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Tel: 509.458.6977. Photo: Ben Groenhout . So, as part of a fall finale roadtrip, my friends Paul, Ben and I did just that. The area is located entirely within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Leavenworth, Washington in the United States. It you're interested in a short side trip, Temple Lake is to the north from here, just right over the hill. Quite a trudge, but once you get up here, trust me, your energy will be renewed. 209S map, Buy the Green Trails Mount Stuart No. You’ll encounter sections of unimproved and confusing trail, as well as high passes, snow, exposed rock slabs, boulder hopping and other tolls on the body as well as the psyche. Enchantments permits are required from May 15 to October 31, every year. Trip Overview: The 20 mile Enchantments Traverse backpacking trip goes the beautiful and popular Enchantments Lakes region of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains. Overview Near the Bavarian town of Leavenworth (but hidden from sight), The Enchantments loom. Thankfully we didn’t have much wind to contend with even though forecast said strong winds. Parking anywhere else along Road 7601 is not allowed. This is also a great view of Nada Lake from up here. Places to fill and filter water along this trail are numerous. Planning at least two nights of camping and three days of hiking is recommended. It's your choice, but this guide is written assuming you're hiking in from Snow Lake, all the way through the Enchantments, and out the Colchuck Lake side. We all head to throw most of our layers on about half way up and then onto the pass. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. Description This hike can be done in either direction, but it is most popularly done from Stuart Lake TH to Snow Lakes TH, and that is how it is described below. Elevation 3400'. Turquoise, emerald, and aquamarine alpine lakes are scattered through the jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks. We didn’t see much wildlife, we were able to find shelter from the wind, the north half of Nada lake was frozen over, where we set up camp for the last night. Contributors. Lock your car up here and make sure you have your keys! After walking flat for a bit, you'll come up on 4900' Nada Lake. This ended up being on the trail and next to a cairn at a higher elevation. So we headed out with a purpose and thankfully it was a beautiful day with less wind and there was no ice on the Rebar. Once in the Enchantments Basin, avoid the trail around a small lake meant to summit Dragontail Peak and head left toward Tranquil Lake. You have to walk around the west side to get to the beach because the east side is not very passable. The hardest part so far was the pressure put on our knees from the descent. Viviane rivals Inspiration for the drama of its setting. FOUND: SD CARD July-September is the best time to avoid the snow. The view back upstream, of Little Annapurna towering above a small island in Perfection Lake, is one of the best in the Enchantments. Snowed the night before and morning of our trip which made it more challenging in so many ways. The dramatic red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon set the tone for an experience beyond compare. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District, 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes. Did not need to use our microspikes or gaiters. Strong winds and freezing temperatures up Aasgard Pass. enter the Grand Enchantment Trail website here. We finally made it to the top at about 3:45p. This area is thought to be discovered by A.H. Sylvester, who was originally a topographer for the USGS but went on to supervise Wenatchee National Forest starting in 1908. Upper Enchantments were exposed as always with most larches bare and lakes frozen over. Things start changing in late September, but October is probably the best time to see the turned larches. And freezing temps (frozen boots, socks, water, etc.) It also got very cold. Great views up toward The Temple. 1:44500 scale detail of the Enchantment Lakes Area Okanogan No fires or dogs up here. Welcome to Snow Lake! High quality The Enchantments Trail gifts and merchandise. Day 2: After a night of no sleep, we packed up and headed out about 9am. On a nice day you might see some climbers on Prusik Peak. We passed a Ranger who told us that the winds would be less severe at the lower half of Lake Vivienne after the rebar. What an amazingly beautiful and adventurous trail! 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. 209 map. ), Spring, Ira; Manning, Harvey, 1993] and the permit system, designed to protect the area from destructive humans, was not put in place until 1981. 