The winds were the strongest at Inspiration Lake and Perfection Lake. Trekking poles helped! It will make you feel like you're in a completely different part of the world. A bit more than 2 hours from Seattle, drive Highway 2 toward Leavenworth, then just before reaching town, turn right (south) on Icicle Creek road. A long, strenuous day hike or backpack through one of the most beautiful alpine settings on earth, The Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. From this point, our only goal was to find a safe place to make camp where the winds weren't as strong and wouldn't blow our tent away. Snow Lake starts at a lower elevation (1,400 ft) and climbs more gradually to Core Zone while the Stuart Lake Trail includes the dreaded Aagard Pass, 2,500 ft of elevation gain in 2.5 miles. With a 4:30 am start we made it to Colchuck Lake around 6:30/45, dawn-ish but before nice light was spilling onto the lake. The Forest Service has posted a video guide to hiking safely with goats. After climbing for just over 1.6 miles (4.2 miles total) you'll reach your junction with Colchuck Lake. You're standing at the top of Aasgard Pass. The Enchantments Trail is a 23.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The lakes in this section sit in a stark moonscape of rock, scree and ice below the long ridge culminating in the summit of Dragontail Peak, just above the pass. Stock may not be grazed, tied, hitched, hobbled, or held within 200' of any lake or pond. It will be worth it! Ambitious day hikers will be richly rewarded for tackling all 20 miles in a day. From the trailhead all the way to Colchuck lake is pretty simple and gradual elevation gain. The main trail continues around the right shore of Perfection Lake, but if you cross this waterfall and go the other way, it looks like just a short jaunt over to Crystal Lake. It's up to 26 miles and 6,500 feet of elevation gain. This guide uses the thru-hike as a basis for describing the route through the entire Enchantments. Absolutely loved it. Did not need to use our microspikes or gaiters. From the end of the trail at the far end of the lake, cross boulders around the shore under the terminal moraine of the Colchuck Glacier (the trail may disappear at times, but cairns usually mark the way). The trail passes through gentle meadows of grass and heather and over carved inlets leading from Prusik Pass (a side trail runs up to this saddle below Prusik Peak, yielding even more jaw-dropping views) and continues along the eastern shore. Further down the trail, a descent along the fast-flowing creek ushers you out of the Middle Enchantments. This lake (5570') is the "other side" or the "back door" to the Enchantments. Runner Notes This trail can be done as a run-hike, although footing is challenging throughout, and it's easier to start going up Aasgard than descending Aasgard at the end. As the winds got stronger, I was knocked off my feet a couple times which scared the crap out of me as I scrambled to find grip and stability so I wouldn't slide off. We hit Stuart Lake TH at 4:30 am and got a parking spot just fine. Depending on the age of your map, you’re standing in either Aasgard or Colchuck Pass, the beginning (or end, if going the opposite direction) of the Enchantments. For Larches, some time during the first two weeks of October is generally your best bet. Just above this waterfall is a beautiful meadow with water trickling through it. If you still fail, it's probably worth waiting until after 9 AM, when they start handing out unclaimed reserved permits. There are a few nice flat places along the shore that are marked "Day use only" that you can use to relax.
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