Chilling Out at Icicle Creek

Heading east for hot temps and idyllic basecamping

Given that it's summer, us chameleon-like Seattlites don't mind embracing a little heat and sunshine for a change of pace. If you like it really dry and hot, head for the Icicle Creek drainage outside of Leavenworth. With less than three hours of driving each way, you can have a beautiful campsite in ear- or even eye-shot of raging Icicle Creek, a white water torrent draining the upper snowfields of the Wenatchee National Forest. From an idyllic basecamp at one of six car campgrounds along Icicle Road off Highway 2 just west of Leavenworth, the world will be your oyster -- that is, if you like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding or even just crafting the perfect s'more. If you bring the kids, you can meander along the rocky riverbank right near your campsite and take occasional cooling plunges in the slower moving shallows. A kid-friendly hike around the Icicle Gorge Loop delivers some great swimming holes for those looking to leave the campground behind for a few hours.

TIP: The highly desired (car-accessible) campsites at Eightmile, Bridge Creek, Johnny Creek, Ida Creek, Chatter Creek and Rock Island along Icicle Road are first-come, first-served (except for a few reservable group sites), so get there by Thursday evening if you want your pick of the primo spots for the weekend).