We knew nothing about Leavenworth before booking our stay at the Thousand Trails campground just outside of town, but with just a quick Google search, I knew we would have no trouble finding plenty of fun things to do during our visit.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style village in the Cascade mountains that has a very touristy appeal. Just driving into town, seeing the German references and architecture, it feels kitschy and is not the type of place we typically seek out, but we obviously had to at least check it out.
We started our visit in town with a less touristy stop: the fish hatchery. The setting of the hatchery is beautiful, with mountains all around, and it was fun to learn about and see the salmon. We happened to visit less than a week before the scheduled spawn, so we were able to see a lot of adult salmon that had made the long, treacherous trek up the Columbia River to the hatchery. The hatchery takes 500 male and 500 female fish for breeding, producing approximately 1.2 million fish per year.
We walked among the runs where we saw several stages of salmon, then made our way to see the adult salmon that are ready to spawn. They were so gorgeous and fun to watch.
The hatchery has a nature trail that meanders down by the adjacent creek (where you can see salmon ready to spawn trying to make it up the ladder to the hatchery), and while we did not walk the entire trail, on the short distance we explored, we saw two fawns still with spots, much to Bird’s delight. Per usual, she asked to see more and then remembered the exact spot where we saw them and looked for them on our return.
It was so much fun seeing salmon in the hatchery and in the wild just outside the hatchery’s door and fully understanding their incredible journey.
From the hatchery, we made our way into town. We stopped in a few shops but mostly made our way to get some German sausage and sauerkraut (it was lunch time, and I was hot on my way to getting hangry). We opted to sit in the patio they have added out front and had a front row seat to some incredible people watching.
After lunch, we decided to walk on to Enchantment Park to get Bird a little playground time. The park looked much closer on the map than it actually was, so we got a good workout pushing the stroller along some hilly streets in the heat.
The playground was really nice, but when Bird deemed all of the equipment “too hot,” we took a nice walk along the park’s trails, getting a good view of the river and seeing all the signs of black bear activity about every 10 feet on the trail.
One thing we had hoped to do during our time in Leavenworth was visit the Nutcracker Museum. However, we were limited on time (mostly the constraints of Bird’s nap schedule) and never made it back. From looking in the door and reading about it online, it looks like an awesome place to check out.
While Leavenworth is a little more touristy than we typically go for, we had such a fun day exploring the area. We just scratched the surface of what it has to offer, and I can just tell that there are certain times of the year when this place would be a rowdy fun time.