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Colchuck Lake Trail

HARD 1346 reviews
#1 of 35 trails in

Colchuck Lake Trail is a 10.1 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: 10.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,454 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

fee

no dogs

Note: The road leading to the trailhead may be closed during the winter and will add 3.5 miles to your overall trip. $5 cash for park fee. You pay at the trail head. 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
4 days ago

I loved this hike so much I featured it on my blog here! https://accordingtomadisonfordblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/hiking-in-leavenworth-colchuck-lake-trail/ Feel free to read more about the experience.

hiking
11 days ago

Great hike 11/23- trail well maintained, some trees down and icy areas. As mentioned below the second bridge leading to the boulders, as well as the boulders were covered in frost/icy so proceed with caution (luckily it was sunny so on the way down it had all melted). Fairly easy trail, increasing incline at the end not all that bad.

11 days ago

Hiked in on Nov 20th. The trail was in great condition. You start to get some snow patches as you get closer to 5000 feet but no ice. I spent 2 nights out at the lake, it was beautiful but cold! Day hiked up Aasgard Pass and had really good conditions. Didn't need crampons but definitely microspikes. I was able to safely ascend and descend the same route. Enjoyed the sunlight on the summit for awhile before returning back to camp. Hiked out early on the Nov 23rd. As stated in the previous review, the bridge crossing just after the stuart/colchuck trail split is frosted up and the boulders were very slippery on my hike out. I imagine with the temperatures now it will probably stay that way so be careful.

hiking
icy
11 days ago

11 days ago

Hiked up to Colchuck Lake on 11/23. The USFS road is a wretched mess - go slow if you have a small car. I got to the trailhead at 8:30am and there was plenty of parking. There’s no fee since permit season is over. No restroom access, as others have noted. The trail was in great shape. The only section that is tricky is after the big(gest) bridge, where you have to traverse boulders that are bridging the gap over the river. It’s super cold up there now and the boulders were covered in frost, as was the bridge. Nearly killed myself (not really) but made it over. Don’t underestimate the slipperiness of those rocks. There’s a section of the trail where many trees are blown down (not on the trail itself) and the trees still standing were groaning and shrieking in the wind today. Spooky and also cool. The lake is frozen because it’s wicked cold at the top. No mountain goats were seen. Beautiful day for a stroll in the ALW.

hiking
icy
12 days ago

Great hike! The road to the trailhead was open still, but not in good condition. No fees to park. Trail was in good shape, with some ice in a couple places, especially by the first bridge, as noted below. The lake was mostly frozen and really beautiful. We went around the lake and started up Aasgard Pass. The going there was slow due to ice and snow on the boulder field, and we turned back when we were 1/3 of the way up due to fading daylight. The Pass is still negotiable though if you get an early start. Microspikes very helpful for the Pass; not needed on the trail up to Colchuck.

hiking
muddy
rocky
18 days ago

No fee currently. Restrooms closed. Minor ice by the river (no micro spikes were needed) poles helped for balance. No snow. Mountains reflected beautifully on the crispy green lake. Very cold at the lake. Could see snow in the mountains. Hike measured 9.5 miles.

hiking
muddy
18 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

The trail doesn’t have snow yet, this hike was 8.5 miles RT.

hiking
muddy
25 days ago

Worth your time. Trail conditions are still good. If the hard rating is off putting, don’t let it be. I would say it’s a little more on the moderate scale

hiking
25 days ago

An absolutely beautiful trail from beginning to end. Trail conditions are still great with very few patches of ice that are easy to avoid. Do not be put off by the ‘hard’ rating as it’s definitely on the ‘easier’ side of that category. The real incline only lasts for 10-20 minutes near the end of the hike and then you are rewarded with the some of the most beautiful shades of blue ever seen in a lake. Follow AllTrails to the end and you will find yourself in a private alcove most people don’t seem to know about!

hiking
rocky
26 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

What a gorgeous day we had! It was a bit chilly when we started out from the trailhead at 8:45am. However, there was no ice or snow on the road or parking lot. The hike begins at a gradual incline for the first one and a half miles, gently weaving you along through the forest. Then as you cross a log bridge, the trail steepens a bit, but not to bad. It's a nice warm up for what's to come. At the Colchuck and Stuart Lake junction, take the trail to the left and cross over another log bridge and some frosty, slippery boulders. Please use caution here as you cross. Continue to the right along the stream and enjoy a brief respite for now your climb begins! The last half mile is the toughest but totally doable. There was a little ice on the trail, but it could be avoided without traction. However, I always carry traction with me just in case. Always be prepared for the unexpected! As of Tuesday, there was no snow on the trail. Now, as you climb, enjoy the views and the big granite boulders. When you think you are almost there, a false ridge appears and you see another ridge beyond which you must climb. However, when you finally see the dark aqua blue waters of Colchuck Lake, it's worth it!

hiking
rocky
29 days ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
30 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Views at the lake are so worth the work out to get there! Moderate to difficult hike. No snow as of yesterday. Poles helped for stability. High temp for the day was 50 and we delayered very quick due to sweating. Whether you plan on hiking colchuck or Stuart lake trails, make the left turn with the sign saying “<—- Stuart lake trail”. SUV/AWD/good tires recommended due to rough road. Pass the parking for eight mile trail and go a little further for Stuart/colchuck lake trails parking. With multiple breaks and chilling at the lake for about an hour, it took us over 5 hours total. **** my boyfriend has a herniated disc and he did just fine (with the help of Advil). *** pack plenty of water and snacks and don’t forget to pack a beer to drink at the lake!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Trail was moderately trafficked yesterday but overall in good condition. Couple of trees down early on in the trail but easy to cross. Some ice on the trail but easy to navigate. No snow at the lake. Beautiful late in the season hike. Took me 5 hours up, 3 hours down. Carrying a heavy pack. This is the first “hard” hike I’ve done. I’ve lived here for 18 months so still working on my PNW legs. Totally doable though!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Not much snow or mud on the main trail today (10/27/2019) After 2mile mark you will start seeing thin layer of snow on both side(main trail still quite clean). The Snow hasn’t start sticking. A few spot are icy and water washed. Beautiful fall color driving to the trailhead. Gorgeous lake view! Few things be aware: 1. Closing to trailhead parking lot, the road condition gets quite bumpy and rugged if you have sedan. 4*4 should be okay. 2.Trekking poles are optional, however I will highly recommend for this trail due to the elevation. 3. After 2miles or so, there will be fork. Left goes to Colchuck lake. 4. On the hike out, there are some side trails. Pay attention stay on the main trail.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

Such an amazing hike. difficult for the inexperienced. We had a 2 night permit. Ended up staying 1 night. The hike up was slow going. took us 3hrs with 30lb packs. Really windy, really cold, REALLY BEAUTIFUL!! Snowed during the night. It was well worth the sore shoulders, back and feet.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

If you have the chance this is a must do hike! Incline is pretty steady all the way up but it’s all worth it once you get to the lake.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

Completed Colchuk Lake yesterday 10/26/2019. The trail was clear of snow for a large part of it, but micro-spikes for ice and light snow were helpful when elevation began to climb. The lake was absolutely astounding with the majestic mountains in the backdrop. Highly recommend.

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