Colchuck Lake Trail

HARD 452 reviews
#2 of 31 trails in

Colchuck Lake Trail is a 7.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,319 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

no dogs

This is a challenging hike with beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. This alpine lake is accompanied by the twin spires of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak at the far end of the lake. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. A northwest forest pass is required. The hike starts out with an easy mile and a half, creek side walk through the forest. At some points along this portion of the hike you will catch a glimpse of Mountaineer Creek. After the walk through the woods, you will cross the creek on a bridge before beginning the first real incline of the hike. After a series of rocky switch backs you will reach the trail junction for Stuart, and Colchuck lakes. Stay to the left and you will happen upon another log bridge, stunning vistas that act as the gateway to the wilderness. You will stay to the right after crossing the bridge, and walk along the creek before your next big push uphill. The climb remains pretty consistent rocky, and with tree roots but manageable. You will have a few areas with views perfect for photo opportunities on your way to the lake. Once you reach Colchuck lake, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the blue/green lake with the peaks towering behind it. The trail continues past Colchuck Luck up Aasgard Pass to the Enchantment Lakes if you choose to extend your hike. If not, return the way you came.

hiking
42 seconds ago

This was my first “real” hike ever and the rapid elevation gain was pretty tough at times but having lunch and a quick dip at the lake made it worth it. I think it took us about 3.5 hours up and 3 down. Be sure to bring lots of water, sun protection, and bug spray. The flies, mosquitoes and bees were no joke and honestly I don’t know if the bug spray helped at all.

hiking
11 hours ago

Trail condition was great! Bring your bug spray though because those will definitely get to you, no matter how fast you're making it up. I'd say this was more of a moderate hike for me, but it was definitely challenging at some times. Lots of wildlife to look at, but unfortunately I didn't see the goats. The lake is perfect for a dip, especially in hot summer weather.

hiking
1 day ago

Great hike. I’d rate more of a moderate, but definitely a harder moderate than some. The road up to the trailhead was rough. The hike itself was beautiful, and that view at the end couldn’t be beat. We went swimming in the lake to cool off and it was so refreshing.

hiking
1 day ago

The first part of the trail is pretty easy. Once you hit the second bridge you have to billy goat your way to the top using lots of switchbacks

hiking
1 day ago

Well, it was a last minute decision to hike this, so, we took the ridiculous decision to Star the hike at 4:00pm, because we had such a pressure to get to the lake, it was very hard trying to keep a consistent pace going up hill, definitely this trail requires to have some condition. Anyway we made it to trailhead on time way before the sunset at 9:10ish, we were lucky!

The “mosquito hour” was crazy and as I read in last reviews, and yes they were violent and didn’t care the repellent.

hiking
2 days ago

Trail condition was good, and much of the hike was in shaded areas which helped since it was 95 degrees. There were several viewpoints, and spots to stop along the river. There was also a waterfall prior to the last ascent. Payout at the end is a beautiful alpine lake.

The trail is very popular, and heading back down was fairly busy. We left the trailhead at 7am. Would recommend going early to get a parking spot and beat some of the traffic.

Mosquitos and flies were aggressive. Bring plenty of bug spray.

2 days ago

Fun hike. Hard but it's worth it

hiking
4 days ago

Trail to the junction is easy on the feet and covered, for the most part. Steeper than the first half, the ascent from the junction offered numerous beautiful views. Kept moving and the mosquitos were never an issue. We were tempted to climb up the pass but opted to save that for another day. The first 2 dirt miles were a bit bumpy. Great hike with a stunning lake at the top. Not hard, moderate.

hiking
5 days ago

very nice views with blue /green water

hiking
7 days ago

I love the views and the lake made this trip well worth the drive from Olympia. Beautiful, awesome and just plain perfect.

9 days ago

Would give this a 4.5 if it was available. Super bumpy gravel road for about 3 miles to the TH. Water running along the trail was really nice. View from the top was super. As others have commented, the bugs at the top - and along the trail - were plentiful and aggressive.

9 days ago

My second review of this hike. Went once in October last year and on July 5th, the other day. This is more of an update. Water was too cold to swim and also there was a lot more water than last time as the lake drains all summer so there were no “beach” areas. Definitely soak yourself in bug spray. I applied some and still got about 8 bites, mainly through my clothes which I wasn’t expecting so spray everything. View at the top was amazing as always. Also trail is 9.3 miles round trip, not 8.0.

10 days ago

Loved this hike !!! We were able to do this with a baby pack without much trouble. Wish we would have left earlier to allow more time to explore the lake! My gps showed we hiked over 9mi. There is a $5 parking fee at the trailhead.

hiking
11 days ago

Best hike ever we saw bear next the 2nd bridge crass the raver also we saw the MT gout with the baby lot of them also we saw Deer this hike full with wildlife worth every step

11 days ago

This has been my favorite hike so far. Not a long hike but pretty tough.

hiking
11 days ago

This hike is longer than the 7.7 miles listed on here, especially if you are looking for beautiful view points of Colchuck Lake. The road up to the trailhead is extremely rough, I took it nice and slow the whole way up and back down. (7mph) The trailhead isn’t marked as “Colchuck”, but rather “Stuart Lake”. Each time you come to a marked fork, you’ll take a left. Eventually, there is a fork that is labeled as Colchuck. Spotted a deer on the trail the first half mile in. Very nice early in the morning, I went around 7am. The views are gorgeous the entire trek. Lots of foot traffic coming up as I was leaving. Big groups of 6-8 people. The way back took longer than expected due to this. All in all, a beautiful hike. Would like to do when less people are around.

