Leavenworth, Washington is a scenic Bavarian styled village of about 2,500 residents in the central part of Washington State. It is one of the state's most popular tourist destinations. It lies in the Wenatchee River Valley with mountains rising nearly 7,000 feet above the city nearby. Leavenworth's natural beauty, abundant recreation including camping, bicycling, rafting, kayaking, hiking, golfing, and skiing, and wide range of festivals and events attract nearly two million visitors a year.
Leavenworth has a true four-season climate. It is on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, in a much drier, more continental climate that in the Seattle area, two and a half hours to the west. On average, its winter high temperatures are about ten degrees colder than Seattle and its summer high temperatures are about twelve degrees warmer than Seattle. Leavenworth averages twenty-four inches of precipitation per year, a large percentage of which falls as snow. Seattle, in comparison receives an average of thirty-seven inches or precipitation. Leavenworth has a variety of tree species including Ponderosa Pines.
In the winter, Leavenworth's high temperatures are typically in the 30's and 40's with lows near 20 degrees. Leavenworth receives the vast majority of its annual precipitation between October and March. It average ninety-five inches of snowfall per year and is one of Washington State's snowiest cities. Usually snow is on the ground in Leavenworth all winter long. The town has a nearby ski area, the Leavenworth Ski Hill just a few minutes away and Mission Ridge Ski Resort and Stevens Pass Ski Area are both within an hour's drive. In the 2010 Winter Olympics, Leavenworth native and cross-country skier Torin Koos represented the U.S.
In spring, Leavenworth's temperatures typically rise into the 60's and 70's with low temperatures in the 30's and 40's. Leavenworth's low temperatures do not average above freezing until April. Spring mountain snowmelt creates excellent rafting conditions in the Wenatchee River.
Summers are warm and sunny in Leavenworth. The town is very busy on summer weekends as people flock to the area to inter-tube on the Wenatchee River, shop in Leavenworth's quaint shops, or take in a summer music festival. Temperatures are typically in the 80's to near 90 degrees in the summertime, but it does occasionally reach the one hundred degree mark. Temperatures cool off at night to near 50 degrees.
Fall is a beautiful season in Leavenworth. The leaves along the Wenatchee River turn bright red and orange and the town celebrates salmon days. During the first three weekends in October, the city holds its annual Oktoberfest Celebration, featuring live Bavarian music, authentic food, and of course beer. It is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world outside of Germany. Temperatures plunge rapidly in Leavenworth in autumn falling from an average of high of 78 degrees in September to 34 degrees in December.
Leavenworth is one of the most beautiful places in the country in the month of December. The town's Bavarian styled facades and trees are lined with beautiful Christmas lights, often accented with a layer of snow. Leavenworth was featured in 2007 on ABC's Good Morning America program as one of the prettiest Christmas towns in the United States.
During the first three weekends in December, the city holds its annual Christmas Lighting Festival. On Friday nights during the festival the town is in darkness awaiting the arrival of the lighting on Saturday evening. At dusk on Saturdays, everyone gathers to sing “Silent Night” and witness the lighting. The town is lit with a holiday glow. There is also Christmas Carolers, holiday personalities in the streets, and sleigh rides.