Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Enchantments
9.4 miles, roundtrip
(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x)
Gain: 2700 ft.
Highest Point: 5645 ft.
If you research hikes in Washington, then you will definitely come across reports on the Enchantments. There is a gateway into the Enchantments, and that is Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass.
If you want a teaser of this beautiful area, then spending the day at Colchuck Lake is a must. Arrive early at the trail so you can get prime real estate on the lake, and enjoy a nice polar plunge in this alpine lake.
You'll be starting your journey to Colchuck Lake at the Stuart Lake Trailhead, just outside of Leavenworth, Washington. Try to get there early as this area has become very popular and parking is now limited.
When you arrive, make sure to snag your day permit at the trailhead, and start making your way along the trail. A you hike, you can hear creeks rushing through the forest. At about 1.5 miles, you will cross a bridge and start your first bigger ascent of the hike.
After about 3/4 of a mile, the trail flattens out, and you'll come to a fork in the trail. Pay attention to this as many people hike with their heads down and completely miss the turn! If you are going to Colchuck, turn left. If you are going to Stuart Lake, then continue straight.
After the Fork in the Trail
Immediately after the fork, you will cross another bridge. Then from here, the trail gets a little steeper. As you climb up, there will be waterfalls in the distance, and some openings with views of the surrounding ridges. The trail is definitely not boring and it helps keep your mind off of your tired legs.
Right before you get to the lake, the trail gets even steeper for a few hundred feet. Finally, you will pop out and see the blue-green tones of Colchuck Lake for the first time. Many people stop right at the entrance to the lake and have a snack, but there are plenty of other spots to rest that are more relaxing and less crowded.
If Colchuck Lake was your only destination, then congratulations you made it! If you plan on hiking into the Core, or doing a Thru-Hike, then the pass you see directly across the lake is where you are headed. This is called Aasgard Pass, and it is a real butt-kicker. Plan for a very long day ahead of you!
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We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.
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