Ambitious day hikers will be richly rewarded for tackling all 20 miles in a day. On a nice day you might see some climbers on Prusik Peak. 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 took the loop connector from snow lakes to Stuart so you do not have to worry about two cars. We moved into the middle enchantments to set up camp. Even if you don't get the Core Enchantments, you can still really enjoy the area by keeping camp at Snow or Colchuck Lakes. We had our ceremony, which was witnessed by Charlie the Chipmunk, then had some post-ceremony festivities before making our way around the lake to officially start our honeymoon with an ascent up Aasgard's Pass at around 1145. After climbing for just over 1.6 miles (4.2 miles total) you'll reach your junction with Colchuck Lake. Elevation 3400'. There are three ways to experience the Enchantments, none easy. by Green Trails Maps. When we did it in July 2017 this section was fully covered in snow, making it hard to follow the trail at times. Colchuck Lake was nice with clear skies and little wind. The Forest Service has posted a video guide to hiking safely with goats. “Perfection” is no idle exaggeration. Leavenworth, WA 98826 Applications for permits are accepted starting in February each year. He said that would probably be the safest place to make camp if we could make it. Just above this waterfall is a beautiful meadow with water trickling through it. From here up, there is not really much more vegetation, so if you need shelter for camping, look around for big boulders. Viviane rivals Inspiration for the drama of its setting. Our total trail distance was 23.12 miles, with a moving time of 12 hours and 10 minutes (hey, we stopped for LOTS of pictures!) This campground offers a little more privacy than the popular options you come across first. The trailhead will be on your left in 4 miles after turning. After getting ready for bed off Icicle Road, I realized I had left my headlamp at home. 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). No snow on the pass but sections of ice from spray off the waterfalls. (Also, don't forget you need Northwest Forest Pass, or America the Beautiful Parks pass, any of the Federal passes, NOT the WA Discovery Pass - you can pick up passes at Dan's Market at the start of town or the gas station at the end of town.). Then follow the trail over ridges, through alpine meadows, and a medley of lakes, granite peaks and subapline larches. 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. 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. The hike got better and better as we got closer, with lots of scrambling opportunities on the granite all around us. The Snow Lake entrance is longer, more gradual, and less scenic. Larches, me, and a whole lotta beauty. Enjoy views up the valley, unfortunately because trees in this area have been cleared by wildfires in 1994, 2001, and 2004. Began hike at 4:30AM on Monday expecting increasing winds. Unfortunately we got to Rebar at night so though best not to attempt that with our packs at night. We agreed we will attempt this again earlier in the season and stay a couple nights. The Enchantment Lakes are an alpine wonderland of pristine lakes set among polished granite, soaring peaks, blazing larches, and ambling mountain goats. July-September is the best time to avoid the snow. Our tax identification number is EIN 91-0900134. If I were to go again I’d buy a higher rated sleeping pad. You may have seen some of the classic Prusik Peak photos taken up close with a small lake in front of it (like this one). Views are simply awesome throughout the ascent, stretching from nearby Colchuck Peak and the aquamarine of Colchuck Lake to Glacier Peak and Mount Baker in the distance. We all head to throw most of our layers on about half way up and then onto the pass. Prusik Peak (8000') is sort of an icon of the Enchantments region and is photographed almost as often as Lady Gaga. First off, if you're through-hiking it, i can't think of any good reason to start from the Snow Lakes side. Hang it up in a tree if you want. Day one of the trip is 8.8 miles and 4,000’ elevation gain. Core Enchantments: From Colchuck Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass: 2.5 miles (one way) 2,500 ft elevation gain. Our goal was to run as much of it as we could. Thankfully we didn’t have much wind to contend with even though forecast said strong winds. Finished at 550 pm via Snowy Lake TH. Permits are awarded by the Forest Service through a lottery that opens in February. This area can have stretches of snow crossing even in late summer. Superlatives simply don’t suffice, and you quickly find yourself resorting to otherworldly comparisons, just like the early visitors who bestowed place names like Aasgard, Sprite and Leprechaun on the fairytale surroundings. There were a few puddles and trees on the trail. 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. 5 votes so far . The trail was well marked with Cairns and became more visible as we exited the Core zone and entered Snow Zone. We saw one group this day. This means they are like pine trees in that they have needles, but the needles actually turn color and drop every year. 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. 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. Tel: 509.458.6977. 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. What an amazingly beautiful and adventurous trail! You're crossing Mountaineer Creek at about 4000', the lower of two crossings of this creek. A short while later, the trail climbs slightly and rounds the corner to Sprite Lake, connected to Perfection by a narrow slot of white water. Also the little knoll between Temple Lake and Lake Viviane offers awesome views down to Lake Viviane and even up at Little Annapurna. 