The Enchantments Trail is a 20.3 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
20.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,337 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

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.

9 days ago

Hiked on October 13th with my boyfriend. We are in pretty good shape and it took us 10:38 to do 18.1 miles (that includes around 45 minutes of break time). We drove to snow lake and booked a shuttle to the other trailhead. It was 20 per person and totally worth it (just Google enchantments shuttle it's called the loop) I recorded 18.1 with my GPS but I should note we took some shortcuts

Easily the most beautiful hike I've done! Golden larches, clear skies, and a bit of snow. I'm still in awe.

here are my tips:
- pack light. there's plenty of water on the trail so bring maybe 1 liter and just filter the rest
- download gps map before. there is no signal and some parts of the trail are not obvious
- bring head lamps as daylight is getting shorter and shorter!
- bring microspikes for the ascent of asgard- it was icy!
- if you're in good shape you can afford to take more breaks than we did! we started at 6:30 (in the dark) and ended around 5 ish (still light) we had heard horror stories of ppl wandering back around 10:30pm so we tried to keep a good pace but ultimately found ourselves way ahead of schedule
-enjoy!!!!!

9 days ago

Always a treasure to hike and camp. Remember to check the weather to pack appropriately and always carry a map.

hiking
9 days ago

Surreal, breathtaking, incredible hike!!

backpacking
10 days ago

Larch madness is happening in the enchantments! Perfect timing and it happened by accident really. I was planning on camping with a permit but decided halfway through to partner up with two other hikers (made the trip a lot better) there is no cell phone service for ATT on the trail even thought the coverage map extends up to upper snow lake. Started at Stuart lake trailhead (asked for a ride from some hikers who were heading that way, parking my car at snow lake trailhead. Asgard’s pass was amazing plus the views of mount Stuart’s north face, some ice at the top requiring traction devices. The lakes, trees, mountains, absolutely amazing. Never knew something so beautiful existed. You must see it to believe it and you will remember it forever. The hike is great for the first 10 miles but after that, the descent is pretty tough on the knees. I had all my camping gear with me and did the full 20 in 15 hours but it was worth the slow pace, I wanted to enjoy the view and not just rush through it.

hiking
15 days ago

This review is intended to explain why this rating was not 4.5 or 5. So why only three stars? The trail when I took on October 5th had areas that were well marked but in the most dangerous parts (Asgard Pass, the descent to Snow Lakes) it was marked negligently. Cairns haphazardly marked the trail to snow lake and create a danger of following dangerous non-paths towards precipices. What saved me were the multiple groups tracking through the park who able to track the specific path. The difficulty level boarders on mountaineering at various parts of the trail. This review is not intended to deter the hearty but to warn those with less experience that the risk of falling is real.

trail running
15 days ago

7 hours, lots of walking as there was snow on the trail for the middle 10 & Aasgard was bottlenecked & treacherous. Two lake dives & one mountain goat spotting from ~10 feet away. The quintessential alpine lake hike in the Cascades.

hiking
15 days ago

Absolutely amazing hike which lived up to the hype. I did it in a day starting at Snow Lakes TH. It took just over 11 hours, with about an hours worth of breaks maybe longer as I couldnt help taking pictures every few feet. Start time was 6 am. There was a decent amount of waiting in busy areas. It had snowed about 3-4 inches above snow lake which made it amazing. The larches were unreal. It was empty on the trail until the upper enchantment lakes then it got quite busy with traffic coming from Colchuck. Asgard was pretty treacherous. The snow made for very slippery descent, especially since I neglected to bring my microspikes. It all worked out great though and I will do it again. I logged just over 22 miles with just under 7k vert. Nice little hike overall

16 days ago

Hiked 10/03/18-10/05/18. Lottery permitted. Started at Snow Lakes TH. The route finding is terrible on the ascent from Snow Lake to Vivian. Everything else is pretty straight forward, except the trail conditions from Colchuck Lake to the Stuart TH are eroded in the extreme. There are high levels of deeply exposed tree roots all along this section of the trail. I say this with the experience of also coming here in 2017. It’s noticeably much worse than last year. It’s way past time to start limiting day hiker entry or it’s time for the Forest Service to up the game on trail rehab. The current situation is not a long term solution for such a special place.

camping
19 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous location with the larches turning color, pictures can do no justice. This is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. It looks and is kept pristine.

But you must earn your way to the views! I got lucky and was able to camp so I broke up the trip over a three days. Weight is your enemy on this trail, pack light and smart, but make sure you bring a bivvy bag or some kind of emergency shelter, even if you're just hiking. It got very cold and wet while we were up there, and the weather changes suddenly. The emergency blanket I brought saved us from a miserable night while camping. Water is plentiful and delicious. The area still looks pristine

I may try this as a day hike, but the hiking is extremely steep and long no matter which way you try to get to the core zone. Totally worth it though.

