Outside of its charming Bavarian theme, it’s abundance of wine tasting rooms, and unique boutiques, the town of Leavenworth, Washington offers incredible outdoor recreation in its surrounding mountainous wilderness.
Outdoor recreational activities that are available for Leavenworth visitors include floating the Wenatchee river, rock-climbing, golf, horseback trail riding, bird watching, and of course hiking. Leavenworth is located near the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the Wenatchee National Forest, both of which have an endless supply of gorgeous trails and hiking destinations. Some of the more popular hikes in the area include Snow Lakes, Eight Mile Lake, and The Enchantments. Without a doubt, one hike that should be on any visitor’s bucket list is Colchuck Lake.
Colchuck Lake trail is rated as a more difficult hike, and yes, it does break a sweat! However, the exercise is exhilarating, the trail is gorgeous, and the view of the lake is so breathtaking that any step uphill and over jutting rocks and roots is worth it. The trail to Colchuck Lake winds through impressive boulders and follows the bustling Mountaineer Creek, of which you can get a great view of from a sturdy built log bridge. In the spring and summer months, there are vivid wildflowers and some hikers are lucky enough to find wild huckleberries. At the breach of Fall, the foliage of the forest floor is delicately painted with warm hues of yellow, orange, and red. When not so near to the creek, there is a peaceful silence on the trail that allows one to enjoy and really take in the scenery around them. As far as wildlife, a hiker will likely glance many whistling birds that travel from tree to tree, the scurry of chipmunks and squirrels, and there is a very good chance that they will spot a mountain goat or two when close to the lake.
When one reaches the lake, the experience is overwhelming. Towering about the bright, aquamarine-colored water is the jagged Dragontail Peak. There is a glacier to the left of the peak and surrounding the lake are many pine trees and granite rocks for hikers to rest upon to relax and take in the landscape before them. It is too cold to swim in the fall, but during the hot summer months, the lake is a perfect way to cool down after such a tough journey to reach such a beautiful spot.
The hike to Colchuck Lake is truly a rewarding experience that stays with anyone who has ventured into the wilderness to find it. The trailhead is only about a 40 minute drive from the downtown of Leavenworth, Washington, so one could easily come back into town to celebrate a momentous day of hiking by grabbing a crisp cold beer from Icicle Brewery, or from Stein, a hip little spot that offers beers from all over the state and live music in the evenings.