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First time we hiked it there was none but us. The place is miraculous and a panacea for sure.
Now after returning several times we have found far too many others.

This is a great trail, well maintained. We hit snow on the road and couldn't drop off our second vehicle at Shady Cove Bridge. We parked both vehicles at the Elkhorn Rd trailhead. The trail was well marked, even with small patches of snow. Excellent, beautiful views, quiet, plenty of opportunities to sit, eat lunch, relax.

This must be one of my favorite, if not "the" favorite hike - it has really just about everything: an adventurous drive to the trail-head (more on that later), a forest to start your hike in, a lush mountain meadow, plenty of snow-fields (mid July) all the way to a rock-scrambling part to the lookout at the end. And the views, oh my, the views. Going up, they are beautiful already but once you make it to the ridge that will get you to the lookout, you're in for a real treat. I just wish we had known that it was possible to stay overnight in the lookout - sunset and sunrise must be absolutely stunning from there.
The hike itself is not easy and the last part would be tough for people with vertigo but otherwise we didn't think it was too difficult. It's easily manageable in an afternoon even if you take plenty of time to soak in the views at the top. We saw a bear and a pica rabbit too.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the drive. I saw cars parked at the trail-head that had pretty low clearance, so it must be possible to get there in just about anything but I was really happy that we took a rental 4WD SUV. The forest road is quite steep in places and littered with potholes large enough to break your axle in, so having a higher clearance vehicle comes in handy.
Overall, if there is just one hike you are going to do in this part of the park, make it this one!

This one looks good on paper but is actually tedious, dry in long stretches with mixed, mediocre views and leaves you unsatisfied. Use your valuable time to a different loop.

cool, above tree line hike

Did this hike for the first time today! Loved it! The view towards the end, is amazing!

2 months ago

Incredible. Most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on in the US so far.

I make it a ritual to visit and enjoy the beauty of the opal creek wilderness many times throughout the year. The forest is lush and green and the creek water is transparent turquoise blue. There is some incline and length to this hike. Respect the beauty of the forest and leave no trace.

Hidden lake lookout. Attempt number 3. Success.
It was king of challenge for me, I tried to get to the lookout two times before (May and November), two times in snow, two fails.
The initial plan for today was relax and enjoy snowshoe around Artis Point, but yesterday evening when I was checking reports I found on alltrails.com that somebody put 5 stars for Hidden Lake trail 5 days ago, it was enough for me to change my plans and try Hidden Lake again. Despite great weather I was not sure if I can make it, I still remember how much snow and avalanches was in May, but I decided give it a shot.

Came to trail around 10:30, actually I didn't get to trailhead even on AWD and parked mile or so before TH, 6 or 7 cars already were there. I reached TH in 40 mins and tired, it was difficult to go by snow, decided put on snowshoe after forest part. Forest part was easier, since less snow there, you can do in hiking boots, but gaiters recommended. Met two people going back, they done forest part of the trail and turned back.

Once I reached basin area I starded to follow by ski track, it was not easy, but doable in snowshoe which is a must at this part. I folowed ski track by right side from the stream, when actuall trail goes by left side. There are few avalances already came down, snow looks stable and solid, but anyway pay attention. Clibmed up to second avalanch, which came from the top and turned left to actual trail. Then did couple switchbacks and crossed this avalanch again toward to travers part of the trail. Despite hard and stable snow it was little bit scary to walk by avalnches, but I decided to go, maybe not too smart.

Travers part was very nice and much easier! View was gorgeous, clear views of peaks around, mt Baker, sun, snowshoe. Btw there are some steep slopes on this part as well, I even used iceaxe to go throug it, but as I said I followed by ski track, maybe it possible to find less steep route.

Once I reached end of the travers part I saw many snowshoe footprints at this point I realized that it should be some winter route. Definitely! I've seen many cars but met only two people, and ski track I followed by was few days long.

From this point there are few snowshoe trackы - first is regular trail, second goes to hidden lake peaks. I climbed up by second one, but at this point I did't know that it goes to the peaks, i realized it lated once I got closer. I didn't get to the peak, because it was already 2:30 pm and I had not so much time. I turned right towards to the lookuout, getting closer I've seen some people doing travers by peak to the lookout. In some report guys called this part "do it or die", kind of true :)

So, I reached lake viewpoint, then I took one of the snowshoe track up, travers part to the lookout is very steep, if you will go there you need to be very careful. I put of basket from my right pole and used it as iceaxe, before doing next step I put it deep in snow.

