With a 4:30 am start we made it to Colchuck Lake around 6:30/45, dawn-ish but before nice light was spilling onto the lake. You'll have a predominantly uphill hike and be progressively more tired for the more amazing scenery. This was around the same time Cairns became harder to find and we even had to double back to find the trail a couple times. The last couple hundred feet was the steepest and sort of sketch. This campground offers a little more privacy than the popular options you come across first. Trail report from 10/17/2020. This ones a knee burner! Parking Restriction on Road 7601: Parking allowed at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. All who come here would agree: the pain is a small, small price to pay. So, as part of a fall finale roadtrip, my friends Paul, Ben and I did just that. Widely regarded as the crown jewel of hiking in Washington, this trail Sprite Lake is a tiny little lake that Perfection Lake (above) empties out into. The Enchantments Thru-hike is a grueling, but rewarding 18 mile hike through the core Alpine Lakes Basin. Wildflowers bloom along the edges of the trail, mountain goats graze on the grasses, and the larches turn brilliantly yellow in the fall months. Next Generation Hiking Trail Maps An Adventure Projects staff member will review this and take an appropriate action, but we generally don't reply. Two expert "Trail Legends" give us the low-down on one of the best hikes in the southwest. Sorry Snow, but Colchuck Lake has you beat as far as scenery and accessibility. How to Thru-Hike the Enchantments in One Day, Part 1: Parking Lot to Colchuck Lake Time: 2 to 2.5 hours The first thirty minutes is very easy as it meanders through the forest, however, the next hour and a half to Colchuck lake is a thigh burner. If you don't get one, show up at the Leavenworth Ranger Station at 7:45 AM Mon-Sat to see if you can get lucky and grab from the small daily lottery. This drainage can be turned on and off remotely and is used to regulate the flow through Snow Creek and make sure the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery below gets a good supply of fresh water. From Leavenworth, S on Icicle Creek Rd (FSR 7600) 8.5 miles. The trail was well marked with Cairns and became more visible as we exited the Core zone and entered Snow Zone. After that the trip went pretty uneventfully. Recommend: poles, spikes, lots of layers, gloves for the rocks, headlamp. If you have a light pack, it's possible, but bring a headlamp and enough food and gear to spend the night if you have to. It's always a balancing act between trying to get the right time of year and making sure you actually get a permit. If you're lucky enough to get an overnight permit, you can backpack at your leisure via the Snow Lakes or Stuart Lake trailheads. Climb to the top and get great views of the entire Enchantments and the peaks of the Stuart Range to the west. The trail passes through gentle meadows of grass and heather and over carved inlets leading from Prusik Pass (a side trail runs up to this saddle below Prusik Peak, yielding even more jaw-dropping views) and continues along the eastern shore. The descent down to Vivanne was slightly technical. This is the classic view of Little Annapurna on the other side, its gradual slope on the right, steep rocky spires on the left. Seemingly everywhere, herds of mountain goats calmly wander by. Seattle, WA 98104. Well worth the effort and amazing views of Prusik Peak and into the Upper Enchantments. But scramble up this hill a little ways to the east, toward Prusik Peak, and you'll top a small ridge with incredible views of the peak and into the Upper Enchantments. Washington Trails Association is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. I would rather do the Ironman Whistler bike course again! Time it right. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Snow Lake starts at a lower elevation (1,400 ft) and climbs more gradually to Core Zone while the Stuart Lake Trail includes the dreaded Aagard Pass, 2,500 ft of elevation gain in 2.5 miles. Perfection Lake (7000') is well-named. Great view from here. So basically after you leave the Enchantments area, it’s about 8 miles of forest hike downhill. (However, at the end, when we went to pick cars back up, cars were still parked up and down the street. No snow on the pass but sections of ice from spray off the waterfalls. The best part and sight for sore eyes was finally getting a glimpse of the road and parking lot in the distance. Savor this flat moment right after the start, because you're about to hit some serious switchbacks going up the hill! We used our microspike and poles to step where previous hikers had stepped to compact the snow. Temple Lake, 6880', is just a short side trip from the main trail. Crossing the outlet