Snow Lakes Trail

HARD 32 reviews
#12 of 137 trails in

Snow Lakes Trail is a 16.2 mile 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 May until November.

16.2 miles
4931 feet
Out & Back






trail running





wild flowers



no dogs

Directions from Leavenworth: Take Icicle Road west for approximately 5 miles to a winter recreation area on the left. Watch for the Snow Lakes Trailhead immediately beyond.

1 month ago

1 month ago

We camped at Snow Lakes 6/17 - 6/19.

Trail conditions were great, besides a few downed trees you have to crawl under/over, but that keeps things interesting. There are some fun boulder fields you have to cross that might be difficult for some, but are manageable. Crossing the dam at Snow Lakes was fun (bring water shoes/sandals).

We hiked up to Lake Viviane on Sunday which was 85% covered in snow. Cool inclines with some scrambling, and a couple snow drifts to cross that may be scary for some, but don't really require spikes or poles. We were greeted by Bill the mountain goat and his kid Billy. They came pretty close to us and are curious creatures. The hike back down to Snow Lakes was pretty quick compared to the climb up.

We woke up to about 6 mountain goats in our camp which was neat. They were there up until we left. And yeah, they love it when you pee on the rocks!

Plenty of water sources to fill your water bottle, just bring a filter.

I can't wait to see the rest of the Enchantments someday.

2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Once you cross the lake from lower snow lake to upper, there's a little snow but nothing major. Those first sets of switch backs are no joke!

2 months ago

4 months ago

4 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I've been on. Just gorgeous. Jaw dropping views at every switchback.

We were equipped for hiking but not snow hiking (no snow shoes or crampons, just poles). We'd planned a lower altitude hike further along Icicle Creek Road, but it was closed due to weather, so we doubled back and gave Snow Lakes a try.

First mile was lovely, amazing views everywhere, and we had the trail pretty much to ourselves this early in the year. Some snowy and icy patches here and there, but nothing too worrying.

About a mile and a half in, once we got past all the switchbacks up the mountain and onto a straightaway, the snow got a lot more dense and the trail more treacherous. We weren't really equipped for the snow, and at this point in the trail one wrong foot would have sent one of us plummeting down a sheer cliff side into a ravine, so we turned back at the stream that crosses the path. Lovely until then though! Pack appropriately!

10 months ago

hard trip and the long way to the core zone...we will go through colchuck next time....but a great trip!

11 months ago

Difficult yet beautiful

Saturday, July 30, 2016

amazing view and trail

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The largest lakes in The Enchantments zone and well worth the long haul. First let me clarify, starting at Snow Lakes trail head off Icicle Road hiking to Lower & Upper Snow Lakes is somewhere between 6-7 miles, if returning the same way that's 12-14 miles. The 24.9 miles shown in the hikes description is referring to hiking The Enchantment Traverse which is a totally different beast. With recent reviews ranging from "we lost the trail", "couldn't make it to snow lakes" to "the lakes are very accessible" we decided to take a day trip before backpacking next week.

Personally I think the hardest part of the hike is the first mile which leaves you climbing steep switchbacks with little cover due to past forest fires until you reach more wooded terrain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness about 2200ft. Next switchbacks start around 2.5 miles across slides into the valley. Just over 4 miles in at about 4000ft cross a sturdy bridge and continue trekking for another mile and a half to Nada Lake. Nice spot for a quick rest but don't get to comfy the much more rewarding snow lakes lie just another mile.

Left at 10am 5/21 after a few hours of pouring morning rain. We were testing our backpacking gear with 40lbs so took us about 3-1/2 to 4hrs to reach Snow Lakes with only a few short stops, could be done quicker in summer months with less/lighter gear. Coming down takes a little less time but would not suggest leaving the lakes much later than 3-4pm unless you want to be hiking back to the car in the dark. Used our rain coats and rain flys for packs but DID NOT need snow shoes, crampons or micro spikes to reach the lakes.

There were some tree's down and large rocks in places but after the winter we had what else would one expect? No bugs when we went. Most of the snow is gone, some patches in shady spots and above Nada Lake but nothing that has not already been walked on or easily walked around. Snow Lakes were completely thawed. There were several groups of hikers who reported small amounts of fresh snow from Friday night 5/20 but it was all melted by the time we arrived the lakes by 2pm. Through hikers heading to Upper Enchantment Lakes & Asgard Pass seemed to all have crampons and those who had snow shoes reported not needing them. In terms of people recently reporting losing the trail keep an eye out for easy to spot stacks of rocks left by other hikers, foot prints, pole marks. Unless you had never done this hike before or were very unfamiliar with Leavenworth area I can't imagine ever feeling lost.

In addition to beautiful alpine lakes this hike also includes frequent mountain goat sightings and is sure to leave you feeling WORKED if done in one day. Happy Hiking!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

This trail is for serious hikers. The unfavorable switchbacks and rocky (loose) terrain, not to mention you lose sight of the trail (snow) roughy 5 miles up. We found ourselves making up a trail as we went. Never made it to the Lakes, because of the uncertainty. Lots of bugs also.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Steep for the 1st hour or so, then a bit more gradual until you near the top where the incline becomes steep once agin. This is one of my favorites as you hike up along side the Snow Creek past several waterfalls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Long hike to get to the edge of the Enchantments, but upper Snow Lake is gorgeous. Lake Nada looks more impressive from high above while on the way back. The first mile can get hot if you get a late start on a sunny day, and then much cooler around the Snow Lakes. 99% snow free all the way to the lakes as of May 16.

trail running
Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ignore the people who clearly didn't make it to even Lake Nada. This is a strenuous hike simply due to the elevation gain over a long distance. Climbing and switchbacks are just part of hiking so if you don't like to work, don't hike. There are water sources all the way up with the exception of maybe the first mile where you climb up from Icicle Creek. My biggest complaint is that there isn't any chance for solitude. The Enchantments are popular and you meet people in both directions frequently along the trail.

This trail is a smoker though. If you carry excessive weight or if you are not in shape get ready for a miserable couple days of exercise.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014