Snow Lakes Trail is a 15.2 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.

DISTANCE
15.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,560 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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.

hiking
1 month ago

This is an ambitious day hike but better than colchuck after 5 miles in. Also don’t need to drive that dreaded dirt road. Must dedicate all day. Two lakes and in between had stunning beauty. Also saw a deer, goats, and even a brown bear all right along trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike, no snow to deal with a little water on the trail at certain points. Bugs were very bad and be aware there is not much tree cover so wear sunblock. Overall a good day on the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Ohh the switchbacks! My calves are singing today. Did a day hike just to the falls. We saw a 4 foot rattler on the way back down stretched the width of the trail. He was minding his own business trying to get to the boulders above.

3 months ago

Challenging and beautiful

hiking
4 months ago

It's was very physical. But worth every step. It was gorgeous, some snow ,but all I needed were some regular shoes with good grip. Even saw a mountain goat. Highly recommended.

11 months ago

Gorgeous in October. Weather was warmer than expected and the sunshine made the colours pop! Especially the Golden Tamaracks and the aqua water in Nada Lake and Upper Snow Lake. It was recommended by hikers coming down from Lake Viviane that I use ice cleats or snow shoes above Snow Lakes. I didn't have the gear so I didn't go any further. But there was very little snow up to that point, and hardly any mud. Very few people mid-week. New granite slides made the trail a little trickier but still a piece of cake for an experienced hiker.

hiking
Sunday, October 01, 2017

This is an awesome trail with fantastic 360 view

hiking
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Awesome hike. Great views of snow lake and the lake below. Had really cool goat encounters. Not too busy. I did up and back. I would have probably should have just continued on to Colchuck (if it was open and I had a 2nd car), since its only not even 2 more miles.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Colchuck lake/Stuart lake trail head is still closed guys!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Wife and I Did this as a day hike setting out about 7 am. August 14, made sure we had a room in Leavenworth with a Hot tub for the evening. The trail starts almost immediately with a long series of switchbacks for the first mile or so, and is an almost constant climb. Outrageous views and some beautiful spots in high forests once the trail starts following snow creek. We chose this trail because we wanted to see the Mountain Goats and we were Not disappointed. Saw a juvenile on the way up, maybe 4 or 5 miles in. He was right on the path but let us pass easy enough. The trail got a little hairy in places where it crosses rock falls where you have to watch every step and stop if you want to take in the view. One place just about 1/2 mile from Lake Nada was mostly loose soil and gravel with a substantial drop if you slipped, but we are flat landers from Florida and both over 50, We were passed by several groups of Younger hikers with full overnight backpacks. We got to Lake Nada around 2 pm and After cooling our feet in the cold clear water for a bit decided we better head back down knowing the nature of the trail. About 3 miles into the descent we came across a Female Mountain Goat with a young one laying in the path. She didn't want to let us pass snorted once a tipped her head down. We stepped back and waited 30 to 45 seconds and the young one stood up. This is the Only Way Down so I eased forward with me back to The uphill slope and talked to the Mama Goat "We're sorry to disturb you we aren't going to hurt either of you but we have to pass by" they both stepped easily onto the rocks on the downhill side and tolerated our cameras as we passed. My wife got overheated as we descended into the valley, you could feel the hot dry breezes after coming out of the forest and moving away from the creek. Some hikers that passed us going down helped by convincing Diane to shed some layers and suggested wetting a towel and putting it around her neck. We rested for about 30 minutes and then tackled the endless switchbacks down to the parking lot. Which could be seen for more than a mile before we arrived at about 6 pm . Back to Our German Hotel and a soak in the jacuzzi.

backpacking
Friday, June 23, 2017

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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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!

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

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

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Difficult yet beautiful

Saturday, July 30, 2016

amazing view and trail

hiking
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!

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.

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.

