Here’s The Best Place to Stay in Leavenworth

She says: My family is not going to be happy that I’m sharing our secret camping spot, but it’s so special I can’t keep it to myself.

the aloha in leavenworth

Retro Cool

This beauty is a 1958 Aloha travel trailer that was owned for years by my grandparents, Kate and Guy. They spent a couple summers living in it while they built their dream retirement home near the Icicle River in Leavenworth, Washington, also known as The Bavarian Village.

Decades later, my grandfather sold it to a river guide, and the grandkids were so bummed. My brother, Chris, knew the guide and let him know that if he ever wanted to sell it back to us… well, we own this vintage rig now, and each summer, Chris pulls it up to the super secret spot on the Icicle for a few days of bliss. Steaks on the fire, red wine, the rush of the river and the wind in the trees, hikes up into the mountains. It’s like a soothing balm in this stressful world. A much-needed break from reality.

aloha cookout

Time to Start Planning

There’s still snow on the ground, but it’s not too soon to start making plans for that warm weather camping trip, is it? Where’s your favorite place to pitch a tent or park your camper van? The first 10 to reply will unlock the code for the secret camping spot in Leavenworth. Here’s the view. Pretty cool, right?

view from aloha site in leavenworth

More Leavenworth Recs

If you’re planning on exploring this region during the winter and are looking for awesome places to stay, here are a few of my faves:

Alpen Rose Inn is super cozy and features one of the best home-style breakfasts I’ve enjoyed at such an affordable accommodation. The cheesy hash brown casserole, pictured below, is hearty enough to get you through a trek up to the gorgeous Colchuck Lake. The talented culinary team also makes excellent desserts like New York-style cheesecake, served nightly. YAAAAS!

hash brown casserole at Alpen Rose Inn
Alpen Rose Inn’s home-style breakfast is excellent. Photo by Leslie Kelly

Icicle Village Resort is huge, with roomy condos in addition to the comfy suites. There’s lots to do on site, including a spa for that all-important pamper time. It’s also an easy 15-minute walk to downtown.

Sleeping Lady is a splurge, but so worth it. The grounds at this model of environmental sustainability feels like a walk in the woods, but there are plenty of creature comforts, too. Like the creative menu at the two restaurants, filled with produce grown in the resort’s expansive garden, where guests are welcome to wander.

sleeping lady garden
That’s the Sleeping Lady, viewed from the resort’s verdant garden. Photo via Facebook

Quick Hiking Fixes from Seattle: Cougar, Squak and Tiger

A lot of hikers in the Seattle area tend to ignore the Issaquah Alps peaks — Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains.

Until this year, the SkiZer was one of them. He thought, “Too close to the city. Not challenging enough. Boring.” It’s hard to admit, but the SkiZer was wrong.

In recent weeks, SkiZer has summited all three peaks and found things to love about each of them. And that thing about being close to the city is actually quite a benefit: A hiker from Seattle can get to the trailhead within minutes, pound out a great hike, and be finished in a couple of hours.

That kind of access is pretty amazing.

Here’s a look at those big three peaks looming above the city of Issaquah:

The summit of West Tiger No. 3.
Hiking the Section Line Trail on Tiger Mountain.
Near the summit of Cougar Mountain.
Lovely Wilderness Creek on Cougar Mountain.
Climbing “Maggie’s Way” trail on Squak Mountain.

Quick Escapes for Excellent Views Along I-90

What makes a great hike in the Washington Cascades? For most people, it involves climbing a mountain for a view or to see a waterfall.

That has been a challenge so far this spring. Cold temps, rain, snowy and muddy trails have delayed the start of hiking season for most people. But the SkiZer has been hitting it, going on a few lower-elevation hikes along I-90 east.

Here are a few excellent quick hits in the North Bend area to get that view fix:

Summit of Little Si near North Bend.
Mailbox Peak: Checking for delivery after a 4,000-foot vertical climb.
Rattlesnake Ledge on a cold day.
Asahel Curtis nature walk.
Cedar Butte
Looking at Mount Si from the Cedar Butte summit near North Bend.
Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.
A big plume at Snoqualmie Falls.
The Talus Loop Trail on Mount Si
Heading up the trail at Rattlesnake Mountain.

Great Early Season Hikes from East of the Cascades

Over the last few weeks, the SkiZer has shifted over to hiking for his mountain fix.

During a recent trip to the Methow and Leavenworth, the early season hiking was fantastic. Here are some of the highlights from the east side of the Cascades:

Peshastin Pinnacles near Wenatchee.
Snow Lakes Trail in Leavenworth.
The Penstock Trail in Tumwater Canyon near Leavenworth.
Patterson Mountain near Winthrop.
Blackbird Island in Leavenworth.
Icicle Ridge near Leavenworth.
Sun Mountain trails in the Methow.