Leavenworth’s prime location within the stunning Cascade Mountains provides plenty of opportunities for an exciting outdoor adventure. In fact, most locals believe a visit to Leavenworth is wasted without taking the time to explore beyond the Bavarian-style village.
One local hotspot that makes it easy to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in one place is the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.
Once the largest fish hatchery in the world, this Leavenworth attraction is now frequented by visitors and locals alike for its wide array of things to do and fantastic events.
Read on to learn more about the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and the best ways to spend your day in this beautiful location.
Also, don’t forget to request your FREE copy of our Leavenworth Vacation Guide to discover even more local activities and attractions such as nearby hiking trails, restaurants, museums, shopping, and more.
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Overview of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery is just one of four Leavenworth Fisheries Complex locations. The organization was created in the early 1940s to mitigate the negative effects of the Grand Coulee Dam, fulfill treaty agreements with local tribes, and meet production obligations.
Today, the complex carries on in its mission by restoring habitats for native fish and researching them.
In 1940, the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery was the first hatchery of the Leavenworth Fisheries Complex to open its doors. At the time, it was also the largest fish hatchery in the world!
The hatchery is perfectly located along Icicle Creek and welcomes visitors all year round to take tours, learn more about the salmon life cycle, and immerse in the natural beauty of the Cascade Mountains.
The Best Things to Do at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
1. Hatchery Tours
Self-guided tours of the hatchery are available any time of year! You’ll be warmly invited to wander the hatchery, learn about the fish species that are raised there, and witness thousands of young salmon swimming in the raceways and ponds.
Employees of the hatchery are usually taking care of the fish, so you’ll always be welcome to ask any questions that you might have about the fish or the hatchery.
Guided group tours can also be arranged at least two weeks in advance by calling 509-548-7641.
Many fishermen visit the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery to access the boat ramp into Icicle Creek. This comes as no surprise considering this is one of the best spots for fishing in Leavenworth!
If you’re hoping to enjoy a fly fishing excursion during your visit, the boat ramp can be accessed by turning left on East Leavenworth Road from Icicle Road. When the road curves left, exit onto a lane that continues straight. You’ll continue a short way, turn right through a gate, and left toward the boat ramp.
Please keep in mind that the hatchery closes access to the boat ramp on days with low water flow in an effort to protect the salmon nests. Be sure to call 509-548-7641 to ensure it will be open!
3. Icicle Creek Nature Trail
The Leavenworth Fish Hatchery Trail, better known as the Icicle Creek Nature Trail, is a part of the nationally recognized Watchable Wildlife Site Program, National Recreation Trail, Cascade Loop, and the Audubon Society’s Great Washington State Birding Trail.
The non-strenuous route is easily accessible and offers an excellent opportunity to see several species of fish and birds in their natural habitat. It is also equipped with wildlife viewing platforms, resting benches, and interpretive signs for a fun, relaxing, and brief stroll through the wilderness.
4. Winter Snowshoe Tours
From December 21st to January 26th, the hatchery offers free guided snowshoe tours through the snow-laden mountains. Snowshoeing is a great way to discover our region’s awe-inspiring winter landscape and make fun memories with your loved ones.
Tours are held on Fridays at 1 pm and Saturdays at 10 am and 1 pm.
Be sure to call in advance to reserve your spot for these tours!
5. Pollinator Garden
Installed in 2016, this new addition to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has drawn a plethora of national attention in a very short period of time. In fact, it has earned an award from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
The Pollinator Garden is 2,400 square feet and is located in front of the main hatchery building. It was built with the goal of creating a safe pollinator and monarch butterfly habitat that can be used to educate students and the public about their importance in nature.
All plants within the garden are native species and were specifically chosen to provide nectar for the butterflies, bees, and other pollinators that reside within it.
6. Wenatchee River Salmon Festival
Each fall, the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery hosts the popular Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, a two-day event that celebrates the return of salmon and Leavenworth’s Native American culture.
The wide variety of things to do during the event gives students, teachers, and visitors a hands-on learning experience about our natural world and the significance of salmon to the ecosystem and people of the Northwest.
From family-friendly activities and outdoor recreation to authentic Native American ceremonies, this festival is sure to become one of the highlights of your Leavenworth experience.
Book the Ultimate Leavenworth Vacation With Pine River Ranch
With so many wonderful things to do in Leavenworth, you’ll definitely need more than one day to fulfill everything on your wishlist. Why not make a vacation out of your visit and book your stay at our rustic bed and breakfast and wedding destination.
Our inn is known for its romantic and peaceful atmosphere located just minutes from downtown Leavenworth. During your stay, you and your sweetheart can look forward to comfortable accommodations in our unique suites, luxury amenities, and a piping hot breakfast delivered straight to your door each morning.
For a private and romantic retreat, we highly recommend our Ponderosa Suite. Enjoy the simplicity of a wonderful suite, comfortable bed, and tranquility of nature with an extra-large bathroom, beautiful views, and a stand-alone fireplace.
You may also want to check out our list of irresistible vacation packages and specials. These incredible offers allow you and your loved ones to experience even more of Leavenworth, WA in an easy and affordable way.
Book your favorite room with us today! We look forward to welcoming you to Pine River Ranch soon.