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. 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! If you're parking here for multiple days, don't forget to put your Enchantments parking permit on your dashboard. The summit itself is very interesting, with almost man-made looking rocky spines parallel to each other. This causes them to follow their human guests a little too closely, which is as unsettling as disappointing (a mountain goat trying to drink your urine loses a bit of its wise, dignified mien). You're at about 2600' right now and the trail kinda levels out a bit around here. I wore insulted pants and thermal bottoms and was way too warm (two crazy people in our group wore shorts and never complained). There are a few nice flat places along the shore that are marked "Day use only" that you can use to relax. The rest of the trail was easy but LONG and the few switchbacks we went down definitely took its toll on our knees. Backcountry camping permit. I do love endurance sports such as Ironman Triathlons. To be on the safe side, plan your hike for mid-July to late-September. Extremely high winds over the pass but very good visibility for entire surrounding area. And freezing temps (frozen boots, socks, water, etc.) Time it right. Two expert "Trail Legends" give us the low-down on one of the best hikes in the southwest. You might see rock climbers up there. Starting from the Stuart Lake trailhead, follow the route to Colchuck Lake. There are lots of camps around this lake, but the bugs can be bad in July and August, even into September if you set up in the more marshy areas. Quite a trudge, but once you get up here, trust me, your energy will be renewed. Made a game plan and hiked down to Vivianne to set up camp. 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. Contributors. The only way to visit the Enchantments is by hiking and it is no easy task. From the inlet of Upper Snow Lake to Lake Viviane: 1.5 miles (one way) 1,400 ft elevation gain. Starting at either end hike through forest to gain the 7,000-foot plateau. (Or 4.2 miles up Icicle Road from the Snow Creek trailhead). The Bavarian town of Leavenworth is located in the midst of beautiful alpine mountains and lakes, making it a great base camp for day hikes. Sorry Snow, but Colchuck Lake has you beat as far as scenery and accessibility. Runner Notes This trail can be done as a run-hike, although footing is challenging throughout, and it's easier to start going up Aasgard than descending Aasgard at the end. Trail Conditions. 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. 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. The Enchantments thru-hike (beginning at Colchuck) is not overrated, it’s a glorious journey of epic, constantly changing landscapes and terrain, it feels like trekking across Middle Earth. The stretch between Lake Viviane and the mouth of Upper Snow Lake is rugged at times (including some scramble sections) and breathtakingly beautiful. Once in the Enchantments Basin, avoid the trail around a small lake meant to summit Dragontail Peak and head left toward Tranquil Lake. There was also slippery ice underneath the snow, postholing up to our knees, and tricky spots of climbing up and down the rocks/cliffs. This post is all about our personal experience on our third day of Backpacking The Enchantments. For reference, I had spikes, gaiters, waterproof shoes, rain jacket/pants, and layers. Then the snow/ice disappeared. After an exhausting day mentally, emotionally and physically we decided to just make for the Snow Lakes Trailhead and head back to Leavenworth for a night of recoup in a warm room with pizza and LOTS of beer! It also got very cold. I found a lonesome sd card, right at the top of Aasgard. On the trail parts this was mostly unproblematic, albeit annoying, but on the scramble parts over rocky terrain there were a few exposed spots with ice on it which required off-trail routes. There's a nice little waterfall between the two and if you aim your camera properly you can get a great shot of the waterfall with Little Annapurna in the background. This spot also serves as a good landmark if you want to head uphill to the south for a Little Annapurna peak-bag side trip. This trailhead can get busy, so hopefully you locked up your things if you left a car here. A hard-to-acquire permit is required to camp in any of the area's five zones, with the Enchantment Core permit being the most desirable. 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. Thank goodness for some piles of rocks to lead the way (and download the AllTrails map!). Like many of the lakes up here, it is hard to capture the entire scene with a single photo because of how high the surrounding peaks shoot up into the sky. The top of the lake is shallow and perfectly clear. 600 Sherbourne All who come here would agree: the pain is a small, small price to pay. Ticket is $50 plus a $30 processing fee! We used NOAA for our weather checks beforehand. If you're parking here for multiple days, don't forget to put your Enchantments parking permit on your dashboard. There are plenty of places where the trail breaks out into the open and you get good views of the peaks above. Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking events, news, gear reviews and more. 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. 1:44500 scale detail of the Enchantment Lakes Area. Recommend: poles, spikes, lots of layers, gloves for the rocks, headlamp. Skip the Pacific Crest for 770-mies of solitude on the Grand Enchantment Trail, and find out how to make the most of our trip today. A little bit of bushwhacking required, but a nice beach spot if the water level is right and you want to get a head start on Aasgard Pass in the morning. The Temple and Prusik Peak surround the lake on the north side. The Enchantments Trail is a 23.