Monday, June 28, 2010

Icicle Creek, Leavenworth, Washington

This weeks post is on Icicle Creek which is just a couple of ridges over from the Chiwawa River Valley.  It is just outside the tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is a tourist town with high peaks all round and a Bavarian village theme.  We look at Leavenworth as a unique "resort town boondock".  Great mountain scenery, close to great shopping, dinning, music and arts productions.  Where else can you camp in a Forest Service campground and be minutes away from dinner at a fancy restaurant and later watch a live production of the Sound of Music in an outdoor setting complete with snow capped peaks in the background?

As mentioned there are lots of Forest Service campgrounds in the Icicle Valley.  These sites are popular during the summer months with residents of western Washington so reservation might be a good idea.  Check with the Wenatchee River Ranger District for information on campgrounds:  Wenatchee River Ranger District Campgrounds   The campground spurs are rather short in most cases.  If you have a large rig you might want to look at the group campgrounds or the private campgrounds.

There are a couple of group campgrounds that are well worth booking if they are available.  Bring along some friends and stay in the group campgrounds.  They are the best deal in public land camping.  Again, check with the Ranger District.  There is ONE small boondocking location in Icicle Creek.  You must stay in a campground otherwise.  This area is just east of Johnny Creek Campground.  That is the Icicle Creek Road on the left.  NO campfires at this spot.

There are several private campgrounds in Leavenworth if you need more services.  We think Thousand Trails in the nicest, but we have not stayed there only came by for a visit.

The hiking is great in the Icicle Valley particularly if you do not mind UP.  The Icicle Gorge Trail is a gentle stroll for those that do not want to scale the heights!  A discount pass or the Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at trailheads.  Fishing is allowed in Icicle Creek above the fish hatchery, but it is all for small fish.  If you are a rock climber there are some great climbing areas. Drive up the Icicle Creek Road and bicycle down while gravity provides the locomotion for your bicycle.

Visit the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery outside of town for a interesting free stop.
Here is the web site:  Leavenworth Fish Hatchery.  If you are in Leavenworth in late September be sure to visit the Salmon Festival.  Grab a kid to take with you.  It is a great event and FREE.  Wenatchee River Salmon Festival  Oh, the Fish Hatchery has an interesting gift shop that helps support the hatchery and is well worth the visit.

The Leavenworth area has a unique summer theater.  Leavenworth Summer Music Theater  The shows tend to get sold out early.  So visit the web site and get tickets early.  However, for those last minute folks patron tickets are resold the day before the performance.  Those are actually the best seats and we have managed to get tickets on several occasions.  It does cool down quickly at night, so bring some warmer clothes for later at night.  Camping and music theater, not many places where you can do both!

A new addition to Leavenworth is the Wineries.  They are not yet in the class of the Walla Walla Valley, but getting closer to the Napa Valley in quality.  Guide to Leavenworth Area Wineries

For that all important dinner out we recommend Visconti's in downtown Leavenworth Visconti's Italian Restaurant  They were selected as one of the top 100 restaurants by the Wine Spectator.  We actually prefer their Wenatchee location since it is quieter than the Leavenworth restaurant, but the food is outstanding in both locations.  My favorite is the Applewood Shrimp dish.

For lunch we recommend Gustav's.  Gustavs  Their onion domes above their building always make me feel like I am going to be attending the Orthodox Church of my youth.  However, on a warm sunny day grab one of the tables upstairs and watch the snow covered peaks while drinking a cold beer.  They serve primarily bar food, but after a long backpack burgers and fries are mandatory to replenish the body.

Leavenworth is also home to Woody Goomsba the world's most famous nutcraker.  Here is Woody in his hit perfomance of Gitcha Goomsba Up.  He also stars in Woody Falls in Love and Woody at Der Spa.  There is a Nutcracker museum in Leavenworth and I am sure that they will be selling your "own" personal Woody Goomsba nutcracker soon.  Go now before you have to wait in line to get into the Nutcracker Museum.

Lots more to do and see in town.  Be sure to explore the town's web site:   Leavenworth, Washington

This is a web site with current events and a slightly different format than the Chamber site above.  It is more user friendly than the chamber site:  Accidental Bavarian

Leavenworth, Washington a resort town for campers.  If your not into camping rent our vacation home just outside of Leavenworth.  Camas Meadows Lodge.  Be sure to click on the Almost Live webcam link to see Camas Meadows at different times of the year. 

For keeping track of friends and family while exploring Icicle Creek and Leavenworth check out the review of these radios.

 US Backroads Review of Handheld Radio's

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