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Is Leavenworth the place?

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Los Angeles...
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Is Leavenworth the place?

We have to be in Seattle the first weekend in June. We are coming into SEA 3 days early and were looking for a place with scenery, character and good beer where we might do some easy to moderate hiking. Is Leavenworth that place? Is there enough to occupy us for three days? I especially love waterfalls. Any nearby? All comments appreciated. Thanks.

western WA
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1. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

It is still pretty snowy cold and rainy in the mountains in early June. But you should be able to hike in at lower elevations. We have had a huge snow year this year -- the most snow in 30 to 50 years, I read. There are many waterfalls on the west side of Stevens Pass. Wallace Falls is the grandaddy, and is a state park. If you go to the Washington Trails Association website Find a Hike section and select Central Cascades and Stevens Pass, you will find quite a few waterfalls. As to trail condition, I would call the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie Ranger Station in Skykomish when the time gets near. You will need a Discover Pass from the state to park at the state parks, and a Northwest Forest Pass to park at Forest Service trailheads.

If you search Central Cascades and Leavenworth, you'll see the hikes over there. There is usually less snow on the eastern slope than the western.

Woodinville wouldn't be a terrible place to base a western slope set of hikes. Snohomish might also work for you. Monroe has hotels and at least one brewery (Twin Rivers at Adam's Restaurant), and will put you closest to the mountains, but it isn't as touristy.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

Thanks for the info. I'll check these places out.

western WA
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3. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

Plan on getting wet feet. Bring along your most waterproof boots, spare socks, etc. A water proof (not water resistant) parka or poncho is a good idea, and you'll appreciate having a good waterproof hat. Things can be slippery, so trekking poles are also a good idea. They sell them at Costco here for $25, if you don't want to hassle with them on the airplane (can be donated to the Goodwill or something after you're done).

We still go out in all weathers so I'm not trying to dissuade you, but to help you prepare.

4. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

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Seattle, Wa
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5. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

Leavenworth sounds like it fits the bill for you. June should be nice, not too crowded, and with some hiking options. Definitely do the Icicle Gorge Trail--it's lovely. Leavenworth will have scenery and beer, though the "character" is definitely contrived and touristy.

www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/icicle-gorge-loop

I agree that hiking to Wallace Falls, or to Bridal Veil Falls, would be a good leg stretcher along the way.

www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/bridal-veil-falls

I can easily spend 3 days in that area--check out a tourist website for lots of ideas. Another area to go to would be the Methow Valley--Mazama or Winthrop. There are breweries, fantastic scenery, and plenty of spring hikes and waterfalls. It's a longer drive, but I think it's worth it, AND you'd drive over the North Cascades Hwy to get there, which will have countless waterfalls right down to the highway that time of year. I love the drive in spring for that reason. http://www.winthropwashington.com/

Here's an extremely detailed website about area waterfalls:

http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/

(Ainwa, the only records we might break this year are for lack of snow! Recent storms have gotten us almost to normal snowpack, but it's been a terrible year for us skiers).

Washington
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6. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

Hi pvmeistrel,

I visit Leavenworth a couple times a year, and wanted to comment that while Leavenworth is in an absolutely stunningly beautiful area, and worth a visit, Leavenworth itself is a "faux" Bavarian town, developed many years ago to attract tourists. The town has a mix of touristy shops, average (mediocre) restaurants, and huge tour buses. I am not sure that's the character you are looking for. I may stop in town briefly, but it's way to "tour-bus touristy" for me - it's the outdoor activities that I enjoy. If you have the budget, up a winding road, Mountain Home Lodge is fabulous. More budget friendly, the Sleeping Lady is a good option. There may or may not be enough to occupy you for 3 days - certainly enough hiking, but that can vary too depending on the weather and your interests.

As Christy1 suggested, the Methow Valley is, in my opinion, more charming, and certainly as beautiful - that would be my choice.

Regarding beer. Washington state has wonderful beer and craft breweries through the state, so, pretty much most places you visit will have a good selection of beer or a local brewing company. There is Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth - again, decent, though not extraordinary. Leavenworth is part of the Columbia Valley/Lake Chelan growing region, and there are a quite a few wineries in the area where you can taste wine, if that is of interest.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

In close to the same amount of time that it would take you to get to Leavenworth or the Methow Valley, (give or take half an hour) you could get to the Columbia Gorge, which is craft beer and waterfall heaven in June. Stay at McMenamin's Edgefield in Troutdale - http://www.mcmenamins.com/edgefield - onsite brewery, winery, distillery, spa, restaurants, umpteen pubs, golf, movie theater, funky art all over the place...

The Columbia Gorge has many waterfalls, hiking trails and many things to see, Hood River is the "wind surfing capital" of whatever, and there are several craft beer producers and brewpubs in Hood River. June is the perfect time - lots of water in the waterfalls, spring flowers in the Hood River Valley with Mount Hood looming overhead, and if you need some sun, an hour east through the Gorge you're in sagebrush country, with more wineries and the surprising and eclectic Maryhill Museum - http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/ - and its fake Stonehenge.

It's a terrific destination for a three-day visit. If anything, Portland is much more a beer town than Seattle, and no sales tax.

Gorge - http://gardyloo.us/20100509_5a.JPG

Hood River Valley - http://gardyloo.us/20100509_85a.JPG

Latourelle Falls, one of many on the Oregon side of the Gorge - http://gardyloo.us/latourellefallshdr1.jpg

western WA
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8. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

That is a great idea.

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

I appreciate the idea for Columbia Gorge and we've done that twice. We really enjoyed it. Since we will be further north, we thought it was time to explore what WA has. I appreciate the suggestion though.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Is Leavenworth the place?

The problem with the Cascades is that this is turning into a very snowy winter, and by June you might well find yourselves in areas where there's still a fair amount of snow on the ground, but it's "rotten" - hard to hike, wet, etc. No guarantees of course.

Have you visited Snoqualmie Falls? It's just east of Seattle (half an hour or 40 min.) and will be equally splendid in June. From there you could head over the mountains to Cle Elum/Roslyn (funky to high-end accommodations) and/or take US 97 over Blewett Pass to Leavenworth, but then carry on an hour or so to Chelan, where it will be warmer. The next day, take the Lady of the Lake up beautiful Lake Chelan to Stehekin, from which there are great hikes to waterfalls, etc. You could put together a very nice outing including some great scenery and interesting little towns.

http://www.ladyofthelake.com/

www.ladyofthelake.com/index.php?page_id=210

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