Leavenworth is widely known for its magical holiday season (rightfully so!). Others know the Icicle Valley for its incredible summer sunshine that brings long days, excellent hikes, and the refreshing coolness of the Wenatchee River. But what about sweet ol’ springtime? We’d be remiss if we didn’t fill you in on all of the joys you can experience during spring in Leavenworth and at Run of the River!
We've racked up a few of our favorite activities, places, and eats for your springtime enjoyment! There's always more good to go around in our neat little town, but we wanted to start you off with a few tried-and-true suggestions.
Can you spot three critters in this image?
1. Watch the Babies of the Refuge: By late spring, we start to see new life teeming about the refuge. Spotted fawn take wobbly steps that soon turn into awkward sprints around the banks of the high-water channel out back, ducklings float behind their mother duck, and eventually, the mama black bear brings her cubs to the end of the refuge where they play on the logs and forage for berries. Grab your binoculars and keep a keen eye out! Plan an afternoon patio picnic (a wildlife stakeout, if you will) and order one of our baskets with wine and cheese to keep you company.
Pro tip: Theresa, who has worked at the inn for nearly a decade, is an eagle-eye when it comes to spotting the bear. Keep an ear out for when she excitedly exclaims “bear!” during breakfast or in the afternoon when she is ready to clock out (both are prime bear-spotting times).
Pete Freund beautifully captured this little lady.
2. Bike or Drive the “Fruit Loop:” The Fruit Loop is a road that starts in Leavenworth just off of Highway 2 and weaves through the surrounding cities (Dryden, Peshastin, and Cashmere). It makes for an excellent biking route, but can also be driven if you’re more comfortable in the car. There are beautiful views, plentiful orchards brimming with blossoms in the springtime, and old historical sites (see if you can spot the train station, the old cemetery, and the original "downtown" Peshastin from the 1920s).
Pro tip: Did you see an elk?! Was it almost unbelievable how still it was and how perfectly it posed so you could take a picture of it in profile? Well folks, some things are just too good to be true. We had a few guests show us photos of the elk they spotted on their bike ride. One day we even saw it ourselves and almost fell for it! It appears that a funny neighbor enjoys getting everyone riled up with an elk statue on their property! It can be found near the train-station region of the Loop.
3. Check out Maifest: The second weekend of May is a big celebration each year in Leavenworth, as our little Bavarian town celebrates its roots! There is a Maipole ceremony, traditional Bavarian outfits and instruments are featured, and a giant parade of beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs kicks off the celebration! This year's Maifest takes place on May 11 - 13. Check here for availability at Run of the River.
Pro tip: Try to spot Nellie in the Maifest parade!
4. Try Out the Bikes: At Run of the River, we have 14 bikes that make their reappearance on the property each spring once the snow has melted and the sogginess soaks up. Grab a bike, a helmet, and hit the road! It’s perfect weather to enjoy the mile-and-a-half bike ride into downtown Leavenworth. You can also take the long way and travel the “8 Mile Loop” that takes you to the base of the mountains and into town from the west side. We can even provide bike locks for you to secure your transportation while you mosey around town for a bit – come ask us at the front desk!
Pro Tip: Don’t feel bad if the tandem bike doesn’t live up to your romantic-comedy-montage dreams. Most people barely make it to the end of the driveway before coming back for a single-seater bike. But don’t let that deter you from trying! It’s definitely worth giving it a shot.
5. Taste the Flavors of Spring: The city of Leavenworth hosts the pear-tacular “Spring Sensations” festival every spring to usher in the fresh flavors of the new season. You can find pear on many menus and in all sorts of treats – pear caramel, pear cider, pear glaze…find the “pearfect” spring flavor all around Leavenworth!
Pro tip: Have you ever had pear pie? The folks at Homefires Bakery make a delicious and subtle pear pie. A rare treat, even for pie aficionados!
Okay, we admit it...there's no pear pie in this shot! But these are indeed pies from Homefires Bakery and a sweet cake from another favorite, Cafe Columbia, at Wenatchee's Pybus Market.
6. Hike the Peshastin Pinnacles: You might have spotted the unique rock formation of tall crags while driving Highway 2 into Leavenworth from the east. Those are the Peshastin Pinnacles, and spring is the perfect time to give them a try! Due to their southwestern exposure, the Pinnacles are often too hot to hike in the summer. Plan to head out after breakfast at the inn, for the steep 1.5 mile trail and enjoy the views of Cashmere and Peshastin.
Pro tip: The Peshastin Pinnacles park is open during daylight hours and doesn’t require a permit (you can always check with ROTR staff at the front desk to see if permits are required for where you’re headed and we can get you what you need!).
7. Take a Wine Hike!: Traditional hiking not your thing? Take a wine hike! Let me say that again: Wine. Hike. You can enjoy the beautiful spring weather while walking the vineyards and orchards of the picturesque Icicle Ridge Winery. Enjoy a lunch in the shade catered by Smokeblossom. Wine Hikes are happening in June...grab your spot!
Pro tip: There's definitely more emphasis on the wine than the hike, so don't worry about bringing your trail shoes or carabiners!
The beautiful lodge at Icicle Ridge Winery
8. Bird Fest: When you think of majestic wildlife, do you picture our avian friends? Spring is a great season for birdwatching in the Icicle Valley, and the city of Leavenworth wants to equip you with lots of tools, knowledge, and fun! Visit the website for Leavenworth Spring Birdfest to signup and get more information about all of the great activities they have scheduled!
Pro Tip: Don't let the birdwatching stop just because you came back to the inn for the evening! We've got binoculars in each room along with a birding visual guide - great for novices who want to put a name to the feathered faces outside their window.
Thank you Pete Freund Photography for the always-incredible wildlife images!
9. Zip Lining: Looking for a bit of adventure this spring?! Head out to Mountain Springs Lodge for a zip lining tour that will give you an adrenaline rush, amazing views, and unforgettable memories. The guides are top notch - in humor and knowledge - and they have set up an incredible course! First timers and zip-lining-regulars alike will consider it a day well-spent. Check in with us and we'll be happy to set you up with our friends at Mountain Springs.
Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to try the fun challenges they give you...and drop the rubber duckie sooner than you think you should! (You'll see what we mean when you take the tour!)
10. Sit on a Patio: Enjoy the sunshine and the mountain views before it gets too warm out and the summer crowds swarm the town! Some of our favorite spots with great outdoor patios:
1. Wok About Grill: their west-facing upstairs patio has amazing mountain views
2. MunchenHaus: they remodeled their upper deck a few years ago and it's a perfect spot to grab a seat with a view
3. Icicle Brewery: their Front Street patio gives you all the great town vibes while enjoying a nice beverage
Pro Tip: Sunscreen! The nice breeze and cool evenings don't mean there isn't sun exposure! Make sure to protect your skin and bring a hat and sunglasses with you when headed outdoors.
The view from Wok About Grill, Downtown Leavenworth
We wish you a beautiful spring getaway at Run of the River and in Leavenworth! There is always something to enjoy and we love hearing about our guests' favorites. Come to the front desk anytime to learn more about anything mentioned here, or something else you've got on your mind. We've got maps, ideas, and recommendations galore! Cheers to spring in the Icicle Valley, friends!