Updated December 5, 2016.
Leavenworth--named the "Ultimate Holiday Town USA" by the A&E Network, among a long list of recognition from popular television networks, shows and travel websites, is a hot spot for visitors from around the globe.
Tucked away deep in the monumental Cascade Mountains between Seattle and Spokane, Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian Village, one of the best travel destinations for outdoor sports any time of the year, and for celebrating American holidays.
The land under current day downtown was purchased and organized by Captain Charles Leavenworth, president of the Okanogan Investment Company, in 1892, the year the Great Northern Railway breached Stevens Pass over the Cascade Range.
The town grew with the logging boom, home to the second largest sawmill in Washington and headquarters of the Great North Railroad. After the railroad relocated to Wenatchee in the 1920’s, Leavenworth’s economy suffered for decades.
Rescued by Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone), the town transformed to a world renowned Bavarian theme village.
In 2009, a railroad returned; Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service operates between Seattle and Spokane via the scenic Empire Builder route, bringing visitors to this delightful vacation destination.
There is no transportation barrier in getting to Leavenworth. Fly, ride a bus or take the Amtrak Empire Builder Train.
Road trip explorers can journey an incredible 440 miles from the exalting heights of North Cascades National Park and then plunge deep into a remote national forest wilderness, stopping for a visit at Leavenworth before diving through the Columbia River Valley and shooting into the high desert outback of Central Washington State, via the Stevens Pass National Scenic Byway.
From the Seattle metropolitan area, take US-2 E/Stevens Pass Highway toward Wenatchee and travel about 85 miles. Go left on Evans Street.
From Spokane, WA, take US-2 W.
From Portland, OR, take I-84 E. Take Exit 104 at Biggs Junction. Go north on US-97 N. Go left onto US-2.
From Boise, ID, take I-84 W. Take Exit 179 and follow I-82 W. Get on I-90 W for a short distance and take Exit 106; follow US-97 N. Go left onto US-2.
Snow sports and recreation abound in and around Leavenworth. Conquer the back country, ski in the remote and unforgiving Chiwaukum Range, or climb exquisite frozen falls.
Shush the slopes on skis or snowboards, perhaps cross country ski or snowshoe through a hushed forest. Experience the rush of dog-sledding. Plow through the powder on snowmobiles. There are sleds and tubes for the little ones.
If you’re hearty, try your hand at ice fishing at Fish Lake.
Take on a summer play land. Sleep with nature at one of many campgrounds. Start birding at dawn and take a carriage ride after lunch.
Hit the trail! Backpackers and hikers explore over 700 miles of National Forest Service trails through untamed wilderness. Equestrian lovers will enjoy trail riding, too.
Cycling, mountain biking and ATV enthusiasts hit dirt and pavement, riding scenic byways, awesome trails and Stevens Pass Bike Park. If you prefer little wheels over big ones, go skateboarding at the Skate Park.
Reach for the heights. One of the top 10 climbing areas in the USA, by Rock and Ice Magazine, challenging elevations with breathtaking vistas beckon die-hard climbers year around.
Peer over the edges of Peshastin Pinnacles, scale Icicle and Tumwater Canyons, scramble Careno Crag, skate up Snow Creek Wall and go to the outer limits at Outer Space, Orbit and Iconoclast.
Love the water? Try paddle-boarding, river surfing or water skiing on the Wenatchee River. Ease on down river the on a tube, raft or kayak.
How about diving into a natural swim hole at Blackbird Island or practicing your strokes at the Leavenworth Community Pool?
Four season fishing captures anglers casting their lines into Icicle and Wenatchee Rivers for Perch, Trout, Salmon and Steelhead. If fishing isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, instead.
There’s always something to celebrate; with a calendar filled with exciting events and fun festivals anytime of the year is a great time to visit.
This talented tour guide leads guests on rollicking adventures. His unique entertainment is not to be missed!
"The Ale-Fest is Leavenworth’s first beer festival. The inaugural festival took place on back in April 2007. Since then, it has grown each year into what it is today. A fun event that inspires competition for breweries, food booths and more.
Always held in the Festhalle in downtown, it is the ideal setting to experience award winning beer, great music and dancing. Breweries participate from all over the country." AleFest.com
The highlight of each year is the Christmas Lighting Festival, with the tourist population easily swelling to over 50,000 visitors.
Transport yourself to the old- world, a place of enchantment; stroll through the village, a winter wonderland of twinkling Christmas lights, amazing sights and “all things Christmas” shopping.
Be touched by holiday magic as the Marlin Handbell Ringers regale visitors with celestial music. Join the Main Street Light Parade and meet St. Nickolas. Choir, choral and caroling set the holiday mood.
Experience the delightful anticipation of Santa’s arrival and whisper wishes in his ear. A living Nativity celebrates Jesus’ birthday.
Step back in time and enjoy a sleigh ride on a glowing winters’ night or take your sweet heart for a wagon ride.
Hosted by the Northwest Accordion Society, enjoy four lively days of accordion everything. Competitors and participants alike, share the this grand musical celebration.
Peruse the famous Nutcracker Museum with over 5000 nutcrackers dating back to ancient times.