It can be tough because there are small rocks and even steep stretches of just plain ol' slippery dirt. Left on FSR 7601 for 4 miles to Stuart Lake trailhead at end of road. The dramatic red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon set the tone for an experience beyond compare. That's Dragontail Peak to the west. This lake is less cliffy around the edges and more hilly. Once at the top, the winds were definitely stronger with gusts up to 65mph and eventually became sustained winds which made it hard to keep balance with our packs on. To help prevent this too-intimate interaction, always use the privies provided, which keep waste completely out of reach of prying snouts. 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). It's a 1500' elevation gain from down at Snow Lake to this spot. Leavenworth Ranger Station The Enchantment Lakes traverse is a 19-mile trail, usually completed as a multi-day backpack. It will make you feel like you're in a completely different part of the world. You'll have a predominantly uphill hike and be progressively more tired for the more amazing scenery. Further down the trail, a descent along the fast-flowing creek ushers you out of the Middle Enchantments. and a total elapsed time of 13 hours and 40 minutes. For Larches, some time during the first two weeks of October is generally your best bet. Backpacked 10/21-10/22. Hike by WTA Correspondents: The Enchantments Thru-hike is a grueling, but rewarding 18 mile hike through the core Alpine Lakes Basin. Microspikes, poles and my patagonia wind-proof jacket were clutch here! Not much more than 100 years ago, this entire upper basin was filled with Snow Creek Glacier, which now just is just a remnant in the shadows of Little Annapurna. Then take a left on Forest Road 7601 and drive about 3.7 more miles to the trailhead. The “trail” once again becomes difficult to follow (look for faint tread and cairns) as it slants upwards and to the left of a large and very visible larch grove approximately halfway up the climb. Whether this is your introduction to the Enchantments or your parting glance, the views in every direction from this rocky shelf are an equally fitting greeting or sendoff. But I was glad to have the small flashlight in my ten essentials. Crampons were extremely necessary throughout entire trip, ice axe came in handy numerous times. It's got a great beach and some good swimming if it's a warm day. As you descend to the shore, you pass through tall larches whose ages are most likely measured in multiple centuries. LONG DAY!!!! Began hike at 4:30AM on Monday expecting increasing winds. But the real struggle was how many time we lost the trail after the pass. 8 Mile Lake TH. Right now you're about 1.5 miles from the Stuart/Colchuck Lake trailhead. 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. There was also slippery ice underneath the snow, postholing up to our knees, and tricky spots of climbing up and down the rocks/cliffs. 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! There are a variety of campsites available all around you right now, some on the shores of the upper lake and some on the shores of the lower. Ambitious day hikers will be richly rewarded for tackling all 20 miles in a day. of difficulty. The view back across the water reveals a stair-step wall of granite over which the main creek cascades down to the lake. Larches, me, and a whole lotta beauty. There are plenty of places where the trail breaks out into the open and you get good views of the peaks above. For reference, I had spikes, gaiters, waterproof shoes, rain jacket/pants, and layers. Many do it this way because camping … Once in the Enchantments Basin, avoid the trail around a small lake meant to summit Dragontail Peak and head left toward Tranquil Lake. While the pass was indeed blustery and cold, once we got a bit off the pass it was actually very pleasant. 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. To hike and stay overnight you must first contact the Washington Trail Association or Forest Service to obtain a permit. Planned to trail run from Stuart Lake TH to Snow Lake TH in 6hours but it took 10 hours. Share. Decomposition of the wood provides scarce organic material to soils in alpine areas like the Enchantments. Soon after, the route begins climbing steeply over jumbled talus; this is the start of Aasgard Pass. This is a great place to grab some water if you need a refill. It's obvious once you get to the pass because you'll see Shield Lake below on the other side. Absolutely loved it. I am no Pro athlete nor am I an avid hiker doing this every weekend. Those who explore this remote area of Washington State find that neither the beauty of this place nor the challenge of this trail can be overstated.  This means they are like pine trees in that they have needles, but the needles actually turn color and drop every year. Had lunch at Snow Lakes and filled up on water before heading out. You're crossing Mountaineer Creek at about 4000', the lower of two crossings of this creek. Alpine Lakes Wilderness. RATE THIS STORY: Submit Rating . The Enchantment Lakes Traverse is a great trail running option in Washington. I would rather do the Ironman Whistler bike course again! 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. This guide uses the thru-hike as a basis for describing the route through the entire Enchantments. 10-19-2020. Parking anywhere else along Road 7601 is not allowed. 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 passed a Ranger who told us that the winds would be less severe at the lower half of Lake Vivienne after the rebar. After climbing for just over 1.6 miles (4.2 miles total) you'll reach your junction with Colchuck Lake. I had a 20lb pack and my husband had a 30lb pack. Search for Colchuck Lake and then use the map to also click in the core section to get the forecast at the higher elevation. Turquoise, emerald, and aquamarine alpine lakes are scattered through the jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks. Tuesday, Trekked up to Prusik Pass to witness two climbers reach the top of Prusik peak. At the Snow Lake trailhead follow the soft wooded trail along Snow Creek, past several small waterfalls, and through a lush alpine forest. Inspiration wasn’t frozen over and I caught some nice trout for dinner. I would not recommend doing this trail so late in the season as we did. Should be pretty easy. It will be worth it! Highlights include glacial-fed alpine lakes, impressive granite peaks, spectacular views, and… Turn north here for a little side trip up to Prusik Pass. From here, head on the southeast-bound trail on your left, towards Colchuck Lake. Located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington state, this is a wonderland of alpine lakes, jagged mountains, and waterfalls. The permit lottery system might actually decide this for you based on what zones you're allowed to camp in! Total Ascent: 5780 feet: Total Descent: 7878 feet: Max Elevation: 7811 feet: Min Elevation: This is the classic view of Little Annapurna on the other side, its gradual slope on the right, steep rocky spires on the left. We hit Stuart Lake TH at 4:30 am and got a parking spot just fine. Long before you reach the parking lot, you will be shuffling listlessly, every step a small victory of mind over matter. 209S map, Buy the Green Trails Mount Stuart No. Despite previous reviews from the week the lakes were not frozen over. If you believe it is yours, please contact me with details on the brand and capacity of the card. If you're just here for the day, you'll still need a Northwest Forest Pass to park. Around the grove, the route hugs the sheer rock opposite Dragontail Peak (the dark imposing pyramid that blocks out most of the sky to your right when looking uphill), before traveling through a section of loose rock and scree. Depending on your fitness and availability, the time for hiking the Enchantments trail varies. This trailhead can get busy, so hopefully you locked up your things if you left a car here. Northwest Forest Pass required.Note that FR 7601 from Icicle Creek Road to the trailhead closes during the winter, typically from November to May, making for a short summer hiking season. We made it through the snow with just trail running shoes. These are usually taken from a place called Gnome Tarn, which is a just downhill from you, almost straight south along this ridge. Upper Enchantments were exposed as always with most larches bare and lakes frozen over. To get here, drive 8.5 miles on Icicle Road from Hwy 2, just on the west edge of Leavenworth. 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