We have all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” right? In the case of Leavenworth, Washington, this phrase couldn't be more applicable. Don’t be fooled by the town’s somewhat hokey Bavarian-themed streets and kitschy touristy shops; this area is a rock climbing, white water, and hiking destination with incredible mountain scenery and opportunities to get outside.
The town has its roots in logging and railroads, but when those industries fizzled out in the early 1900s, Leavenworth was well on its way to becoming a ghost town. In the 1960s, the townspeople decided to put their community back on the map as a tourist destination by transforming it into a German-style village that looks like it was plucked right out of the southern Alps and dropped right into the Cascades.
The Bavarian theme was just what the town needed to get back on it’s feet. Sure, there are plenty of tourists traps throughout the town, but now, just as many people come for the great outdoors surrounding this area as they do for pretzels and Oktoberfest.
Speaking of Oktoberfest, there’s no better time to visit Leavenworth than in the fall. The town comes alive with outdoor celebrations, German beers and dancing, a fun half marathon with participants dressed to the nines in lederhosen and dirndls. And best of all, the fall colors and cooler temperatures are ideal for outdoor pursuits.
The official Oktoberfest dates for 2017 are September 29-30 and October 6-7 and 13-14, but this destination is perfect for a long weekend getaway throughout the autumn season.
Here are a few ideal adventures for this time of year in and around the town: