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Leavenworth Detours

Scenic and Scrumptious Stops En Route to Leavenworth

If you’re donning a dirndl or lederhosen for a trip to Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest or planning a winter trip for Christmas festivities or the Bavarian Ice Festival, here are some stop-worthy places along the way, whether you’re driving from Seattle or Spokane.

stevens pass leavenworth fall colors credit istockdotcom bpperry 527014023
Keep an eye out for fall colors along Highway 2 through the Cascades

From Seattle

For Seattle-area drivers who are taking Highway 2 through the Cascade Range and want a bite before Stevens Pass, consider popping into Sultan Bakery for large portions and delicious baked goods, or take in mountain and water views at the River House cafe in Index (hours are limited after Labor Day). If you instead take the southern route through Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90, the Thorp Fruit & Antique Mall near Ellensburg is worth a detour for fresh fruit, locally made ice cream and a large selection of antiques for sale.

coulee city dry falls must credit istockdotcom 4nadia 529562747
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park

From Spokane

For Spokane-area drivers headed to Leavenworth via Highway 2, stop in Coulee City for all-day breakfast and scratch-made pastries and soups at Banks Lake Brew & Bistro.

A few miles away at Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park are the remains of an ancient 3.5.-mile-wide waterfall (pictured above) that was once nearly four times the size of Niagara Falls. Learn about the Ice Age floods that created the 400-foot-tall falls and other out-of-this-world geological features at the visitor center (check winter hours here) before a quick drive down to the lakes for a short hike or a round of mini golf at the nearby Sun Lakes Park Resort if you’re visiting in the fall.

From Spokane via I-90, there’s a pampering oasis at Cave B Inn & Spa Resort in Quincy. Relax at the spa, have brunch or dinner at Tendrils restaurant, or add a night to your trip in a yurt or one of Cave B’s unique cliff or cavern rooms overlooking the Columbia River. Be sure to check out the Cave B Estate Winery tasting room if you’re staying the night.

The two Spokane routes come together near Cashmere, where you can tour the Aplets & Cotlets candy factory or grab a nostalgic burger and shake at the ‘59er Diner inside Apple Annie Antique Gallery.

Check out our Getaway guide to Leavenworth before you go.

–Written by Cara Strickland Photo credits (from top):,

This story originally appeared in the September/October 2019 edition of the AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.

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