Finally I reached lookout, there were five people and two dogs, they came for overnight. They told me about winter route, it is shorter and much steeper. But! it much safer from avalanch standpoint since it goes through forest and there less snow now. So, if you go tomorrow or before next snowfall you can go by regular route, after snowfal basin area will be risky, but you can try winter route. But as I said it is very very steep espesially at the beginning (from road to lookout)

I took some food and photos and went down by regular route. Yeah, views were just awesome!

On my way back I met three people going up, they came by regular route as me. So, I tool winter route back, first half was easy, since I went down, moderate level of snow, good snowshoe track. Second part was more tough, slopes were much steeper, lots of fallen trees, I lost track little bit, because snow disappeared and I just followed direction to the road. Finally I reache the road, walked down to my car and went home.

Finally I can cross Hidden Lake Lookout trail in my list as completed.

One of the most beautiful hike.

The enchantments basin is incredible and worth the trip. One of the best hikes in Washington

There are mountain goats in the region that will follow you.

Lots of snow up there. I got to the lake viewpoint but not to the lookout, since I was first on the trail and spent lots of time for trail finding and overall visibility was awful. Poles, gaiters is a must. Snowshoe, spikes might be helpful. Find my report on wta

Northern Cascades at its finest.

One of the best views I have had in Washington. Love the enchantments.

4 months ago

Tough hike with good elevation climb. Most of the hike is set off in the woods with no view of the creek or canyon.

Amazing hike! Absolutely beautiful views; definite bucket list worthy. Just be very careful on your way down as there’s no clear trail markings.

My favorite hike in the lower 48!

4 months ago

I absolutely loved this hike! We got up to the lookout early so we could secure our spot, but I would have loved to camp out by the lake as well. The lookout is the most maintained and well kept lookout I've been to! I will definitely be doing this hike again.

Amazing views throughout. Upper half of the trail had plenty of snow but thankfully hikers before us blazed an easy trail. The snow made the rocks at the top pretty slippery but still manageable at a slow pace. Snow also made it difficult to get to the lookout cabin so we'll have to do that next time!

This hike was definitely more fulfilling than my previous hike to Lake Vicente (which was also gorgeous)
It took us about 13 hours to complete while taking several long breaks. It definitely isn’t just 17.9 miles, especially considering you’ll wander around some parts for pictures. Ended up being 22.4 miles total. We started at the Stuart Lake trailhead, so the first 8 miles were very strenuous but also extremely beautiful. After completing the hike, I was glad I didn’t start at the Snow Lakes trailhead, as it is very tedious, long, and not too exciting until you reach the upper enchantments. There were also so many switchbacks and boulder fields on the snow lakes side, it was pretty annoying for me. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t do it in one day, as it is very strenuous, no matter how fit you think you are. I would also turn around after reaching the upper enchantments after submitting asgaard pass. Asgaard pass has a reputation for a reason by the way. It is a killer! Very steep! Took us about 2 hours to climb it. The views at the top are indescribable though. I truly have no words for how beautiful it is. Lots of beautiful larches at the top as well. There are many helpful cairns throughout the hike, and in some places, you will need to refer to them.

Good trail: a bit rooty for the first half hour in the trees.Upper elevations rocky with some side slabs.
Views are amazing. Cool fire Lookout perched at the Peak. Treatable water throughout, including tarns 600 feet lower than the Peak. Snow can be a problem as approach trail climbs a shaded steep valley.

This trail is 13.6 miles round trip, not 10.6. The last mile and a half is rough.

This is a late review. Myself and 5 other guys won a core zone permit in July of 2015 and hiked this one in three days, spending two nights. We camped at edge of Colchuck Lake on night one and camped at Snow Lake on night two. So we walked about 6 miles a day.

This hike / camping trip was a total adventure. Just an amazing life experience. Such a beautiful wonderland in this area. Absolutely recommended for anyone who wants a transformative hiking experience. If you can get the permit and spend a couple of nights- that's the way to go.

What I liked about starting on the Colchuck side: going up Asgard Pass. It was hard and mildly harrowing with a 25+ pound pack on, but it made for a fine feeling of accomplishment when we got to the top. We had to make it to Snow Lake to camp by night fall so that was a big day in terms of exercise, but short of adding another night to the trip- that was the way to do it.

5 months ago

Check out our video at TrailPerspective on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aX2oTF55Rzs

We started hiking the enchantments at the Snow Lakes TH due to the Jack Creek Fire closing down the Stuart Lake TH, making the thru hike impossible. We decided to do an out and back hike from Snow Lakes TH since we had a Core Enchantment Permit.

