Over Thanksgiving weekend, I took a day trip east to Gold Creek Pond and Leavenworth. It was a short walk to the pond and we were rewarded with beautiful views of the water with reflections of blue skies and the Snoqualmie mountains. As we continued driving through snow-capped mountains, we reached Leavenworth and basked in early Christmas festivities. Our day was a balance of outdoor adventures and beautiful sceneries mixed with dreamy holiday vibes over mulled wine.
Gold Creek Pond is a popular and easy hike about an hour away from Seattle, right off the I-90 interstate highway. The main road (NF-4832) was snow-free, but the road leading into the parking lot (NF-144) was a one-lane slushy road with snowbanks on either side. Per suggestions online, we parked on the main road to avoid traffic jams and walked half a mile into the pond. It was definitely a good call not to drive in.
The actual trail is an easy 1-mile loop around the pond, but we only stayed at the picnic area because it had the best views and the lighting was perfect. We were surrounded by mountains and as we looked across the pond, we saw layers and layers of cascading valleys. The trees also had a gradient from green to white as they become snow covered the higher they are.
The snow peaks were already gorgeous, but the reflection of the water amplified this and made everything looked even more incredible. It was so still that the reflection looked almost fake!
After some epic photos at Gold Creek Pond, we continued driving to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. During this time of the year, it was decorated with Christmas lights and had magical Christmas vibes all around. The main street was lined with Germany-styled lodges, shops, restaurants and beer gardens and the plaza had a few Christmas trees set up. With the Bavarian theme and abundance of Christmas lights, it felt dreamy as if we were in a Germany town during Christmastime.
This was such an easy day trip from Seattle where we saw a beautiful lake and enjoyed Christmas festivities in Leavenworth. It’s a great getaway from Seattle with a perfect mix of nature views and village vibes.