The Enchantments Trail

HARD 75 reviews
#2 of 137 trails in

The Enchantments Trail is a 18 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October.

DISTANCE
18.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7509 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

old growth

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

This is THE backpacking destination in the state of Washington. Wander through soft tundra meadows, glacial-cirque lakes, crystal clear trickling streams, and impossible granite rock formations in the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It will make you feel like you're in a completely different part of the world. Note that you MUST have a permit to camp in this area and they are distributed months in advance, so plan ahead and see below for more info. This area is thought to be discovered by A.H. Sylvester, who was originally a topographer for the USGS but went on to supervise Wenatchee National Forest starting in 1908. Climbers didn't start enjoying this area for recreation until the late 1940's. [100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes (1st ed.), Spring, Ira; Manning, Harvey, 1993] And the permit system, designed to protect the area from destructive humans, was not put in place until 1981. The big question is: which side to enter from? The Snow Lake entrance is longer, more gradual, and less scenic. The Colchuck Lake entrance is shorter and steeper (maybe even slippery and dangerous), but Colchuck Lake is beautiful. The traditional entrance would be Snow Lake because this side brings you through the Enchantments "in order," meaning you start in the Lower Enchantments and work your way up to the Upper Enchantments. It's your choice, but this guide is written assuming you're hiking in from Snow Lake, all the way through the Enchantments, and out the Colchuck Lake side. The permit lottery system might actually decide this for you based on what zones you're allowed to camp in! Some individuals more on the "hard" end of the spectrum that will do this entire through-hike in one day. If you have a light pack, it's possible, but bring a headlamp and enough food and gear to spend the night if you have to. No fires or dogs up here. But there will be enough scenery to keep you company.

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

trail running
3 days ago

Amazing amazing amazing! Did a hike / run though and cannot believe how visually satisfying this place is. Good fitness and experience on the trails a must.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

24 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

backpacking
25 days ago

Breathtaking views all around. Here's some details from our 5 day trip from July 14-18.

We hiked in from Colchuck and spent the night there. Water was great swimming temperature and bugs/goats were plenty. The following day we headed up Asgard
pass. There was 1 tiny section of snow (about 15-20 feet across) but otherwise all was dry. Try and follow the carins and don't forget to hydrate the day before and on the way up. There's a few areas that go close to the waterfall so you can get water in the way up.

Upper Core was snowy and windy. Gaiters helped but were not necessary. Snow was soft so beware of post holes over the next few days. We camped in the Upper core and bugs were a non-issue due to the breeze, however, it got extremely windy at night (gusts up to 50 mph). When heading to the lower core, you will be walking downhill through snow. Take your time and watch for crevices close to rocks. Lots of bugs in the lower core. Also lots of goats...be sure to pee on/between rocks if you can't find a toiled because they will destroy the vegetation trying to drink your urine.

The rest of the hike out was mostly downhill with minor snow (if any). We camped at Snow Lake our last night and hiked out to the parking lot in the AM.

Overall, beware of bugs and goats. Snow was a non-issue...gaiters and micros helped but were definitely not necessary. We also did some fishing in Inspiration Lake and caught a few nice trout. Enjoy the views and respect the land! Here's a short video I made if you would like to check out the conditions: https://youtu.be/GgWtGk0SgfM

backpacking
27 days ago

Beautiful scenery, stunning.
Love how access is limited.

Wish they wouldn't allow people to thru hike on day permits. Worst manners I have ever seen.

Day hikers would have pushed me off the trail to make time. Not a one said a word and several cut switchbacks or left trail after or while passing me.

hiking
28 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

My best friend and I did this trail as a thru-hike on 6/10, from Stuart Lake Trailhead to Snow Lakes. Trail conditions were excellent, plenty of water sources, absolutely gorgeous views. Worth it completely!!

However, I would definitely reinforce that only VERY experienced hikers should consider the 18 miles as a day hike. We are very experienced backpackers and set a good steady pace, with few breaks, but needed 13 hours. Aasgard Pass is killer. Worth the sore muscles, but know what you are capable of.

Set up a shuttle if you only have one vehicle. We used Loop Connector and loved supporting a local small business! Also recommend an Airbnb or hotel after you're done... with a hot tub. Ours was heavenly at the end of this loong day.

Overall a beautiful hike and I can't wait to try again in the fall next year.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Love seeing the flowers and trees everywhere, ran into one rattler. Took a gazillion breaks, so many cool swimming holes along the way. Once we got to the top I felt incredible, it was bliss, it was beyond beautiful! I would recommend getting in shape before striving for the lakes, I was a bit sore the day after, HOLY TEMALES!