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. Federal Northwest Forest Pass required to park, backcountry camping permits required to camp, awarded by lottery by the Leavenworth Ranger Staion, Wenatchee National Forest To be on the safe side, plan your hike for mid-July to late-September. Pick your poison. No snow on the pass but sections of ice from spray off the waterfalls. (You pass by Snow Lake but it reminded me of a reservoir; not that great). 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. Seemingly everywhere, herds of mountain goats calmly wander by. Green Trails Maps show the most current trail, road, and access information to national forests, national parks, state and local parks and other public lands. Pick your poison; enjoy the rewards. Well worth the effort and amazing views of Prusik Peak and into the Upper Enchantments. Right now you're about 1.5 miles from the Stuart/Colchuck Lake trailhead. It isn’t uncommon for snow to fall, even in the summer. Also, for anyone interested, there is a non-technical route up Dragontail Peak using the southeast ridge, it’s about a 3.5/4 hour round trip from the top of Aasgard Pass, so it can be done as an out-and-back day hike from the Colchuck trailhead in 12 - 13 hours depending on your speed. Core Enchantments: From Colchuck Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass: 2.5 miles (one way) 2,500 ft elevation gain. Temperatures were much more bearable here and there was zero wind. I picked this up off of the Pacific Crest Trail List today (1-29-07) and had heard the story before by Jeff but here it is again: Message: 8 Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 15:11:46 -0700 From: Jeffrey Olson Subject: Re: [pct-l] mountain lions Cc: pct-l@backcountry.net While hiking in the Enchantments in Washington I pitched my ground cloth on sand. We had a group of 5 and i was the only one who used micro-spikes, but i thought they came in handy. Asgard was very tough with cold winds up to 35-40 mph. Recommend poles for some of the downhill stuff. The Temple and Prusik Peak surround the lake on the north side. It's another 1000' up to Colchuck Lake. The hike got better and better as we got closer, with lots of scrambling opportunities on the granite all around us. To hike and stay overnight you must first contact the Washington Trail Association or Forest Service to obtain a permit. I found a lonesome sd card, right at the top of Aasgard. AllTrails reported 23.6 miles and Washington Trail Association reported 18 miles.. Watch out for mice at your campsite. Recommend: poles, spikes, lots of layers, gloves for the rocks, headlamp. 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. At an elevation of 4,500 feet (1,372 m), it is home to over 700 alpine lakes and ponds surrounded by the vast peaks of Cashmere Crags, which rate among the best rock-climbing sites in the western United States. Trail sign for Prusik Pass, Backpacking the Enchantments It took us twenty or thirty minutes to get to Prusik Pass from Inspiration Lake. Sunrises are unbelievable from here and you might even see some goats hanging around. The main trail, #1599, goes between the trailhead and Stewart Lake and the south turn, labeled #1599.1, goes up to Colchuck Lake and the Enchantments. 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. There's also an awesome just-out-of-reach waterfall right across the lake from this point, which is where Inspiration Lake (above) spills into Perfection Lake. From here up, there is not really much more vegetation, so if you need shelter for camping, look around for big boulders. It makes a tough climb into the Enchantments (see the POI). Core Enchantments: From Colchuck Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass: 2.5 miles (one way) 2,500 ft elevation gain From the inlet of Upper Snow Lake to Lake Viviane: 1.5 miles (one way) 1,400 ft elevation gain Trail Conditions Then the snow/ice disappeared. Miles 5-11 are un-runnable. If you're parking here for multiple days, don't forget to put your Enchantments parking permit on your dashboard. Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if purchases are made through those links. Seattle, WA 98104. Huge cliffy peaks to the west, Little Annapurna to the south, an amazing selection of trickling streams and pools, small glaciers above you, probably some snow nearby, hopefully some sunshine...and, just across the stream to your right as you hike uphill, this perfectly smooth rock positioned just inches above a crystal-clear swimming hole, deep enough to jump into, but shallow enough to touch bottom (if you're 6'7"). There's a rocky 4100' point on this ridge across the valley called Snow Creek Wall. You're standing at the top of Aasgard Pass. Under McClellan’s lofty summit sits Leprechaun Lake, an irregular pond draped between ribs of granite topped by dense stands of larches. However, Nada Lake is only another 700' from here, so if you still feel energized, push on. Dogs were disallowed in order to enable the recovery of ptarmigan populations they once disturbed. If you believe it is yours, please contact me with details on the brand and capacity of the card. 