I did this ride last year, and loved it. Now that spring is in the air, I wanted to enjoy a favorite route, with a few changes for the better: go earlier in the season, to see more snow on the peaks, and ride the loop counter-clockwise this time.
Because I’ve described the route before, I’ll keep this post short. I started at the L’worth Park and Ride, and left town immediately on the Chumstick Highway. I was a little bit surprised that it was seven miles until I was beyond Leavenworth’s outskirts; this was the end of the route last year and I must have been tired or distracted, because I felt like more of it was in undeveloped forest.
After the last of the development thins out, the road starts to gradually climb a small ridge, then falls quickly down to the edge of Plain, WA. Last year I felt like the descent would have been more fun taking the loop counter-clockwise, and it turns out it’s a lot more fun this way! There are a couple of hair-pin turns set up as switchbacks, and if you want to experience them at speed, go north from Leavenworth and approach Plain from the east heading west.
I stopped for a snack at the Just Plain General Store, ate in the sun, and got back on my way.
Lake Wenatchee is a beautiful lake, surrounded by high peaks and ridges. It’s especially scenic in the spring, when the mountains are snow-capped, and before the crowds arrive.
Unfortunately, between the fact that I’m not a morning person (it’s a long drive to Leavenworth from Seattle) and that I spent too much time enjoying lovely Lake Wenatchee, by the time I got to Tumwater Canyon, the sun had already set behind Icicle Canyon. This is why I leave a light set on my bike. Sadly, it’s also why these next two photos aren’t my best. Compare them to similar shots from last year.
From Cole’s Corner, there are 15 miles of Route 2, which go by pretty quickly with a little bit of help from our friend, gravity. And then I’m back in town.
Several of the rides I’ve described here have began in Leavenworth, and I’ve done plenty of hiking and rock climbing here, too. The secret to enjoying L-town is to avoid town. Still, after talking so much about the place, I felt I should show a picture of the town itself.
Finally, the map, and some proof that it was, in fact, pretty chilly!