Summer is over and so are all the plans that never got made. Fortunately, there are still a few weeks for redemption. All those lush, green, floppy leaves are color swapping into vibrant new palettes, ready to be appreciated.
One convenient aspect of searching for fall colors is how close they are to North Central Washington residents. A quick drive up Icicle Road near Leavenworth leads to hundreds of different trees, all with various hues.
From vine maple dotted roads to snow dusted yellow larches, there is enough to keep busy east of the Cascades.
Here’s a list for those interested in viewing this spectacle of fall colors, including some areas that involve venturing beyond the side of the highway.
Icicle Gorge Nature Loop
The Icicle Gorge Nature Loop takes hikers up over Icicle Creek. This trail is flat, fairly low elevation and only about 4.2 miles roundtrip. It is a good trail to take children on or anyone who does not want to do a dedicated hike. The trail starts in the woods, crosses over Icicle Creek and then meanders up along the river.
Old Pipeline Trail
The Old Pipeline Trail is one of the more visible local attractions, but it is still worth an afternoon. The trail’s easy path offers access to the Wenatchee River as it weaves through bright-colored shrubs. A small creek, ideal for rock hopping, flows into the trail less than a mile up.
The hike up to Icicle Ridge is steep but short. It also might be a little snowy; hiking gear, such as microspikes, could be useful to bring. All who conquer the uphill journey are gifted with a near 360-degree view of the valley. Those who are interested should head out to the trailhead soon before too much snow accumulates.
Hidden Lake by Lake Wenatchee
The casual walk to Hidden Lake leads hikers almost a mile through an open forest before reaching the lake. Trees along the water are ideally spaced for hammocking. A faint trail can be taken around the lake, leading to a forested waterfall, for those willing to bushwack a little.
Devil’s Spur Trail and viewpoint
The Devil’s Spur Trail is nestled in the hills behind Wenatchee and only a short drive up Squilchuck Road. Nature seekers can either watch the sunset atop nearby boulders or journey into the woods. The trail can be a bit chilly and will have a little bit of snow due to a relatively high starting elevation at 4,278 feet. Warm clothes are advised.
Dirty Face Lookout waterfall
In just under a mile, hikers can reach a waterfall cascading down the slopes of Dirty Face Mountain by Lake Wenatchee. The uphill walk, about 700 feet, passes through various trees and shrubs before opening up to a view spanning across the lake. Fall colors will be visible from the cliffside. The trail has a fair amount of uphill, but is a short distance to walk.
Waterfront Park to Blackbird Island to Enchantment Park
Fall colors are bountiful in Leavenworth, especially in its parks. Blackboard Island and its surrounding nature features riverside bridges, rows of yellow and red trees, a plethora of benches throughout and easy access from downtown.
Deadman Hill Road to Stine Hill Road
Aside from trails, Wenatchee also has an abundance of nature drives. Those looking to cruise up and down the hills of the Wenatchee Valley can roll on over to Dead Hill Road. The route leads through orchards and offers a couple of hilltop sunset stops.
Entiat River Road
Anyone wanting a less crowded area to seek out leaves should visit one of the many campgrounds bordering the Entiat River. Fox Creek, Lake Creek, Silver Falls and Spruce Grove campgrounds all offer solitude and access to nearby trails. Entiat River Road itself is bordered by trees and mountains.
Walla Walla Point Park to Wenatchee Riverfront Park
One of the easiest ways for locals to catch the last of this year’s fall colors is to take a stroll along the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail. There are many picnicking spots available between the parks. All that is needed is a warm coat and a little bit of sunshine.