Chinook, tumwater means “rough water” so please be careful, I’m sure it more than earns its name come run-off season.
I am so glad we got to experience the fun and beauty that is Leavenworth, Washington. I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring. Heck, even their graffiti is adorable.
Until next time,