Begin your journey in Leavenworth, a Bavarian-inspired alpine village full of German-themed shops, bratwurst-and-beer-laden restaurants, and a music-filled town square. Here, you’ll find the Gingerbread Factory and 17-acre Waterfront Park, which offers a winding trail along the Wenatchee River.
Back on the road, you’ll quickly lose count of the seasonal fruit stands on the way to Cashmere. In the heart of Apple Country, stop by Liberty Orchards for some powdered-sugar-coated jelly apple candies known as Aplets & Cotlets. Tours of the candy factory are also available.
Next, make your way to Wenatchee, which sits at the confluence of two rivers and is the valley’s largest city. Here you’ll find restaurants, hotels, and the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Stretch your legs by wandering the Ohme Gardens, where stone paths traverse hillside gardens and offer breathtaking panoramas of the valley.
Runners and cyclists enjoy the 11-mile riverfront Apple Capital Loop Trail, while skiers head for nearby Mission Ridge in the winter months. The visitor center at Rocky Reach Dam, just outside the city, offers a glimpse of hydroelectric power and the spawning cycle of salmon.
From here, Highway 2 climbs through brown hills of volcanic rock and across flat plains of farmland before reaching the Columbia again at Coulee City. Not far up the river looms the country’s largest electric power–producing facility, Grand Coulee Dam. Take a detour south to visit Dry Falls, where a 3.5-mile arc of 400-foot-high cliffs once boasted waterfalls 10 times the size of Niagara Falls.