When we started the trail from Snow Lakes TH at 7:30AM we saw people very infrequently, and only the smell of smoke was evident. After completing the switchback marathon shortly after leaving the trailhead, we stopped once just before the Snow Creek crossing and again at the day use area on Nada Lake (Nada is way more beautiful than i expected,better than snow in my opinion). After lunch at Nada, we pushed to the snow lakes and encountered our first real boulder scrambling/decent elevation push. Cairns are easy to follow, just remember to keep looking for them. We often stopped looking out for them and just followed what we thought was the trail. Never got too far off course, but the cairns are there for a reason and following them is most likely the easiest path.

We arrived at the Snow Lakes exhausted, and saw plenty of open campsites around 1pm. However, many people seem to start from the TH late (9:00 or later) and expect to get a site at snow lake when they roll in around 6pm. I would highly recommend starting early or if starting late, settling for a site at Nada or earlier. We saw many hikers desperately seeking sites at snow lake around 4-6pm on our way back out.

So we continued to push toward the end of upper snow lake where we found a very nice campsite at the base of the push to Lake Viviane and the start of the core enchantment zone. It was 2pm and we were exhausted. Even though we took it very slow the entire day, other factors such as my buddy recovering from a respritory infection, etc prevented us from making better time.

Against our better judgement, we decided to push to Viviane on our first day. We were in that sort of numb exhaustion where you're tired but your body is just on autopilot. Anyway, this push from snow to viviane was definitely the hardest portion of the trip for us. However, this might've been due to our already depleted energy levels.

Alot of boulder scrambling and pretty much nothing but elevation gain, we arrived at lake viviane and set up camp. There was a commanding view from this site with boulders all around to lay out on (in attached video). Upper snow lake can be seen and its probably the best camp spot for watching the sunrise due to dropoff to snow lake being right next to it. There was a toilet with the best view, and was by far the best trail dump i've ever taken. Being able to sit down to go to the bathroom outdoors is a crazy luxury.

We were then stalked by a goat the entire night. We never peed at the site, but the goat was intelligent and knew that hikers mean pee so he didn't leave us alone. It was like having a dog just chilling at the foot of your bed. The goat was there when we went to sleep, and when we woke up at night. Not aggressive but we still kept our distance, even though he pretty much followed us on all of our camp chores.

The following day, we deeper into the core and were stunned by the beauty of the lakes (leprechaun,sprite,perfection,inspiration,gnome tarn). They were all sooo stunning and the smoke was non-existent. Its hard to choose but I would say my favorites were (Viviane,Gnome tarn,Leprechaun,& perfection).

We set up camp at Perfection, and lighten our packs to day hike out to Gnome tarn for some tea. By the time we made it up to Prusik pass, looking back at perfection lake and little annapurna was begining to look very smoky (pic attached). The route to gnome tarn beyond Prusik Pass is difficult to navigate. Theres cairns but some must have been knocked over, and so we had to basically just blind scramble until we got to the base of Prusik and found the trail down to Gnome Tarn. This side trip is an ABSOLUTE MUST, gnome tarn is so stunningly beautiful with prusik in the background. Prusik looks so different from every angle and this angle from gnome tarn is the MOST stunning. Lake viviane is also visible from the gnome tarn area, far below.

On our way back to camp at perfection, the smoke make little Annapurna disapear. We couldn't see it from perfection anymore. Worried about my hiking partner's respritory infection, we decided to pack up and get back down to Snow lake to make the hike out easier for the next day (~8mi instead of ~11mi). By the time we got back down to the snow lakes around 4pm, many sites were taken. However, we found a good site on lower snow putting us right near the decent to Nada for the next day.

This is were we started seeing hikers rolling in from their first day and expecting to find a spot at Snow at like 6PM! Not much available to say the least.

Our last day was a ton of descent and passing alot of sleeping

Amazing hike great views!

Amazing!! So worth the hike

6 months ago

Friday 9-15-2017: My friend, wife, and I hiked to Hidden Lake Lookout. The road to the trailhead is rough. The weather was sunny and the temperature was 42 to 75 degrees. The mountains, glaciers, and the lake were beautiful. There were abundant ripe blueberries around the rock garden. We enjoyed 360 degree view at the lookout cabin. It was a great hike.

Wow, what an amazing adventure! My group had the Enchantment trail at times to ourselves. Simply gorgeous

We hiked up on a cold rainy day, but it was nice watching the fog roll in. Scramble to the top is quite steep.

6 months ago

The Olympic National Park coastal trails are magical, simply put. The trail was dry this day in Sept, but would have been more challenging when wet. Saw harbor seals, whale bones. No raccoons or larger wildlife. Know the tide restrictions and time your hike accordingly. The hike through the forest around hoh head takes longer than you might think considering down trees and many ups and downs. Give yourself plenty of time.

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