Fish Hatchery and Interpretive Trail
The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (two miles out Icicle Rd., 509/548-7641, daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m.) cranks out some 2.5 million salmon each year. Built 1939–1940, the hatchery was the largest such facility in the world when completed. Water for the hatchery comes from Icicle Creek, the Wenatchee River, deep wells, and a half-mile tunnel from Snow Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Stop by to watch the steelhead trout and chinook salmon in the raceways (favorite spots for dive-bombing belted kingfishers), or step inside to see displays and educational videos. Exhibits reveal how Columbia River dams and development have devastated natural salmon and steelhead runs and how the hatchery attempts to mitigate some of the damage. The real attraction here is an “outdoor aquarium” where you can watch rainbow trout in the eye-level concrete “stream.”
Icicle Creek Interpretive Trail provides a mile-long circular path from the hatchery. Pick up an informative trail brochure before heading out to see various sites along the creek, including a wildlife-viewing blind. Keep your eyes open for the resident ospreys.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition