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Wintery backpack to Colchuck Lake

Leavenworth, Washington

Details

Distance

8 miles

Elevation Gain

2280 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Austin Johnson

This amazing hike takes you into a winter wonderland where you are surrounded by mountain peaks, and Colchuck Lake.

The Enchantments are arguably the most beautiful area in North America, which means it is also very popular. In order to hike here you need apply for permits online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/... . This happens towards the beginning of the year and the permit season now lasts from May 15th to October 31st. Outside this time you are still able to hike here without a permit. 

After a long drive up a very bumpy forest road, you will reach the fairly large parking lot for the Stuart Lake trailhead. There is one restroom near the trailhead so I suggest using it before going. 

Starting at roughly 3200 feet in elevation this hike takes you on a steady journey up into the mountains. Throughout the hike you are under tree cover. However, come fall time this place turns into a magical oasis of red and orange. 

The Stuart/ Colchuck Lake there are several river crossings, most with bridges, with only a few forcing you to figure out how to get across. They are fairly simple to go across. However, after a heavy rainfall these rivers become very large, making them very difficult and dangerous to cross. These rivers can also swallow whole sections of the trail making for a whole other adventure of trying to find where the trail went. 

Halfway to the top there is a fork in the trail, one veering slightly to the right leading to Stuart Lake (also very beautiful) and one to the left which leads to Colchuck Lake. After this point is where you will gain a majority of the elevation for the hike. 

Once to the lake there are several trails going every which way to different camp sites and down to the lake. At this point it is good idea to find a good established camp site, and set up your tents to lighten your load. This is also a great time to get a snack or eat lunch. 

Once you are ready you can just go exploring the lake, and its surrounding area. Aasgard Pass is an extremely tough and potentially dangerous hike, as well as summiting one of the surrounding peaks (this requires technical climbing because they are glaciated and cliff faces.)

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Features

Rock Climbing
Camping
Photography
Swimming
Snowshoeing
Backpacking
Hiking
Beach
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Aasgard Pass via Stuart Lake Trail

Climb to the Summit of Colchuck Peak

Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail

Night Photography at Colchuck Lake

Snowshoe to Colchuck Lake

Scramble to the Summit of Dragontail Peak