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Leavenworth River Rafting in May

Leavenworth, Washington

As a year-round resident of Leavenworth and as a river rafting guide on the Wenatchee River since the Carter Administration, I have a pretty good notion about both of those topics.  (Rafting and Leavenworth - not the Carter presidency.)

It is still the middle of winter in the Bavarian-themed village and all of the businesses are still strung with their Christmas lights, but it is not too soon to be thinking about river rafting on the Wenatchee River, or river rafting in general.

If you have a party large enough to fill a raft - six to eight people not including the guide (and that does include children big enough to wield a paddle) - you will want to make your reservations in advance.  Especially if you want to catch a prime weekend date in May or June, or your preferred date falls during one of the festival weekends.

Package lodging and rafting deals are available through Sleeping Lady Lodge and Conference Center.  Sleeping Lady is located two miles from Leavenworth in the mouth of Icicle Canyon.  It is named for the dramatic mountain peak named Sleeping Lady that graces its western skyline.  Sleeping Lady is rustic, yet elegant with individual cabins from small to large.  Meals are included, a small, cozy bar called The Grotto is on the premises and their hot tub is built into the granite outcroppings off the Icicle River.
After a day on the water, it is nice to have something to warm the soul.

The month of May, though known for whimsical weather, is an excellent time to raft the Wenatchee River.  Being east of the Cascades, the sun tends to show its face far more often than it does on the drearier side of the mountain range.  The river is likely to be full from snowmelt and the rapids can be at their most challenging.

The merry month of May includes Apple Blossom Festival, Maifest, Mother's Day, Memorial Weekend and Cinco de Mayo and Leavenworth's promoters and businesses do an excellent job of selling them all to a portion of the two million visitors that traipse over the mountain passes every year.  Because of all of these activities, you would be well-advised to make reservations in advance for camping and lodging.

If you are curious as to what you should wear rafting during one of the spring months, check out my Dress for River Rafting Success post.

May is considered a 'shoulder' season for rafting in the Pacific Northwest and, though we already offer Group Discounts through our reservation system ($10 off groups of 10 or more, $15 off groups of 20 or more), additional specials are sometimes offered, especially for those hard to fill dates like Mother's Day Sunday.

Following your gratifying and memorable Wenatchee River trip, assuming you took our advice and booked lodging with Sleeping Lady, Orion highly recommends the gourmet Tex-Mex/So-Cal cuisine of one of our favorite haunts - South.  Do not forget to try their Sweet Basil Daisy magarita.  ¡Es muy delicioso!

After your filling dinner, saunter half a block down the street to mingle with the locals at the Icicle Brewing Company and order their 6 beer-shot sampler, or the beer of our choice - Bootjack IPA.
Then back to Sleeping Lady for a hot tub and you will have completed the perfect May mini-vacation getaway - white water, spicy, delectable food, home grown suds and a warm soak under the stars in an ecological setting.

I am certain it gets no better than that.

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