LEAVENWORTH & COLCHUCK LAKE
What a unique little town. While having the chance to live only 2.5 hours from this town, we would have regretted not coming here. When we finally made the plan, it was kind of a last minute decision. I planned everything Friday morning before leaving Friday late afternoon.
DAY 1 FRIDAY 09.28.2018
We left from Kent, WA at 4pm with plans of getting dinner, walking around town, and finding some live music (there's plenty!). Here's what the evening looked like.
Walk around Leavenworth
Dinner @ Bavarian Bistro & Bar
Beer / Live Music @ Icicle Brewing
Camping on NF-7601
Leavenworth: It wasn't easy finding parking. It was very busy & touristy. There are paid lots but we did find street parking after circling around a couple times. The town is so unique and is modeled based on a Bavarian Village. There is no shortage of German food...that's for sure! As we walked around, we read every menu we walked by looking for a place to eat and ended up deciding on the Bavarian Bistro & Bar (see below)
Bavarian Bistro & Bar: We were trying to decide between here and Stein, which are right next to each other. Ultimately we chose this place and it was a great decision as the food was delicious. I can't remember what Leslie's dish was called. I tried searching online and it's not listed on their menu but it was sooo good. I got the reuben and it was fantastic. The waitress told me the reuben is "the reason we work here" and it was excellent quality. We sat in the bar, which was nice. It was open seating and the Sox game was on.
Icicle Brewing: We came here to sip on a beer and enjoy a little live music. We didn't want to stay too long cause we had to get ready for our big Saturday hike. I ended up ordering the chocolate stout (instead of the raspberry wheat) and it was enjoyable! They have plenty of patio seating (but it was busy) and it was great having the live music.
*TIP: Other places I found that have live music regularly are Der Hinterhor Beer Garden, Andreas Keller, Alley Cafe, & Bavarian Bistro.
Click HERE for Leavenworths' caldenar of events.
Camping on NF-7601: This is the road that takes you to the trailhead for Colchuck Lake (the hike we had planned for Satuday). From our experience, most National Forest roads allow free overnight camping, given there is a safe spot off the road to do so. Without knowing whether we'd find a spot, we headed up, shocked at how busy the roads were with cars parked all along the side of the road (at 10pm!). You're on the forest road for about 3 miles til you arrive at the trailhead. There was one terrific spot about .5mi up the road. It's a short downhill slope to an open space. We couldn't camp there though since it seemed full. We kept going and after another .5mi, we found a pulloff that was far enough off the road that it was safe. I didn't end up getting any photos of the spot (sorry!) but I got one FROM the spot.
*TIP: There were about 3-4 more spots similar to ours up the road.
**TIP 2: If you do not intend on hiking here, another free and legal place that you can camp that is even closer to Leavenworth is at the Lake Wenatchee Airstrip Sno-Park at [47.815961, -120.72633] We checked this spot on before our way home and we would stay here if we were to come back.
DAY 2 SATURDAY 09.29.2018
As you read from Day 1, the big plan for day 2 was to hike to Colchuck Lake. We were super excited for this since the pictures online are absolutely stunning. We woke up only 2 miles from the trailhead and got there before 8am. It was amazing how busy it was. Overnight, we heard cars ALL NIGHT driving up the road heading to the trailhead. We ended up having to park on the side of the road .5mi from the trailhead and the line of cars grew significantly by the time we left. Here is what we did for the day...
Hike to Colchuck Lake
Lunch @ Munchen Haus
Walk around Leavenworth (again)
Colchuck Lake Hike: This is not an easy hike, however, we saw people of all ages, shapes, and sizes who made it to the lake. If you want more detailed information about the hike, there is no better resource than wta.org. The hike is 8mi RT (plus however far away you have to park) and gains 2,280' of elevation. There are a few short flat parts but it is pretty much up, up, up and gets slightly steeper as you go. If you are capable of performing the hike, the end is unbelievable and incredibly rewarding. See photos below...
Munchen Haus: We planned to come here post-hike for sausages! This seems to be the most highly rated restaurant on the internet in Leavenworth so we definitely wanted to try it and it lived up to the hype. The sausages taste very fresh, are delicious, and affordable! I wasn't crazy about the pasta salad but the pretzel was great.
Walking Around Leavenworth: We ended up coming to Leavenworth during the Autumn Leaf Festival (last weekend in September) so it was super super busy. We had to park in a residential area a little ways away. Because of this, it took longer for us to get the post-hike lunch we had at Munchen Haus. But, it was also even more festive and it was fun to walk around one more time during the light of day before heading back to Kent.
I originally figured we'd stay Saturday night as well but we felt it was time to come home. I was excited to try J5 Coffee, which is very highly rated online, however, it doesn't open til noon on Sunday, which bummed us out. The only other thing we thought about doing was hiking Icicle Canyon but we were all hiked out from Colchuck Lake.
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