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. You now follow the Snow Lakes trail back to its start on Icicle Creek Road. Federal Northwest Forest Pass required to park, backcountry camping permits required to camp, awarded by lottery by the Leavenworth Ranger Staion, Wenatchee National Forest This guide uses the thru-hike as a basis for describing the route through the entire Enchantments. Trail Running the Enchantment Lakes Traverse. A bit later i ditched the pullover as well. 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. Overview Near the Bavarian town of Leavenworth (but hidden from sight), The Enchantments loom. I am no Pro athlete nor am I an avid hiker doing this every weekend. Many do it this way because camping … There was a big boulder that blocked some of the wind so we put the tent up and hoped for the best. Once off the pass i ditched the micro puff. No fires or dogs up here. The Enchantment Lakes is a high alpine basin full of lakes, larch, mountain goats, and fantastically stark granite that is considered by many to be the best hike in the state. The Enchantments is considered by many to be the best backpacking destination in Washington State. Enjoy the rocky spires above you on both sides, but watch your footing. Asgard with 40 mph gusts was extremely challenging. They're great to climb up on for that final lofty summit feeling. Had lunch at Snow Lakes and filled up on water before heading out. 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. Easy hiking from there until the end with some steep downhills. Upper Enchantments were exposed as always with most larches bare and lakes frozen over. Above here, the scenery is really nice though. The lakes in this section sit in a stark moonscape of rock, scree and ice below the long ridge culminating in the summit of Dragontail Peak, just above the pass. 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. Recommend bringing layers, hat and poles for technical downhill. Temple Lake, 6880', is just a short side trip from the main trail. Trail sign for Prusik Pass, Backpacking the Enchantments It took us twenty or thirty minutes to get to Prusik Pass from Inspiration Lake. It will also become much rockier. A long, strenuous day hike or backpack through one of the most beautiful alpine settings on earth, The Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. From Leavenworth, S on Icicle Creek Rd (FSR 7600) 8.5 miles. Ran/trotted about 40-50% of it. RECOMMENDED ROUTE Difficult. 8 Mile Lake TH. If you are a hiker, the Enchantments is a destination that belongs at the top of your list. Without snow, it would easily be a 6/10. You usually know by March/April if you "scored" and are permitted camp up there. The start of the Enchantments Basin . Add Your Recommended Routes. 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. It can be difficult to find at times, so just follow the cairns. But once we got to Asgard that was a whole different story. 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. The peak season is dying down, but an early start got us a parking space. I recommend an overnight trip that's at least two nights, hopefully three. 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. So named because we had a relaxing afternoon here one year throwing down on some Jiffy Pop. The Grand Enchantment Trail begins 45 miles east of downtown Phoenix, AZ at the First Water Trailhead in the Superstition Mountains (Tonto National Forest). Travel over narrow rock ledges along Leprechaun’s shore before heading over open terrain and then climbing above steep slopes on its twisting way down to Lake Viviane, the last (or first) of the lakes. After walking flat for a bit, you'll come up on 4900' Nada Lake. 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! At the top it was amazing, but hard to enjoy bc the winds. Up in the pass we saw decent amounts of snow. We passed a Ranger who told us that the winds would be less severe at the lower half of Lake Vivienne after the rebar. Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. Perfection Lake (7000') is well-named. It's a 1500' elevation gain from down at Snow Lake to this spot. To do that requires scheduling ahead to get a permit (pffft, planning?). Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It sits in a deep basin below the long, graceful fingers of upturned granite that make up Prusik Peak. This is THE backpacking destination in the state of Washington. Lake Viviane, elevation 6800', is the lowest lake of the Lower Enchantments. If you still fail, it's probably worth waiting until after 9 AM, when they start handing out unclaimed reserved permits. This ones a knee burner! 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. If i can do this at 39 yrs old, with IT band and knee issues, and a 20lb pack then you can too! On the pass i had a thermal top, soft shell pullover, and micro puff. You can easily eyeball your route up this thing and it's a simple Class 2-3 scramble. Turn north here for a little side trip up to Prusik Pass. Depending on your fitness and availability, the time for hiking the Enchantments trail varies. Overall: 10/17/2020- beautiful like usual. If you are appropriately conditioned, a run of the 19-mile Enchantments traverse is a very rewarding goal. The Enchantments from Little Annapurna. Not all campsites are right off the trail, so you may need to poke around a bit. 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