Tumwater Dam is located in Tumwater Canyon on Highway 2, just a few miles west of the Bavarian destination of Leavenworth . This is a historic dam and is often overlooked because of its size. It’s not only an interesting attractionbthough, it’s also located in a very scenic location.
On my last stop there I became a little focused on the metal life ring holder mounted on the railing at the dam’s viewpoint. It has a very cool look to it, especially with the rapids of the Wenatchee River trailing off behind it. It got me thinking about why it’s there. Yes, to rescue someone. But to rescue someone at that spot someone else has to think it’s a good idea to disregard the posted DANGER signs and instead jump into a cold, mountain, boulder-filled river either right above or right below a concrete dam. Not smart.
Cool contrast with the surrounding scenery though.
Lake Wenatchee sits high in the Cascade Mountains, in between the community of Leavenworth and the Stevens Pass Summit, just five miles off of Highway 2. This is another of the many fun places in Washington’s Cascade Mountains that are enjoyable all year long.
The easiest way to access the lake is at Lake Wenatchee State Park. Here, you will find parking and a large beach area, in addition to a camp store, play toys, boat dock, and a large campground. The water is cold and clear, having just drained down to the lake from the melting snow in the surrounding mountains. One of the top draws to the lake for us is of course the water. I like to bust out the kayak and make the quick trip from the wide open beach area to a small island that sits just offshore. After some time exploring the island, I can easily cruise right on up the north shore of the lake and return to the beach over open water.
Other ways to enjoy the water include boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, and more. The water exits the lake at the start of the Wenatchee River and this first stretch is popular with rafters and kayakers too. It usually is not too hard to find a place to rent any water equipment you might need.
In addition to the campsites, there are lots of picnic spots at the state park too. Driving the highway around the north side of the lake is a fun way to extend the road trip a little further. If you have a good map, you can even find a forest service road that will take you from the west end of Lake Wenatchee, up and over the mountain range to the south, and out on Highway 2, just a few miles east of the Stevens Pass summit.
A visit to Lake Wenatchee is a great idea, both as a destination for spending the night as well as just a stop before continuing east or west across the Cascade Mountains.
The Wenatchee River flows from Lake Wenatchee to the Columbia River, and along the way passes some of the most incredible scenery, attractions, and locales in Washington. One of those locales is Leavenworth. This little Bavarian themed city has been one of the more popular tourist attractions in Washington for years… and there are a lot of reasons for that.
Leavenworth is home to a year round festive atmosphere, some incredible food, top notch scenery, and friendly locals who just wait to welcome you in. The shopping opportunities there are legendary too. Whether going for an afternoon, a weekend, or a longer stay, you can easily have a great time in Leavenworth.
My last visit to Leavenworth saw me staying at the River’s Edge Lodge, which is east of town. I bring this up because it ties in both of the above subjects. During my stay, I ate some of the best bratwursts ever, picked up a couple of very cool gifts, and I even danced a polka in public (yeah, you read that right). What I also got to do though was stay right on the banks of the Wenatchee River.
It was very cool, as the sun went down, to sit outside and hear the water rush by and watch it do what it has been doing for centuries. The River’s Edge Lodge was very clean, very comfortable, and worked perfectly for my weekend in Leavenworth.
I’ve got to take some polka lessons though before I head back to Leavenworth.