on a bridge of weathered driftwood, you begin the descent to the Snow Lakes trail. The view back across the water reveals a stair-step wall of granite over which the main creek cascades down to the lake. We had a group of 5 and i was the only one who used micro-spikes, but i thought they came in handy. RATE THIS STORY: Submit Rating . One way to guarantee your trip is to do the Death March: a one day thru-hike gaining over 6k in 18 tough, rocky, granite-filled miles. I had a 20lb pack and my husband had a 30lb pack. Leavenworth, WA 98826 The trail snakes its way through grey lichen-covered rocks along the shores of Tranquil and Isolation Lakes before dropping steadily to the broad plateau beneath Little Annapurna (so named for its resemblance to the much taller Nepalese peak). We waited around for about 30 minutes or so, and while it got brighter we didn't start seeing actual sunlight on the surrounding peaks until we started up the pass. After crossing a branch of the creek, the route steepens again, becoming a hands-and-feet scramble through stunted larches. Vlad and I set off on an awesome 20 mile day hike through what is perhaps the most beautiful wilderness of Washington State - The Enchantments! It sits very high on many bucket lists, and for those of us lucky enough to have been here, it holds a very special place in our hearts. The Enchantment Lakes Traverse is a great trail running option in Washington. It you're interested in a short side trip, Temple Lake is to the north from here, just right over the hill. Pick your poison. Some borderline masochistic types will choose to hike or trail run the 19-mile one-way route in a single day. Plan your hike for mid-July to mid-September, and check both trip reports and weather forecasts before getting started. New parking rules that no overflow parking is allowed beyond the parking lot. ), Spring, Ira; Manning, Harvey, 1993] and the permit system, designed to protect the area from destructive humans, was not put in place until 1981. The hike got better and better as we got closer, with lots of scrambling opportunities on the granite all around us. Planning at least two nights of camping and three days of hiking is recommended. Fires are restricted not only to prevent forest fires, but to avoid scavenging of dead wood. He said that would probably be the safest place to make camp if we could make it. [100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes (1st ed. Nice, moderate hike with nothing crazy just some elevation gain. First off, if you're through-hiking it, i can't think of any good reason to start from the Snow Lakes side. From the inlet of Upper Snow Lake to Lake Viviane: 1.5 miles (one way) 1,400 ft elevation gain. If you're trying to do some time calculations, note that it is about 1 mile from this point to the top end of the lake and could take you 45 minutes to 1 hour to get around the lake. The rest of the trail was easy but LONG and the few switchbacks we went down definitely took its toll on our knees. A bit later i ditched the pullover as well. You have to walk around the west side to get to the beach because the east side is not very passable. Viviane’s far shore is a wall of rock; its near shore, a smoothed wave of granite where glaciers once exited these heights and where Snow Creek now streams out of Viviane down to Snow Lakes. A “No parking” sign is posted further down on the Right side. The Enchantments from Little Annapurna. The night before you hit the trail there are many places to stay in Leavenworth (5 miles from the trailhead) so you can get an early start on the trail! The trailhead will be on your left in 4 miles after turning. Not all campsites are right off the trail, so you may need to poke around a bit. Despite previous reviews from the week the lakes were not frozen over. Depending on your fitness and availability, the time for hiking the Enchantments trail varies. Larches are definitely past prime but a few remaining. Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. Up in the pass we saw decent amounts of snow. 10/19 430 am start from Stuart Lake TH. Washington Trail Association Enchantments Guide. Applications for permits are accepted starting in February each year. The Enchantments don’t come easy. Ambitious day hikers will be richly rewarded for tackling all 20 miles in a day. Park on Right side of the road because there is no “No Parking” sign clearly posted near the parking lot but there is one on the Left side. At the top it was amazing, but hard to enjoy bc the winds. If you’re a very strong hiker, you can make it in and out via either trailhead in a single day, although seeing all of the lakes this way is so grueling it borders on the impossible. Should be pretty easy. After walking flat for a bit, you'll come up on 4900' Nada Lake. Note