Facing Dragon Tail; summer in the Alpine Lake Wilderness
A challenging dayhike with a glacial-lake view at the end, and then Bratwurst-und-Bier for dinner: a perfect summer's day in Washington State's central Cascades! Take Icicle Creek Road from the town of Leavenworth to Eight Mile Road, then turn left and follow it up to where it ends at the trailhead to Lakes Stuart and Colchuck. This is a forested granite peaks wonderland. The switchbacks are shaded and crisscross streams; waterfalls will replenish your canteen...At 5800' you arrive at Lake Colchuck, glacially-colored beneath Dragon Tail Peak and Aasgard Pass (The NW's Nordic heritage is evident here.) You might be gasping for adjectives, but you'll understand why this area is called "The Enchantments."
Back down in civilization, feed your post-9-mile-hike-appetite with hearty Teutonic fare; Leavenworth is a mining-town-cum-Bavarian-hamlet--faux, but well-done. The pseudo-German architecture hosts many eateries, including München Haus--with its outdoor Biergarten, it will welcome even sweaty hikers. Several kinds of Wurst are available, served with local microbrews. Slake your thirst and savor the scenery...
(About 2 1/2 hours from Seattle.)