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

hiking
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A tough hike, but reap your reward in the campsites on the south side of upper Snow Lake. Most have ready access to the lake for clear water. Plenty of water & good rest stops along the way. We caught thimbleberries in season--yum!

If you can drop about 10 lb from your pack weight and wear light hiking shoes (as we did), you will find this trail much easier. I didn't see much call for heavy ankle supporting boots--just watch your step and go one step at a time. Unlike the approach from the Stuart Lake trailhead, the risk of injury hiking this approach to the Enchantments is almost zero. We found Nada Lake very peaceful and a nice level break before the final push up to the Snow Lakes. If it's sunny, I suggest an umbrella with a reflective emergency blanket tied to the spokes to temper the blazing hot rays. I also suggest that hikers walk hills, with weight in a pack, while at home to prepare for this trip and any others--training pays dividends.

If you don't go to the Lower Enchantments on the first day, you'll appreciate the rest at Snow Lakes.

hiking
Monday, July 29, 2013

We foolishly attempted this trail without prior research. We didn't make it past the fairly intense switchbacks, as it was mid-day and in direct sunlight. The scenery wasn't incredible or anything, but there were a few okay views (though again, we didn't really make it all the way to the top). Mainly a leg workout.

hiking
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Overall disappointed.. mainly out in the open rocky terrain. Too many switchbacks all the way up. Scenery wasn't as impressive as other places (the hike would probably be better in the colder seasons). A trail if you intend to just hike up and down for a leg workout.

hiking
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I made this hike in August 2010 and again in July 2012. The first two miles are the worst with steep switchbacks and little or no shade. Time your hike to cover this section either early or late in the day to avoid getting baked by the sun. Nada Lake and the Snow Lakes are beautiful with excellent camp sites. I saw goats each time I went. In 2010 I was able to cross the Snow Lakes dam easily without getting wet. This year there was about 3 inches of water cascading over the dam and I had to wade across barefoot. It is pretty spooky wading across this narrow dam carrying a load.

I did a day trip up to the Enchantments but was only able to get to Lake Vivian because of ice. The hike from the Snow Lakes up to the Enchantments is much rougher that the trail from Icicle Creek up to the Snow Lakes and requires scrambling on all fours across several hard rock areas but it is worth it once you get there.

hiking
Saturday, July 14, 2012

This is a nice trail however, it is VERY long, hot, many switchbacks, and not a very close source for water most of the time. Towards the top it gets nice and shady, and there is a beautiful place to stop near a river/waterfall and have lunch. But overall, i must agree with previous reviews that approaching it from the otherside is better. Beautiful area though and recommended everyone should experience!

hiking
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Having visited this trail three times, I would suggest an alternate approach, mainly because I think this trail is LONG and BORING. Other than the Snow Creek Wall, Nada Lake and an occasional mountain goat located near the Lake (Snow) itself, I don't think there's that much to see. The alternate I would suggest would be coming in from the Stuart Lake TH and taking a few days to do the loop, spending most of your time in the Enchantment Basin/s. For the more ambitious crowd, Wedge Mountain might be an option...BUT from the Wedge Mtn summit ridge down into the Snow Creek Valley, it is very steep and hazardous. An experienced mountain climber might feel comfortable here, but I sure wouldn't. Hiking out Snow Creek is the same...BORING and LONG. You can see the Icicle Road from above, but it seems to take hours to reach it!

hiking
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lots of switchbacks! Great trail though.. some of it through an old forest fire. Passes Nada Lake and is part of the Enchantments Loop. Incredible! Very beautiful country. Nice camp sites.

hiking
Saturday, July 09, 2011

I thought this hike was absolutely amazing. The initial hike out is really tough, but gets better after a mile or two. I did a one-day trip, but I think this trail would be better as a 2-3 day hike. There are some great places to camp when you get to Snow Lake. The scenery is astounding. I also had some really close contact with 5 mountain goats. Definitely check it out.

hiking
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the rugged mtns along the way are very impressive and the sheep were worth the hike alone

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