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Jonathan Stull | 02.04.2017

Few things compare to a winter retreat in a quaint little mountain town, and Leavenworth, Washington, fits the bill. With restaurants and shops themed after mountain towns in Bavaria, holiday lights that grace the awnings and trees of Front Street Park, and abounding recreational opportunities for snowshoeing, skiing, and camping in the surrounding Cascade Mountains, a weekend away during the winter does not get better. Here’s everything you need to know for a few days out of the city and into the winter white!

Among the multitude of hotels and hostels, there are two winter camping options that you should consider. The Rustic Stone Cabin, just outside of Leavenworth, is a unique staging ground for winter adventures at the access point of the Enchantments. Although lacking in basic amenities like a shower, the cabin does offer comfortable accommodations typical of a camping environment. It is reservable by Airbnb. Whether or not you decide to stay, Lake Wenatchee State Park, just 20 miles outside of Leavenworth, is another ideal location to stage a winter retreat in Leavenworth. The North Campground and South Campground remain open during the winter, and both are sprawling with more than 150 sites between them.

The state park also offers groomed Nordic trails over paved roads at the North Loop and South Loop. Variety and length are greater at the North Loop, but the loops are interconnected. And just in case that is not enough: the south parking lot has a hill with a 70-foot drop for sledding!

Not far from Wenatchee State Park, the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Nordic trails are regularly maintained and groomed, and one pass opens access to all three, making these perfectly viable alternatives. Leavenworth Golf Course, with level terrain and fantastic views, cross-country skiing doesn’t get simpler or more accessible. Ski Hill is the most developed of the club trails, and it also includes more options for experienced skiers. Be sure to visit the lodge, downhill slope, and tubing center for a full day. Icicle River, like Leavenworth Golf Course, offers trails that are relatively level (though there are hill options) and offer wide views of the Cascades. It is ideal for mellow days or shaking up the routine.

For backcountry skiers, Eightmile Lake backcountry skiing is a great option. Though the approach is long, backcountry skiers will find skin-track all season long to dry snow and steep couloirs and chutes around the lake. Some terrain is available for less experienced skiers, as well. For a longer and more demanding snowshoe, Eightmile Creek snowshoe opens access to old-growth forest and wide views of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak await on a lengthy 13-mile jaunt.

Whatever you do, no visit to Leavenworth is complete without sledding at Front Street Park. When snow falls, Front Street Park becomes a quaint little sledding hill. Although small, with a 20-foot drop, the sledding hill is tucked between shops and restaurants, and it is decorated with holiday lights during the winter.


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