13 days ago

Amazing hike! Hard with a full pack. The views are amazing along the way up. We had the best camp spot and view. Aasgard is difficult. You need to bring layers and snacks.

14 days ago

Great hike! The view is totally worth it. I’d categorize it as moderate. Never been on a hike this crowded! Parking is hard with all the people. When you get to the end if you make your own trail through the woods a bit there’s a lovely view and no crowds!

hiking
15 days ago

Got to the trail head at 6:30. Pretty crowded, but the lot wasn’t full yet. Hike was great, some parts seem grueling, but then it levels out and you get s break. I agree with other hikers- it doesn’t seem “difficult”. Lots of views on the way up. Trail is really rocky, lotsa roots. Which makes it fun, but my high top boots saved my ankles a couple times when I wasn’t paying attention. The lake is stunning! I lucked out and it was a clear sunny day. The color is incredible. Saw a momma mountain goat with her baby by the lake. Lots of chipmunks too. Had lunch at the lake. Was back in my car at noon. (Took a few breaks on the way up and down for pics and quick rests). Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
15 days ago

This was actually my first hike ever! My friends asked me to go with them. The view from the lake was amazing! I didn’t even know this was classified as a ‘hard’ hike, so I’m proud of myself for accomplishing it on my first try (I must not be that out of shape then :p) Definitely worth the 7.7 miles!!

16 days ago

Absolutely love this hike, one of my favorites so far! Took about two hours each way at a steady pace, the first half is definitely on the easy side, but the second half definitely earns its hard rating (although my trail bud and I still thought it should be a moderate rating). You get a little bit of everything, and then the incredible WOW moment when you hit Colchuck. Make sure to bring lots of mosquito/bug repellent & I recommend getting to the trail between 7-8 am because of parking (and it was getting really populated when we were heading down around 12). Gotta come back to do the alpine swim!

hiking
16 days ago

I rate this hike 5 star! A MUST HIKE! The road to get there was rough with all the gravel. Parking was hard but we got there just in time. The first 1.5mile was moderate, nice scenery with some inclined. The last 3miles or so is all HARD CORE in my opinion. If you like to be challenge, this hike is for you. There are good spots for you to rest though and nice view. Beautiful rocks and easy trails but its good butt and leg work out. I feel like we just had a brazillian lift after this walk:-) When you get to the top.....OH MY, its AMAZING! The price is real. No pain, No gain. Its all worth it. I am planning to go again in a week.

hiking
17 days ago

Stunning hike as always. The lake is amazing. I hiked/skied the glacier also. It wasn't too busy. Insects are out, but not terrible. This a hike that must be done at sometime.

hiking
17 days ago

More like moderate hike. Started at 5.30 am on Thursday and was alone on the trail. Reached the lake at about 7.30 and had the lake to myself with few overnighters. The mosquitoes weren’t awake yet, or it was too cold! :)
On the way back lots of ppl and parking was almost full. But if you arrive before 7am during the week you should be ok.

18 days ago

Lots of mosquitoes, road is a little bumpy but the trail is beautiful.

20 days ago

A bit crowded but lovely. The alpine swim is not to be missed.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful scenery all the way up. Only took two hours at a slow to moderate pace. The views of the lake are incredible and well worth the effort. Take some time to walk the lake shore and jump in if you dare. It’s cold but feels amazing. There is little parking available so be sure to get there early.

hiking
22 days ago

Got to the Stuart lake trail head at 5 am and lot was almost full (Saturday morning). If you get to trailhead late, expect to park and hike a couple miles to the trailhead. Need a America the beautiful pass or $5 to park. Road to trailhead is pretty rough with lots of potholes. Trail terrain is pretty rough with lots of rocks and tree roots, app clocked me at 4.9 miles up to lake. Poles, bug spray, and lots of water is a must. Last mile of hike is the toughest, but overall not as hard as I expected. Trail isn’t very well marked and hard to find path down to lake, but definitely a beauty and must see! The earlier you get there the better, was very crowded on way down with lots of people going up.

hiking
23 days ago

The experience of coming out of the trees and first laying your eyes onto this sea of emerald green is indescribable. It is absolutely stunning and an experience completely worth the hike. The hike in itself isn’t anything strenuous, mild for the first half and then slightly steep for the second but nothing back-breaking (as long as you are in decent physical condition you should be fine). If there is anything specifically I would be worried about then it would be the crowd on weekends. The trail and the lake can get filled up really easily on weekends so starting early or doing on a week day is a much better idea. I started the hike at 5 am on a Saturday and that was completely worth it as I had the lake to myself for almost an hour.

hiking
25 days ago

This was an amazing adventure. The trail is difficult. The last mile is grueling, to say the least. A pretty intense incline over rocks and roots. But there are plenty of amazing view points to stop, stretch, water up, and snack before continuing up. The pay off of the lake at the end is completely worth it.
Started at 7:30am, we reached the lake by Noon, with a very slow and steady pace, taking plenty of water breaks. (Had a newbie with us, didn’t want to push too hard.) Doable in 2 intense hours. 3-4 hours comfortably.
Two of us continued on to reach Colchuck Peak after having lunch by the lake. We reached the top of the snow chute by 9pm, made it to the summit by 9:40pm. The views of the Enchantments, Mount Rainier, Cashmere mountain, and Mount Stuart were unbelievable.
The descent is much quicker, (even in the pitch black.)
BUG SPRAY IS A MUST HAVE ITEM! Otherwise you will get eaten alive by mosquitoes!

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