Snow Lakes Trail

HARD 37 reviews
#11 of 136 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.

3 days ago

3 days ago

15 days ago

17 days ago

25 days ago

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.

2 months ago

2 months 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.

3 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!

3 months ago

5 months ago

5 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!

11 months ago

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

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.