Northern Washington is filled with gorgeous mountains and amazing artisan food. Northern Washington offers a plethora of activities, ranging from the imposing peaks of North Cascades National Park to the vibrant atmosphere of Leavenworth, where outdoor enthusiasts can revel in an abundance of thrilling adventures. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Northern Washington.
1 | Hike, Rock Climb, and Eat in Leavenworth
Though the town can be touristy, there’s no denying that there are great foodie opportunities here. For more upscale travelers, which Leavenworth brochures seem to cater to, there are many inns, lodges, vacation rentals, and resorts.
The artisan food shops that fill the quaint Bavarian town of Leavenworth are perfect after relaxing or playing in the river that runs straight through town. Invest in some river tubes and ask the local mountain shops where to get in and out. For the less brave, go for an inner tube ride with Leavenworth Outdoor Center next to Der Hinterhof.
For amazing views and epic adventures, be sure to head up Icicle River Road which is filled with endless hiking, camping, and rock climbing. We love all the cheap forest camping and there is even a spot where RVers can free camp!After a fun day of climbing or hiking, we head to Icicle Brewing Company for good beer, good llanjager, and good vibes. Our favorite artisan food shop was Cured with great salami, cheese, sausage, and more. Pick up some coffee at J5. If you’re lucky and are visiting on a Thursday, stop by the fabulous, local farmers market at Little Lion Park.
Last, but definitely not least, brave the 19-mile distance and thru-hike The Enchantments. It will be the most beautiful hike of your life and likely the hardest.
2 | Boat and swim in Lake Chelan
The warm water of Lake Chelan in summer draws boating enthusiasts galore. And even if you don’t have a boat, Lake Chelan is perfect for inner tube floating or swimming. We loved playing at the Old Swimming Hole in Manson where you can swim out to the wooden pillars and jump into the lake.
Be sure to drive a bit north out of town to Blueberry Hills Farm where you’ll find blueberries, waffles, sandwiches, and pies galore.
3 | Camp & Hike in Stehekin
On the northern end of Lake Chelan lies Stehekin, which is part of the North Cascades National Park. Getting here can be a bit of a challenge though as it requires 4wd or you can take a boat or plane. But if you do make it out this far, there are so many incredible hikes and backpacking trips you can do and the camping is epic!
4 | Explore the Wild West Town of Winthrop
The town of Winthrop has been restored to the look and feel of the “old west” and is a good place to stop and eat at one of the great bakeries, breweries, or restaurants. It’s also a wonderful destination if you are looking for adventurous things to do in Northern Washington like hiking, mountain biking, or inner-tubing.
The RV Parking lot just Northwest of town is where we saw a lot of people getting in to float down the river. Since we did not get a chance to experience it ourselves you’ll have to ask one of the local shops about where people usually get out.
5 | Photograph Liberty Bell & Hike By Washington Pass
This right here is the pot of gold in Northern Washington if you love mountains as I do. Be sure to stop at the Washington Pass overlook to bask in the towering splendor of the Liberty Bell. If you Trad climb, don’t miss the opportunity to multi-pitch this beast on the relaxing 5.6 route acceded from Blue Lake Trailhead.
Hikers will love all the trails there are to explore around Washington Pass. From Rainy Pass Trailhead be sure to explore Maple Pass, one of our Favorite Hikes in the PNW. If you’re traveling in an RV, the Rainy Pass Trailhead does allow overnight parking but not camping.
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Mountain bikers will love to take on the challenge of Cutthroat Pass feel the burn in your legs and take in the beauty at the top of the Pass where the trail meets the PCT.
6 | Camp & Hike in North Cascades National Park
Explore stunning views in North Cascades National Park, from Diablo Lake’s teal waters to idyllic camping at Colonial Creek campground.
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Interestingly, North Cascades boasts more glaciers than Glacier National Park! However, accessing them can be challenging since several of the most breathtaking hikes are only reachable with 4WD vehicles.