Icicle Ridge

Icicle Ridge

Elev. Gain: 
1,650 ft.
High: 
3,022 ft.
Where:
Leavenworth, WA
Distance: 
4.75 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: 
Strenuous
Rating: 
3
A strenuous uphill trail leading to nice views of Leavenworth and the surrounding area
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Features

Overview

The charming town of Leavenworth is a place to relax, stroll slowly, and enjoy sunshine while wandering through Bavarian-style stores and restaurants. But when the need for physical activity asserts itself, many visitors and locals take to Icicle Ridge Trail, which leads to a vantage point just west of town. Often free of snow in April or May, this is a wonderful place to admire wildflowers—such as glacier lilies, Tweedy’s lewisia, and balsamroots—and to see rivers and valleys below.

The trailhead is located at the northern point of the gravel loop that also serves as the parking lot. Begin ascending immediately through pine and shrub, gaining elevation steadily on a moderate incline that features switchback after switchback (we counted 18 total on our gps). Pace yourself and enjoy the shaded lower section of the trail.

At about 1.75 miles, the trail climbs into thinner forest (result of a recent wildfire) and begins to offer sweeping views of the valley below. It's also here that you'll finally be able to see the top of the ridge that is your destination – take heart that you are getting closer!

Upon reaching the saddle at the top of the ridge at just over 2.0 miles, catch your breath, and then turn right (northeast) and walk another quarter-mile to a lookout point just north of the crest of the ridge. Below you (from left to right) are the Wenatchee River, Tumwater Canyon, Leavenworth, Icicle Canyon, and Icicle River. Most people call it a day here, but there is plenty more ridge to explore if you have the energy – head back to the saddle and then continue on the bootpath southwest, gaining more elevation and views the further you go.

Permits & Tips

Northwest Forest Pass required. No toilets or water available at trailhead or on trail. Bring plenty of water. Visitors should self-register at the trailhead. Come very early in the day to watch the sun rise, or come later in the afternoon when the sun has gone behind the east-facing hill. The trail stays surprisingly shaded for the first two thirds, but the upper portions are exposed to sun. Temperatures can be quite hot later in the summer. Although strenuous, proximity to town makes this a good option for families – consider doing a partial hike or allowing yourself plenty of time to make it to the top.

>>Google Directions

How to get there

Head east on Highway 2 over Stevens Pass. Immediately before entering Leavenworth, turn right onto Icicle Road. Continue 1.4 miles to the sign for Icicle Ridge trailhead. Turn right, then make a quick left, and then a quick right into a gravel loop road which serves as the parking lot. (Helpful homemade signs may guide the way.)