Located in North Central Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee River Valley, Leavenworth is home to some of the best hiking in the state with a variety of trails that offer something for everyone. Leavenworth is surrounded by forests, mountains, and rivers, so you don’t have to travel far from town to find yourself in nature.
Today, we’re highlighting 3 of the most popular trails including Icicle Gorge Trail, Icicle Ridge Trail, and the trails on Blackbird Island. All of these trails start either a short walk or drive from the downtown center. A Discover Pass is required to park at most trail heads and they can be found in town at several retailers, or at the Leavenworth Ranger Station.
Icicle Gorge Trail starts a couple of miles past Eightmile Campground on Icicle Creek Road and follows Icicle Creek as it winds its way through the forested gorge towards Leavenworth. Enjoy the sounds of rushing water, singing birds, and the wind blowing through the trees. You can hike the whole loop which travels along both sides of the creek crossing numerous bridges, or pick a direction and hike to specific viewpoints or bridge-crossings before turning around. Notice the abundance of moss and fungi as you get closer to the creek, and the old and tall deciduous trees that stretch way into the sky.
Next up is Icicle Ridge Trail which climbs way out of the valley and onto a ridge that overlooks Leavenworth thousands of feet below. The lookout point is even visible high up on the mountain from downtown if you know where to look. Hike up, up, and away as you traverse switchback after switchback until you reach a saddle on the ridge. Look ahead towards Tumwater Mountain and down at the Wenatchee River and Highway 2 as it winds through Tumwater Canyon. Take a right at the saddle, heading slightly down then back up and over a final knoll to find the lookout point and a sunny spot perfect for snacks, hydration, and panoramic pictures. Hiking back along the ridge towards the saddle, take a left to return the way you came, or continue on straight, climbing further up and along Icicle Ridge for several more miles to reach a couple other trails that also lead back to Icicle Creek Road.
The 3rd hike could be categorized as more of a walk as there’s hardly any elevation gain, though a series of trail options can lengthen it up to several miles. Find Waterfront Park entrances at the end of 9th Street, on Commercial Street, or at Enchantment Park, which all connect to Blackbird Island. Follow the trails along the Wenatchee River and take the time to read the interpretive signs that tell of the history of the river and the logging industry that established Leavenworth as a stop along the Great Northern Railway. Between the Wenatchee River and a man-made canal lies Blackbird Island with a bridge on both ends and trails along both sides, as well as a trail through the center. Notice the variety of plants and wildlife that call this area home and enjoy the close-up views of the river and the mountains in the distance.
From serene river walks, to adventurous mountain treks, Leavenworth has trails to explore for days, and even a lifetime. So grab your map and boots, and we’ll see you on the trails!