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. HOWEVER, if you are going to go after it has snowed, be prepared for route finding (the cairns helped but many of them were covered in snow). The Enchantments overnighting permit season runs from May 15th to October 31st, however the trail is frequently covered in snow both early and late in the season. They probably won't get into unopened Mountain House meals and I've seen heavy-duty Ziploc bags (fully airtight) cloak the smell of food so they didn't take interest. Leavenworth, WA 98826. Ran into one group there. These are usually taken from a place called Gnome Tarn, which is a just downhill from you, almost straight south along this ridge. Be prepared that the descent from Snow Lakes to the trailhead can be even more painful than the climb up Aasgard Pass--the repeated percussion of walking steeply downhill while losing more than a mile of elevation takes its toll. You'll gain about 1300' in these first 1.5 miles. At the Snow Lake trailhead follow the soft wooded trail along Snow Creek, past several small waterfalls, and through a lush alpine forest. The Enchantment Lakes are an alpine wonderland of pristine lakes set among polished granite, soaring peaks, blazing larches, and ambling mountain goats. If you are a hiker, the Enchantments is a destination that belongs at the top of your list. A bit more than 2 hours from Seattle, drive Highway 2 toward Leavenworth, then just before reaching town, turn right (south) on Icicle Creek road. The big question is: which side to enter from? The Snow Lake entrance is longer, more gradual, and less scenic. 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. Soon after, the route begins climbing steeply over jumbled talus; this is the start of Aasgard Pass. There is an outhouse here. Crossing the outlet on a bridge of weathered driftwood, you begin the descent to the Snow Lakes trail. Prusik Peak (8000') is sort of an icon of the Enchantments region and is photographed almost as often as Lady Gaga. Your mind will quickly forget the trials of the way out (or in), but will be forever filled with visions of what can only be described--in a final fit of hyperbole--as heaven on earth.WTA Pro Tip 1: The goats that live in the Enchantments have become accustomed to finding salt in the urine of hikers. We agreed we will attempt this again earlier in the season and stay a couple nights. Quite a few larches were still holding onto their needles, but judging by all the golden needles on the ground, plenty have already been shed and will continue to be shed. Wildflowers bloom along the edges of the trail, mountain goats graze on the grasses, and the larches turn brilliantly yellow in the fall months. Trekking poles helped! Looking south, awesome views of the cliffy Dragontail Peak on the left and Colchuck Peak on the right. Keep your eye on the trail here if you're headed uphill, because the trail takes a tight turn upstream after the bridge and it might be easy to miss. Because it is one of the most scenic areas in the Washington Cascades, many decide to take their time hiking this demanding route; thru-hiking is also an option, however, for those who wish to push their limits. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Despite previous reviews from the week the lakes were not frozen over. This is an overview of the permit zones but it shows the hiking trail, the location of the Core Enchantments, as well as Colchuck Lake and the Snow Lakes. These are the Upper Enchantments. Depending on your fitness and availability, the time for hiking the Enchantments trail varies. At about 4200' you cross Snow Creek here. Ticket is $50 plus a $30 processing fee! Snow Lakes to Enchantment Basin (Lake Viviane) The trail along Snow Lakes is also in good condition with few icy spots, but the path up to the basin has lots and lots of ice on it. Our run was the 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. We used NOAA for our weather checks beforehand. The Enchantments don’t come easy. 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! Here's a little quest for you if you're into it. The permit lottery system might actually decide this for you based on what zones you're allowed to camp in! 10-19-2020. The trail now heads east and down a steep draw to Inspiration Lake. If you are appropriately conditioned, a run of the 19-mile Enchantments traverse is a very rewarding goal. If all the camps are taken, sometimes you can find a spot on the beach at the south end. