Wondering how to spend two fall days in Leavenworth, Washington? My husband and I visited this adorable Bavarian town in the fall of 2020.
After dropping our youngest daughter off for her second year of college in Oregon, we drove up the Oregon coast to Mount Rainier National Park You can read about Mount Rainier NP here btw!
We then proceeded on to this quaint old-world town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
The total number of days for our itinerary including time with our daughter in her college town for three days was ten days (with day ten being spent flying home from Seattle).
You can see our entire itinerary below if you are planning more than a weekend in the PNW and trying to decide what to do ;).
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Leavenworth, WA Travel Tips
- History and Location of Leavenworth
- Where to Stay
- Where to Eat
- What to Do
- Our Full Ten Day PNW Itinerary
History and Location of Leavenworth
Leavenworth was originally a logging town that was turned into a German Bavaria themed town in the 1960’s to draw tourists to it.
And boy does it ever!
If you are looking for another cute Bavarian themed town – you should check out Solvang, CA which was part of the inspiration for Leavenworth (or so I’ve been told anyway!).
Leavenworth is just over two hours east of Seattle, Washington on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in North Central Washington State.
You can easily fly into SeaTac airport, rent a car, and drive here the same day.
Our visit was during the Covid pandemic of fall 2020…
There are definitely pros and cons to visiting popular places during a global shutdown.
The obvious pro being not as many crowds.
Although I have to say with 2020 being the year of the road trip – I am not sure how “not crowded” the town of Leavenworth really was.
I am guessing seven days in the Pacific Northwest was a common road trip ;).
The town of Leavenworth canceled all of their Oktoberfest and Christmas festivities for the year (the biggest con).
But there was plenty of wine tasting and beer drinking to be had in town still 🤪.
We made sure to stop by the visitors center on the far side of town on Highway 2 to ask them where to eat, hike, and explore.
They gave us excellent advice that I am excited to pass along to you!
Where to Stay
After about a four hour drive from Mount Rainier National Park, we made it to Leavenworth in the early evening on a Thursday night.
You can read my post on our MRNP stay here!
We checked in to the Posthotel in Leavenworth and all I can say is what a surprise!!
I guess 2020 had made me such a negative Nelly as far as travel plans had gone that I just didn’t pay that close of attention to where I was making my lodging reservations for this storybook PNW town.
I pretty much googled nicest place to stay in Leavenworth and this property was on the list.
Biggest perk I saw at the time of booking was that it is adult only.
So that sold me as I was looking for some peace and quiet without big crowds.
There were many people staying at the Posthotel for a spa weekend when we were there.
Which again had I done my research better I may have been able to get a massage (or facial) reservation in for myself at the hotel.
I.E. – I did not get a massage on this weekend due to lack of planning on my part 😳.
A European continental breakfast and light lunch are included in your room rate – and the food was amazing.
I am just realizing I did not do a good job as a blogger because I only got one food shot on this trip (and it was from my room 😂).
But just know – it was all DELICIOUS!
I also should have planned this trip better and added on an entire day to just spend in the spa at this hotel in their cozy robe.
Alas – another trip is in order I guess.
Maybe a girls spa weekend with my besties???
My husband was planning a return trip with his buddies in Fall 2021 to hike the Enchanted Lakes trail so while we were there – we scoped out where they could all stay together.
And we found this super cute resort outside of town on the road to the trailhead.
If I am ever lucky enough to return to Leavenworth myself, I hope a stay at this resort is in my plans.
Especially in the summer and if I had kids (i.e. grandkids 🤪) with me!
Photos courtesy of Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort Instagram
Where to Eat
On our first night upon arrival, we did a quick walk around town to get our bearings.
And then grabbed dinner at Baren Haus before calling it a night in our insanely gorgeous and comfortable room!
Sadly, no food photos taken AGAIN but I sure did enjoy my steak here 😎.
Leavenworth Sausage Garten
On our first full day in town, we ate dinner at Leavenworth Sausage Garten as a recommendation from the visitors center.
The sausages here are housemade and were oh so tasty.
We kept it simple – and of course accompanied our sausages with beer, pretzels, and sauerkraut.
A true Bavarian experience.
Not even sure if we were in Germany or Washington at this point 😂.
Our last dinner in this Bavarian town was at Stein which was another visitor center recommendation.
I am not sure if it was the Sasquatch paraphernalia or the 55 beer options that sold my husband on this recommendation.
But either way – it was a great recommendation!!
Nonetheless, we ate outside on the dining set up on Front Street as we did some people watching.
Front Street is not normally closed to vehicles, but because of the pandemic it was a pedestrian only street so that restaurants could set tables up outside.
And can I just say – I LOVE THIS!
I can’t really imagine what this cute street would be like with cars, so hopefully they will keep it pedestrian only even after once the pandemic ends ;).
While we did not actually eat at this restaurant, it sure looked cute from the outside and therefore worthy of a mention here!
Plus the German menu looks quite tasty ;).
What to Do
Browse the Streets
As mentioned above, Front Street is closed to vehicles and we loved that!
It made it super easy to explore all the cute shops.
Especially because, as you can see, it was raining on our day of exploring!
My tradition is to collect a Christmas ornament from all of the places we travel so I was excited to get an ornament at the Kris Kringle shop in town ;).
Wander through Blackbird Island and Waterfront Park
We got a pretty late start on our first day in town (sleeping in is my jam btw!).
