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A Beginner's Guide to Hiking the Icicle Ridge Trail

Are you looking to explore the beautiful Icicle Ridge Trail in Leavenworth, Washington? If so, then you've come to the right place! This beginner's guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most out of your Icicle Ridge Trail experience.


We'll discuss the trail's length and difficulty, what to bring, and a few tips to help you stay safe and have fun. So grab your hiking gear, and let's get started on our journey to discover the breathtaking views of Icicle Ridge Trail!


The Icicle Ridge Trail is a 5.1-mile hike that leads to incredible views of Icicle Canyon and Bavarian Leavenworth. It's incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike. Make sure to get there early or you may be fighting the crowds for a parking spot!


Parking at Icicle Ridge Trailhead

The Icicle Ridge Trailhead has a ton of parking (compared to other trailheads).


If you can't find a spot in the ring road (that's also a great area to turn around!) the main parking area includes space for at least thirty cars.


The Icicle Ridge Trail is one of Traverse the Pacific Northwest's Top 12 Best Hikes Near Leavenworth. Have you done them all yet? Let us know what you think of this one below.



What to Bring

Exploring the Icicle Ridge Trail in Leavenworth, Washington, is a great way to spend a day outdoors. However, it’s important to make sure you are prepared for the hike before you head out. Here is a list of some items you might want to bring along with you on your journey.


1. Appropriate clothing: Depending on the time of year you plan on going, make sure you have appropriate clothing for the conditions. Make sure you have layers that can be added and taken off depending on the weather. A good pair of hiking boots will also ensure that you remain safe and comfortable while trekking along the trail.


2. Water: Staying hydrated is key while doing any type of physical activity, and hiking is no different. Make sure to bring plenty of water with you, especially if it’s hot outside.


3. Food: Hiking can be strenuous, and you’ll likely need to refuel during your journey. Make sure to bring some snacks such as trail mix, protein bars, and fruit to keep your energy levels up throughout your hike.


4. First aid kit: Accidents can happen, so it’s important to be prepared for them. A small first aid kit with some bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and other essentials can help you if an injury does occur.


5. Map: It can be easy to get lost in the wilderness, so make sure to bring along a map of the area. This will help you stay on track and avoid getting lost during your hike.


These are just a few of the items you should bring when hiking the Icicle Ridge Trail in Leavenworth. Be sure to take all necessary precautions while out in nature and have a wonderful time exploring this beautiful trail!


Icicle Ridge Trail Map

Here's a map of the Icicle Ridge Trail starting from a well-marked dirt road off of Icicle Creek Road. Follow the link below for a downloadable version of the map to take with you on your hike.




Directions to Icicle Ridge Trailhead

Use the below map to get directions to the Icicle Ridge Trailhead in Leavenworth.




Hike Statistics

The Icicle Ridge Trail is 5.1 miles long and gains 1,755 feet in elevation. Once you start, it's pretty much uphill the whole way!

Distance

Elevation Gain

Time Required

Difficulty

5.1 miles

1,755 feet

3.5 hours

5/10



What to Expect at Icicle Ridge

  • Icicle Ridge Trail Permit: No permit is required to hike Icicle Ridge.

  • A permit is required if you go into Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

  • Bicycles are allowed.

  • Dogs are allowed.

  • Gravel parking lot

  • No toilet


Hiking the Icicle Ridge Trail

The trail begins just off of the circular parking area at the top of the lot. It delves right into the woods, starting out with some very easy, nearly flat sections of trail. It's very easy to follow and eventually breaks out of the trees and into a more exposed section of the trail. This is one of the only sections that is totally shaded, so soak it in while you can!

Beginning of the Icicle Ridge Trail
Beginning of the Icicle Ridge Trail
Good to Know: Almost all of the trail is in the sun!

Eventually, you break out of the woods onto the first in a series of switchbacks that take you up to the top of Icicle Ridge.


They gain steadily in elevation, with some a bit steeper and longer than others. There are plenty of places to pull off to the side for a rest! But, along most of the trail, it is difficult for more than two people to pass at a time.

Heading up the Icicle Ridge Switchbacks
Heading up the Icicle Ridge switchbacks

The switchbacks eventually get rockier but never too hard to walk on.


On wetter days, you're definitely going to find muddy sections to step over, around, or through. A few times, it looks like you're about to break out onto the ridge, but it is truly 2.5 miles to the top, so keep an eye on your step counter if you have one!


When you do eventually reach the ridge, you'll find yourself on a plateau (a great place for a break!) with your first view down into the canyon.


Your trail goes to the right form here. But, if you look to the left, you'll see a less-well-defined trail headed up a steep ridge and into the distance. This is an incredible traverse trail that runs for 29.5 miles to the Fourth of July area. It's known as the Fourth of July to Icicle Ridge Trail.


Looking right up the ridge to the best view point
Looking right up the ridge to the best viewpoint

From the plateau, head right along a gentle weaving and very beautiful trail. This is what you came for! Enjoy expansive views to the left and right as you bee-line for the best views along the entire 5.1-mile out-and-back trail.


Another view of the ridge line
Another view of the ridge line with Leavenworth coming into view

After about .1 of a mile, you'll find yourself at the end of the Icicle Ridge Trail. There, you'll be greeted by another plateau with plenty of room for a picnic and rest break. Make sure to take in the gorgeous views of Leavenworth and the surrounding Wenatchee River Valley before turning around.


View from Icicle Ridge Trail of Leavenworth
View from Icicle Ridge Trail of Leavenworth

From here, turn around and head back the way you came! Don't worry, and it's much faster on the way down!



Fourth of July Creek Trail to Icicle Ridge

The Fourth of July Creek Trail to Icicle Ridge is a far longer variation of the 5.1-mile Icicle Ridge Trail. It takes you all the way from the start of Icicle Creek Road, 29.5 miles back along the ridge, and down to the road once again.


FAQs

How long is the Icicle Ridge Trail?

The Icicle Ridge Trail is 5.1 miles long. You climb just over 2.5 miles up the side of the slope before getting on Icicle Ridge. It is an out-and-back trail, meaning once you get to the end, you'll have to turn around and come back down the same way.


Icicle Ridge Hiking Guide


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