As of this writing, Snow Lake has been mostly drained for the season and I didn't find it attractive enough to warrant the long slog to get there. I would rather go via Colchuck and deal with Asgard pass at this point in time than go anywhere below lake Viviane

19 days ago

beautiful and well worth it.

hiking
19 days ago

heaven on Earth doesn't even begin to describe it. I dayhiked it solo, took me about 12 hours, sore for days but I can't wait to do it again. such a magical place. definitely going to aim to backpack next time.

hiking
21 days ago

Great day. 24.15 miles. 5500 feet elevation gain. Latch are peak as of yesterday.

hiking
22 days ago

Nice long hike star time 7:30am out by 5:40pm. with many stops. Looking for mountain goats but no luck. Perfect weekend. 24.5 miles at the end.

hiking
23 days ago

Amazing hike did it in 15 hours with multiple breaks. GPS tracker said 23.3 miles. We were well prepared with headlamps, extra socks, trail mix, lots of water, a hot meal, first aid kit, extra shirt and pants just in case we got super sweaty and needed to change for the descent after snow lake. Sunscreen and lots more. Better safe than sorry. Definitely a challenge but it felt like at no point i wanted to give up. Going down from snow lake just felt like the longest 8 miles since we had to do it in the dark. The views were just amazing. Best hike ever. Going up Aasgard was challenging for the other members of my group. I had to wait quite a bit. No bugs which is a plus and sunny perfect cool weather to hike.

backpacking
24 days ago

Challenging and beautiful.

backpacking
27 days ago

Some tough hiking, but the views were unreal. So worth it. The lakes were amazing.

hiking
29 days ago

This trail is incredible. It’s is also incredibly tough in sections. The scenery is superb and quite other worldly. You will not have solitude on this trail. Rangers told us they recorded over 300 hikers on the day we went. My trail recorder said over 23 miles on this trail, so don’t believe the estimate that trails.com gives. It’s a long long slog out of the lower enchantments from the top to the snow lakes trailhead. There are several areas that drop straight down over boulders and slick rock surfaces. Aasgard Pass going up is a climbers trail. Straight up. My wife and I did the whole thing in one day. Never again! It took us from 6:45 am to 9 pm at night to get out. Via flashlight. Yes. It was worth it because the upper core enchantments is stunning. It was too long for one day though. We stopped for lunch and took our time in the upper area which might be why we were late. Long miles though! Do it!

1 month ago

Beautiful trail! Easy to follow. Some hard elevation gains but worth every moment.

1 month ago

Sooo pretty! The trees are changing colors so it’s perfect for your larches fix these next couple weeks. Follow the cairns and in the core zone, the trail usually hugged the lakes until it takes you back up to the left down down down many boulder fields. We clocked 20.1 miles with 5,534ft of elevation gain. 12 hours even with three breaks. 1 hr 45 minutes up aasgard.

1 month ago

magical

hiking
1 month ago

I have been wanting to do this hike for a while in one day and last Saturday 9/8 /2018 started at 5 am from Stuart Lake Trail-head where my wife dropped me and finished at 7 pm in Snow lakes Trail-head. Asgard was definitely hard for me . Doing this hike in a day certainly pushed me to the limit and more , however the reward is fantastic , the landscape is very beautiful . I clocked 23 miles in 14 hours. An amazing hike !

1 month ago

Doing this in a day will push you to your limits, but it's insanely rewarding. One of the locals referred to it as "The Enchantments Death March" which sounds about right.

Start early: we hit the trail at 5:30 am and finished around 5:30pm, and we pushed pretty hard all day.

1 month ago

Thru hiked in 12 hrs, got lost a bit and ended up doing 25 miles, i was scared of the mountain goats and ran off trail cuz of that lol

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked threw in about 11 hours. Asgard was definitely hard for me and slowed the hike. This hike is totally worth a day hike. Bonus was no bugs!

1 month ago

Views are spectacular and the lakes are gorgeous!

1 month ago

This hike is amazing. We started the hike at snow lake and ended at the Colchuck parking lot. We started at 10:30 and ended at 2am. We had to hike at night and thankfully did not slip to our deaths down Asgard. Luckily we got rescued by 2 people on the road back to the main highway, who planned to stay the night, but didn’t have a permit. We hiked for 14.5 hours and possibly went 24 miles— if not more. The path is well marked but spotty at times — relies on totems/carens for a majority of the route. The path to Asgard is not well marked with Totems/Carens(?) and there were a lot of social trails that made us double back on the way down Lake Colchuck.

I considered myself a good hiker and physically fit before this hike. Bring a water filter, extra headlamps, and a tent/sleeping bag as a precaution. We got lost a few times which added to our mileage. I don’t think this changes my opinion of the trail I just think some people are optimistic in these reviews saying the hike is falsely 17.5! Add up the mileage on the map and you’ll get ~+20.

1 month ago

Absolutely amazing with stunning views! We started at 6AM and ended at 7PM for a total time of 13 hours and a little over 26 miles. We started at stuart lake and ended at snow lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! We did the hike in one day - clocked in at around 22 miles in 13 hours. We were lucky enough to do it the day the smoke cleared, Friday. What a blessing! The trek up Aasgard Pass was harder for me than for my two friends - took about 2 hours. The sights throughout the core of the Enchantments made it all worth it. Glorious, otherworldly views. We saw a mountain goat and her baby strolling past - very cool! The lakes and abundant streams and waterfalls are beautiful. There weren’t many bugs, but one of my friends got stung by a bee. The hike down to the Snow Lakes section was longer/tougher than I imagined - lots of bouldering. All in all, the best hike I’ve done so far. Great experience!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing, so challenging, but worth it. The trail was marked better than I thought it would and there were enough people around to keep from getting lost. Aasgard wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was that last 8+ miles going down that nearly killed us. Pack light. If your pace allows, spend more time enjoying the core before continuing on.

1 month ago

Did this yesterday as a through hike. Great conditions as the smoke had cleared out. Amazing scenery and challenging. Went in light and hike/ran the loop in 6:33 moving time just under 8:30 overall. Started at Stuart and finished st Snow Lake TH. Used a shuttle service and it was very convenient. Great day and hoping to get a Permit next year. I was very surprised to see a ton of open camp sites. Asgard Pass is everything they say it is......awesome and challenging.

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