Being a Leavenworth local and avid outdoor recreationalist I have a hard time keeping up with all the gear I need. Leavenworth has four very distinct seasons and with each comes a choice to make. What sport I am going to do today? Luckily I own Leavenworth Mountain Sports and have access to all the new gear.
The fall is one of my favorite times of year in the Wenatchee Valley. The days are still long and warm but the nights and mornings are crisp and clean. All the bugs are gone, the larch trees have turned color and the Mountains have been deserted by all the tourists.
For me fall equals mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. The thought of getting into shape for ski season enters my mind. The climate in the fall makes those long days in the mountains comfortable. The fall colors are everywhere and the salmon are running in the river. Not to mention my kids go back to school and I have more selfish time for myself.
My favorite hike for the fall is the Enchantment Loop which is an advanced 23 mile loop through a chain of lakes up and over the famous Asgard Pass and out to the Snow Lakes trail head. This is a once a year hike which takes about six hours but I run most of the way. A slow hiker will try to plan on about 12 hours.
The rock climbing in the fall is perfect because of the dry weather and the perfect 65f-75f degree temperatures. The snow is all melted up high so you can access the big Alpine Routes easily and without bugs. My favorite and all time classic is the complete North Ridge of Mt. Stuart. The other classic would be Outer space and Orbit on Snow creek wall. To do both of these in one day takes about eight hours from door to door.
Mountain Biking was made for the fall in Leavenworth. Mountain Biking is such an aerobic sport that the crisp clean Fall of Leavenworth is perfect. Fruend Canyon, Devils Gulch, Tres Ambres, Zandoo and many more. You can contact James over at Das Rad Haus for all the details. My favorite is the Chickaman Trail system up at Lake Wenatchee. This is an endless system of loop trails gaining ridges, buffed single track and banked corners. Do not miss out on this experience.
Ok, stop me if I am talking to much because winter is my time. Skiing, skiing and skiing. Yes, there are other things to do here in the winter such as Ice Climb, build snowmen, look at the lights in Leavenworth, snowmobile, sleigh rides, ice skating but skiing is my passion and that’s what I want to talk about. Leavenworth has three Cross country ski locations within a couple miles of Leavenworth Mountain Sports. We rent all the gear you would ever need for any type of snow travel. Nordic, Backcountry and snowshoe. From just 5 miles to 45 miles from town you can access virgin backcountry slopes or two downhill ski resort. Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge. The most untapped resource in the valley has got to be the 250 miles of groomed trails from Leavenworth to Lake Wenatchee. These trails are groomed for snowmobile access but make a perfect cross country ski trail. There will be days that I take my dog out to the trail and skate ski for 30 miles on perfectly groomed snow and not see another person.
KAYAK, RAFT, SPRING SKIING… There is a lot more to do than this but I am sharing my passions with you. I have not talked about the rivers much but this drainage is one of the biggest sources of energy I have found in the Wenatchee Valley. The headwater at Lake Wenatchee is upstream about 20 miles as the crow flies and drains down through the Tumwater canyon. The river starts out class 2 but once it hits the grade of the Tumwater you can drive up and see this mystical class 5 river coursing through the valley. The Wenatchee River comes right through town and meets the Icicle Creek. These two rivers make one of the world’s best class three rivers for Kayaking and Rafting.
You can pay an outfitter to take you down in the spring and crash through 12 foot standing waves or bring your Kayak and play for twenty miles from Leavenworth to Cashmere. The best water is from the middle of May to the middle of July for whitewater play and creek boating. The Tumwater canyon and Icicle creek recede and become friendlier for a nice class four creek runs for kayakers. The rivers are clean and cold and hold a very powerful source of magic.
Spring skiing is everywhere, from the icicle canyon to Stevens Pass to the Trinity drainage. We have guided trips in the area through Northwest Mountain School. You can ski, kayak mountain bike and golf all in the same day.
KAYAK, SWIM IN THE RIVER. Leavenworth gets hot in the summer but the mornings and nights cool down so you can get your hiking, biking or other non-water oriented activities taken care of during these times. There are two things I care about doing during the heat of the summer and that are kayaking the Tumwater Canyon or park and play at happy wave or Grannies. The second thing is my all time most favorite thing to do: I take my family which is wife Cheryl, 5 year old Avery and 8 year old Lane to the River with our snorkeling gear, water and lunch. There are over twenty white sand beaches that form along the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers that I can think of. Most of these beaches are safe for swimming and snorkeling. There is a lot of beaches right in town such as Barn Beach. I like to go up stream to ‘triangle rock’ where we can snorkel, build sand castles, hike up stream on a nice trail and jump off some rocks into the river. Lane was jumping off thirty footer’s last year.
Leavenworth is a hidden secret and a gem waiting to be discovered but I think we have another ten years until we start seeing the crowds of Colorado, Yellowstone and such. I am a business owner and want to promote Leavenworth as one of the Worlds top outdoor recreation destinations but I love our little hidden secret so I am torn. Yes, you should come here and see for yourself and if you stop by the shop I will share my knowledge of the area with you but that does not mean I am selling the solitude of Leavenworth, I am just trying to find a balance. I want to share my passions with people. I am blown away and have a spiritual experience everyday I hop in the river, ski some powder, touch the Granite boulders, and whiz through the spring flowers. Come join us for the fun.