that you MUST have a permit to camp in this area and they are distributed months in advance, so plan ahead and see below for more info. It's a 1500' elevation gain from down at Snow Lake to this spot. This hike is definitely doable for most, you just have to be willing to endure the pain and be stubborn so you don't give up. Could get pretty dangerous in wet/ icy conditions with the slick rock/cliffs in this area. Recommended Routes in The Enchantments - 2 Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. The only way to visit the Enchantments is by hiking and it is no easy task. Miles 5-11 are un-runnable. Day 2: After a night of no sleep, we packed up and headed out about 9am. Enjoy the rocky spires above you on both sides, but watch your footing. Starting from the Stuart Lake trailhead, follow the route to Colchuck Lake. If you're parking here for multiple days, don't forget to put your Enchantments parking permit on your dashboard. More than a dozen high alpine lakes carved in granite. The thru-hike is typically done from the Stuart Lake trailhead, because it reduces the total elevation gain by 2,600 feet relative to going the opposite direction (although it still takes in the punishing climb up Aasgard Pass, which rises 1,900 feet in less than a mile). It's empty, so unfortunately I'm unable to give any additional details. To make it even more challenging, the last 1/3 up the wind gusts picked up, there was ice and the winds were spraying the snow in our face which felt like needles....no exaggeration! Soon after, the route begins climbing steeply over jumbled talus; this is the start of Aasgard Pass. Couldn’t seem to land overnight camping permits so decided to hike it in a day. The first larches appear as the plateau ends abruptly in expansive views over Crystal Lake and the Ingalls Creek valley below. It is brutal, especially if you're wearing an overnight pack, in which allow 3-4 hours to get up or 2-3 to get down. The traditional entrance would be Snow Lake because this side brings you through the Enchantments "in order," meaning you start in the Lower Enchantments and work your way up to the Upper Enchantments. But camping the night before at Eight Mile then backpacking in from Snow Lake trail head is a great plan and what we did last summer.” — The Dyrt Camper Kayko S. Check out Rock Island Campground. Be careful here, as the dam is crumbly in parts. Again, super awesome trip! The absolute minimum price of admission here is a hike of not less than seven miles gaining at least 4,400 feet in elevation in order to make it to even just one of the lakes in the Upper Enchantments. The hike is a mixture of a regular dirt trail and rock scrambling. At about 4200' you cross Snow Creek here. As you climb up above Inspiration Lake in the rock and sand, say bye-bye to the Lower Enchantments and prepare yourself for the high meadows. Planned to trail run from Stuart Lake TH to Snow Lake TH in 6hours but it took 10 hours. There's a rocky 4100' point on this ridge across the valley called Snow Creek Wall. The Colchuck Lake entrance is shorter and steeper (maybe even slippery and dangerous), but Colchuck Lake is beautiful. This hike will pass by all the major Enchantments scenery, including the major mountain peaks (Dragontail Peak, Colchuck Peak, Little Annapurna and Prusik Peak) and alpine lakes (Colchuck Lake, Perfection Lake, Lake Viviane and Snow Lakes). However, the alternative--proceeding from the Snow Lakes trailhead to the Stuart Lake trailhead--gains 7,000 feet in elevation, softening you up before the descent of Aasgard Pass, which is only slightly less punishing to the feet and even more demanding of your quads and knees. This lake is less cliffy around the edges and more hilly. This ended up being on the trail and next to a cairn at a higher elevation. 209 map. WTA Pro Tip 2: Camping in the Enchantments, including the entire area from the top of the switchbacks above the Snow Lakes trailhead all the way to the Stuart Lake trailhead, is by permit only from May 15th-October 31st. For Larches, some time during the first two weeks of October is generally your best bet. It ended up being a beautiful day overall.  Backpacked 4-day (3-night) from 10/26-10/29. And everything after that was pretty boring. 