So when we finally got our act together and made it downstairs- we had a lovely light lunch in the lobby restaurant (included) and then headed out to wander through Waterfront Park.
The path to Blackbird Island via Waterfront Park is right outside the Posthotel’s back doors ;).
So we wandered through this island along the Wenatchee River for a little less than a mile which ended us a bit above Enchantment Park.
I have mentioned in previous posts that we like to just wander when we travel – especially now that most of our travels are without the kids.
From Enchantment Park, we turned around and headed back into town as we wandered the residential streets looking at all the cute houses along the way!
We stopped in the store Der Sportsmann to buy a trail map with details about the Enchantment Lakes Trail.
Told ya this ended up being quite the reconnaissance trip for my husband 👍🏻.
It’s okay though because I got a super cute Patagonia shirt and skirt out of this store stop so it totally worked for me!
My husband and I love to mix time in nature as well as in cities on our travels.
So whenever possible, we try to get a hike into our itinerary. Not going to lie – I didn’t really expect that Leavenworth was going to offer us much in the way of hiking.
Again- not a lot of research done for this trip- my bad. I blame COVID for that…
Nonetheless- our friends at the visitors center pointed us in the right direction.
We were deciding between the Eight Mile Lake and the Icicle Gorge trails.
In the end, we decided we wanted to have very little elevation gain for the day so Icicle Gorge won out.
See the details on all the available hikes in the area here.
Enchantment Lakes Hiking Trail
A close friend of ours originally from Seattle informed us of a very popular all day hike in the area called Enchantment Lakes.
My husband and about 10-15 of his friends go on a boys hiking trip every fall someplace in the Western US (this friend is one of them).
They have been doing this together for over ten years and are always looking for new places to go.
The more we looked into the Enchantment Lakes Trail, the more excited my husband got about planning his next guys’ hike for October 2021 here.
So part of our day ended up being a recon trip for his future hiking adventure.
Honestly I love planning so much – this gives me enjoyment to help my husband get excited about his next guys adventure.
FYI – my husband just got back from this hike and says it is not for the faint of heart!!
It is a difficult all day hike – so do your research before you assume you can tackle this one ;)!
Icicle Gorge Hiking Trail
The drive to this trailhead parking was about 30 minutes from the Posthotel with the last five or so miles being on a well packed but bumpy dirt road.
We weren’t even sure we were driving in the right area – but as long as you are on the dirt road portion of County Highway 76 – just know you are indeed in the right place.
Icicle Road turns into Co Hwy 76…
This road is where the majority of the trails in the area are located btw.
In fact, if we had changed our minds at the last minute and decided to get some elevation gain in for the day- we would have had a multitude of trail options available to us along this road.
This trail was a perfect 3.5 miles in length with very little elevation gain.
Which was exactly what we were looking for for this last day of our trip.
We did a little bit of early leaf peeping too – which again with my lack of planning, it hadn’t even dawned on me that we would be in a place with fall foliage for this trip.
I know, I know – I really did VERY little advance research or even thinking about this trip 🤷♀️.
See what happens when there is a worldwide pandemic?? The planner stops planning 😂.
It just means everything about this trip was a pleasant and unexpected surprise though -right?
Visit a Reindeer Farm
We did not have time to visit Leavenworth Reindeer Farm which is a little bit outside of town.
Too much reconnaissance maybe??
But the photos make it look so cute and fun!
Especially if you have kids with you.
Or visit during Christmas season.
Speaking of which – did you know Leavenworth is on most US Christmas towns to visit lists??
Be sure to buy your tickets online in advance for this activity though!!
Photo courtesy of Leavenworth Reindeer Farm Instagram
Wine and Cider Tasting
My husband and I are not wine drinkers…
Speaking of which – you can read my blog post about visiting Sonoma Valley, CA as a non-wine drinker here!
Nonetheless, this area is an up and coming winery area for those of you that are!!
Now cider tasting is a whole different ball game for me…
We didn’t do this activity either but now I am wishing we did!!
You can find a full list of what wineries to explore here.
Our Full Ten Day PNW Itinerary
- Sept 18 – fly to Portland (PDX) and drive to Eugene, OR
- Sept 19 – drop off youngest daughter in Eugene, Oregon
- Sept 20 – drive to Oregon coast and stay at Salishan Coastal Lodge
- Sept 21 – scenic drive along the Oregon coast to Mount Rainier National Park (8 hours – stayed three nights at National Park Inn in the park)
- Sept 22 – full day in Mount Rainier NP – read that travel guide here.
- Sept 23 – full day in Mount Rainier NP
- Sept 24 – drive from MRNP to Leavenworth, WA (4 hours)
- Sept 25 – full day in Leavenworth, WA
- Sept 26 – full day in Leavenworth, WA
- Sept 27 – fly home from SeaTac airport (2 hour and 20 minute drive from Leavenworth)
I hope this post has inspired you to spend two fall days in Leavenworth, Washington.
This adorable Bavarian PNW town in the Cascade Mountains has a lot to offer whether you are looking for a girls’ spa weekend or a hiking adventure or a place to celebrate Oktoberfest!
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If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.
~ Victoria Erickson
As always, I love hearing from you – especially if you have any tips to add to this travel post!
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Have a wonderful day my friend! I hope something makes you smile today ;).