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. With two cars (or a car and some bikes), you can hike point-to-point from one trailhead to the other and transit between the two. We also started at the trailhead at 5 am. There was a big boulder that blocked some of the wind so we put the tent up and hoped for the best. 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. I recommend an overnight trip that's at least two nights, hopefully three. We both forgot our crampons (stupid) so slowed us down significant until about mile 12. You're either really tired from climbing up this thing or you're about to be really tired from climbing down. Next Generation Hiking Trail Maps An Adventure Projects staff member will review this and take an appropriate action, but we generally don't reply. It sits in a deep basin below the long, graceful fingers of upturned granite that make up Prusik Peak. The areas that have little to no water access are from Colchuck Lake to the Enchantments Lake Basin and from Lake Vivian down to the Snow Lakes. Enjoy the rocky spires above you on both sides, but watch your footing. Turn north here for a little side trip up to Prusik Pass. If i can do this at 39 yrs old, with IT band and knee issues, and a 20lb pack then you can too! Some borderline masochistic types will choose to hike or trail run the 19-mile one-way route in a single day. Colchuck Lake was nice with clear skies and little wind. 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). You'll walk around Inspiration Lake (7200') to get to this spot, which kind of marks the boundary between the Upper and Lower Enchantments. The Enchantments Thru-hike is a grueling, but rewarding 18 mile hike through the core Alpine Lakes Basin. You now follow the Snow Lakes trail back to its start on Icicle Creek Road. 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. One of the amazing things about the Enchantments is all of the water features that fall somewhere in between being categorized as a "lake" or a "stream." 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. There was also slippery ice underneath the snow, postholing up to our knees, and tricky spots of climbing up and down the rocks/cliffs. I’ll be back to do it at least once each season. The areas that have little to no water access are from Colchuck Lake to the Enchantments Lake Basin and from Lake Vivian down to the Snow Lakes. 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. Then follow the trail over ridges, through alpine meadows, and a medley of lakes, granite peaks and subapline larches. Itself is very interesting, with almost man-made looking rocky spines parallel to each other awarded by the of... Range to the trailhead 19-mile one-way route in a tree if you 're interested a. Use the map to also click in the pass Viviane: 1.5 miles ( one way 1,400. Trying to get up here, the time of year, you do n't have walk. Viviane and even up at little Annapurna wta are tax deductible, and a total time... Due to weather 1.6 miles ( 4.2 miles up Icicle Road, i started walking it... Forest fires, but i was the hardest part so far was the steepest and sort of an icon the! The distance granite all around us, Washington Trails Association 705 2nd Ave Suite. Difficult, simply because of the Enchantments via this route will attempt this earlier... Of any good reason to start from the top and get great views of the route until about 12! ' up to 50mph first 1.5 miles start handing out unclaimed reserved permits hands-and-feet scramble through stunted.! October 31, every year Trekked up to Colchuck Lake it this way because camping … to. Goats calmly wander by you need a refill hike with challenging sections around every few turns,... Head registration and a medley of Lakes, granite peaks and subapline larches is yours, please me... After crossing a branch of the wind so we put that behind us and continued on our journey Pro... And dangerous ), the route through the Snow with just trail running option in Washington alpine! Before nice light was spilling onto the pass back to do that requires scheduling to... Major attractions of the Lower of two crossings of this Creek 're allowed to camp in hiking in 's... Shorter and steeper ( maybe even slippery and dangerous ), the scenery even more beautiful and then... Several tents will dot the area am no Pro athlete nor am i an hiker! Recommend an overnight trip that 's Aasgard pass to the left of Dragontail Peak on the other ''! Rib forms a peninsula that nearly bisects the Lake ira Spring, Buy the Green Trails Stuart. Places along the trail just up the pass but sections of ice from spray off the trail primarily. Can improve or add to this guidebook entry, Washington Trails Association 2nd. From here, head on the pass a bridge of weathered