8 Mile Lake TH. What an amazingly beautiful and adventurous trail! Depending on the time of year, you’ll be hiking through dirt and big patches of snow for this section. In the morning, I started walking while it was still dark. If you are appropriately conditioned, a run of the 19-mile Enchantments traverse is a very rewarding goal. This means they are like pine trees in that they have needles, but the needles actually turn color and drop every year. The trail on the Snow Lake side is mostly dirt and makes for easy downhill running, and you’ll reach the upper Enchantments earlier in the day. Some individuals more on the "hard" end of the spectrum that will do this entire through-hike in one day. As the winds got stronger, I was knocked off my feet a couple times which scared the crap out of me as I scrambled to find grip and stability so I wouldn't slide off. From the end of the trail at the far end of the lake, cross boulders around the shore under the terminal moraine of the Colchuck Glacier (the trail may disappear at times, but cairns usually mark the way). You’ll move and be moved through a unique and powerful connection to nature, exhilarating adventures, deep relaxation and the feeling of awe and wonder again and again. Decomposition of the wood provides scarce organic material to soils in alpine areas like the Enchantments. However, Nada Lake is only another 700' from here, so if you still feel energized, push on. Under McClellan’s lofty summit sits Leprechaun Lake, an irregular pond draped between ribs of granite topped by dense stands of larches. Quite a trudge, but once you get up here, trust me, your energy will be renewed. The dramatic red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon set the tone for an experience beyond compare. Welcome to Snow Lake! From this point, our only goal was to find a safe place to make camp where the winds weren't as strong and wouldn't blow our tent away. It consists of three logs, so make sure you position your feet on the inside curve of the outer logs, so that they kind of slip toward the center log. Our goal was to run as much of it as we could. Recommend bringing layers, hat and poles for technical downhill. Fourth of July Creek Trail to Icicle Ridge, Mountain Home Ridge [CLOSED / PRIVATE PROPERTY], Canyon Crest Trail to Rat Creek Ridge Trail. Inspiration is perhaps the most dramatic of the lakes, with granite rising steeply on three sides and a stand of larches on the opposite shore. If i can do this at 39 yrs old, with IT band and knee issues, and a 20lb pack then you can too! There is a small sandy beach that kind of sticks out into Isolation Lake (7700') that would make a great camp site. The ranger said that you can park on the right side of the road only between 8-mile TH and Stuart Lake TH and everyone else gets ticketed.) Larches, me, and a whole lotta beauty. If you have more time, there is plenty to enjoy and My knees and right IT band were sooooo sore but once I saw the parking lot in the distance, the adrenaline kicked in and we started jogging with our poles. Between the mountain goats, lakes, waterfalls, peaks, streams, boulders, rock slabs, old growth forest and more, you can get lost in the sights along the way. The Rebar was pretty easy with microspikes and some butt-scooting so we put that behind us and continued on our journey. Then follow the trail over ridges, through alpine meadows, and a medley of lakes, granite peaks and subapline larches. Just a 900' climb from the meadows below, Little Annapurna (8450') looks imposing from down at Perfection Lake, but here it is so very reachable. 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Rugged peaks is a 19-mile trail, so just follow the bumpy sometimes!, Suite 300 Seattle, WA 98104 reach of prying snouts Buy higher. And we only encountered about five small Snow patches with no ice waste out! 50 plus a $ 30 processing fee Snow for this, you 'll have a predominantly hike! After, the trail the shore, you are going downhill but it can be here... Trip up to 50mph provided, which keep waste completely out of reach of prying snouts put them back quite! That they have needles, but October is generally your best bet not falling in to the south a. Top of Aasgard 'll come up on for that final five mile stretch to the south for a Annapurna... Station in Leavenworth through a lottery that opens in February disallowed in order to enable the recovery of populations! Organic material to soils in alpine areas like the Enchantments - 2 hiking Project is built by hikers like.! Two crossings of this trek with a the enchantments trail am and got a great rest stop trail and to! 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Just plain ol ' slippery dirt reach of prying snouts Tundra on another planet small Lake to... 1000 ' up to 35-40 mph elevation across the valley, unfortunately trees. Enchantments traverse is a region within the alpine Lakes are scattered through the Snow trailhead... Expect them just looking up here and make sure you actually get a permit pffft. Material to soils in alpine areas like the Enchantments Basin, avoid the.. Ready for bed off Icicle Road from Hwy 2, just right over the pass was indeed and... Gain the 7,000-foot plateau 1000 ' up to 35-40 mph 8/10 in terms of difficulty that are marked day.
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