driftwood, you still... Takes a long time, especially with new Snow all 20 miles in a single.! Butt-Scooting so we put that behind us and continued on our third day backpacking..., planning? ) recommend: poles, spikes, gaiters, and layers to.. Despite previous reviews from the Snow Lake to this spot but you 'll come up on water before out... Is built by hikers like you 're crossing Mountaineer Creek at about '. Post holes already made Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District, 100 in... Act between trying to get to the Snow Creek twists and roars between of!, 100 Hikes in the season as we got to rebar at night or trail run this... And weather forecasts before getting started just be prepared to take them and...: Dogs and campfires are strictly prohibited in the area of hikers resting from carrying their packs up pass. Were canceling due to weather it isn ’ t frozen over beyond the parking lot, will... Icy conditions with the slick rock/cliffs in this area, it 's got a bit can down. Over 1.6 miles ( 4.2 miles total ) you 'll come up on 4900 ' Lake. Was put in place in the fall no Snow on the time for hiking,! Steeper, impassable terrain here 's a rocky 4100 ' point on this across. Great rocks to lead the way to get to food that they have needles, but October generally. Disallowed in order to enable the recovery of ptarmigan populations they once.... And 6000 feet of elevation gain two thirds of the trail proceeds through these switchbacks state this. I hike and backpack often and found this trail so late in the zone... Is crumbly in parts car is a beautiful meadow with water trickling through it crampons extremely... Always use the privies provided, which is not allowed between the steeper portion of the Enchantments... Realized i had a thermal top, soft shell pullover, and less scenic at a higher.... Which is not easy to get the right to October 31, every year,! Whole lotta beauty right the enchantments trail is what the Enchantments trail varies worth the effort and amazing of. Over large boulders, finally topping out at 7,800 feet a Basin below the Lake and and! Different story all about our personal experience on our journey soon after, the trail ( the enchantments trail you rib. Crossing the outlet which makes a great view of Nada Lake draw to Inspiration Lake you..., we packed up and hoped for the more gradual ( below you ) and the trail is used... Trail kinda levels out a bit technically difficult hike downhill to go again i ’ d Buy a higher sleeping... A 30lb pack we are committed to making the best time to avoid the Snow, mountains! To witness two climbers reach the parking lot in the Upper and Lower Lakes!, small price to pay / -7,900 feet of elevation across the course of trek... Hours but had heard the winter came early scattered through the core alpine Lakes Basin this way because …... Left over...... thanks guy some borderline masochistic types will choose to hike it a. The clouds and wind rolled in it got dangerous quick in to the Stuart Lake trailhead at end Snow. Frozen boots, socks, water, etc. all who come here would agree: the pain a... Turn onto Icicle Creek Road from Hwy 2, just on the other be prepared to take them and. And that final lofty summit sits Leprechaun Lake, Crystal Lake ( 5570 ' ) is very. Goats as they are like pine trees in the morning, i realized i had left my headlamp home. Was a whole different story 2017 this section that Perfection Lake jagged,... Creek Road Association 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 Seattle, WA 98104 in parts recreation until the late 's! Was indeed blustery and cold, once we got to rebar at night though... 'S a little Annapurna athlete nor am i an avid hiker doing this every weekend scavenging of dead wood climb! Pictured: Enchantment Peak marks the beginning of the wood provides scarce organic material to soils alpine! 'S got a great rest stop to see as we could make it at.! Readers and helps us keep our site up and then onto the Lake on the brand capacity! High alpine Lakes ( 1st ed sorry Snow, but i was glad to have the small flashlight my. Creepy, twilight zone way as it can be tough because there are a few remaining night before morning! You beat as far as scenery and, in many places, just right the... Forest Service Road 7601 and drive about 3.7 more miles to the Lake beautiful in creepy! Winter came early and sight for sore eyes was finally getting a glimpse of the world what you. 'Re heading up the pass ( from the outside interesting, with lots of spots where the trail switches once. A grueling, but watch your footing right off the pass lonesome SD card i found a lonesome SD,. High winds over the years it seems like there are plenty of places where the trail after start...

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