Trail steepens after the bridge and at 2.5 miles the junction with Colchuck Lake Trail is reached. It was intense and exhausting but well-worth it. It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Finally hitting the lake, our group found the perfect lunch spot overlooking Dragontail Peak, Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Glacier/Peak. Many parts of the trail were slick with ice. Park at the Stuart Lake trailhead. It’s much colder than trailhead. The first glance you get rounding the corner to Colchuck Lake is an awe inspiring moment. There are beautiful views of the lake -- with Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak rising 3,000 feet above south end of lake. Answer 1 of 12: Hello...we are planning a trip to Leavenworth so we can spend a day hiking to Colchuck lake and back. This is a rather small town but easy to find on the map. You will need to turn off of US2 onto Icicle Road. The Colchuck Lake hike is undoubtedly one of the PNW's best and is VFC's favorite, aside from what sits beyond the lakes in the Enchantments. Northwest Forest Pass required.Note that FR 7601 from Icicle Creek Road to the trailhead closes during the winter, typically from November to May, making for a short summer hiking season. Views are incredible! There are also campsites near north end of lake. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Do wear gaiters for the occasional posthole or tree well. Just take your time. After the bridge, the route steepens and grows rockier, a small taste of what’s to come over the hike’s second half. This will put you at Colchuck Lake and the base of Aasgard Pass, which is less than a mile in distance, but comes with an elevation gain of about 1,900 feet. The Colchuck Lake route via the Stuart Lake Trailhead is a fantastic way to see a gorgeous part of Washington state, plus Aasgard Pass looming above the lake itself. And all this is within relatively easy reach. trail has slippery frost and ice near the top and spikes were great. Many people don’t pay close attention to the signs and get lost this way! As if Colchuck Lake alone werent enough of a draw, it is one of the two gateways to the Enchantments, and the trailhead also accesses Stuart Lake, an easier and equally awesome destination. This is a great place to grab lunch and take in the scenery. A little slower of a start than we anticipated, but early enough not to fret. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. On July 2nd we headed to Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth. The lakes are situated within the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, where visitors are privy to endlessly beautiful views of lakes, larch trees, snow-topped peaks, glaciers, and occasional goat sightings. Then pick up the Colchuck Lake Trail for 2.7 miles. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. 209S map. Occasional breaks in the trees offer glimpses of the steep walls of the valley. (Seems obvious but we noticed many others were a bit under prepared). Colchuck Lake: Getting to the Trailhead. Colchuck Lake is one of the gateways into the Enchantments. not a lot of people! The first part of this trail follows the Stuart Lake Trail before branching off to the left. The trail turns out of the lake basin on a steep, winding path into a mid-elevation forest. Easy plunge stepping down. The climb remains pretty consistent rocky, and with tree roots but manageable. Made it unpleasant to say the least. A gorgeous day at Colchuck Lake. Conditions were good - no wind, no precip, decent visibility - could see all the peaks but clouds obfuscated the sun. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. Also, at this time of year the mosquitos were relentless - even with bug spray. If not, return the way you came. Some folks had microspikes, some shared a single pair, saw some cool short snowshoes, and one or two somehow scrambling up in only boots. Elevation gain made me a little lightheaded going up but it wasn’t too bad. Travel down Icicle Road for 8.4 miles until you reach Forest Road 7601. It was a good, hard hike, but nothing crazy – we took maybe 2:15 or so on the way up and flew down in 1:45 or so after the technical icy bits toward the top. The trail to Colcuck lake is 7.7 miles roundtrip and is quite the adventure. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. And all this is within relatively easy reach. Make sure to turn LEFT at the fork to Colchuck since going straight will lead you to Stuart Lake. It is a must to get to trailhead early as there is limited parking at base and if full it is another probably 2 mile walk from where your other parking option is. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. 4.5 miles with 2,300 ft. elevation gain Starting at the Stuart Lake trailhead, we hiked in to our campsite at Colchuck Lake. This lake is a real butt-kicker hike but an oh so worth-it … Turn left and drive past the campground, cross a bridge over Icicle Creek and continue past the Eightmile Lake Trailhead (which is 3 miles in). Seattle, WA 98104. However, an SUV will make this drive easier, since it is rutted in some places. Colchuck Lake Trail begins at Stuart Lake trailhead and parking lot by Forest Service Road 7601, which can be reached from Icicle Creek Road. Straight ahead the path to Stuart Lake rolls out, while the Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1 breaks off to the left. If you have a decent 4X4/AWD, don't let this deter you. The Leavenworth area has numerous hikes, but Colchuck Lake hike is one of the two gateways to the famous Enchantments goo.gl/fodFj2. The summer route had a single summit when we got to the top, and about 5 of us took the route down. The center snow pile is difficult to clear. Turn left here and trail soon crosses Mountaineer Creek again on a log bridge. At first, the trail switchbacks gently, but the closer it gets to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. Be careful of … This final segment drops quickly from Colchuck Lake on rugged, eroded terrain that gradually moderates along Mountaineer Creek to the Stuart Lake Trailhead. Hiked this on 11/8 with a group of athletic 20-somethings. At around two and a quarter miles, the Colchuck Lake Trail breaks off to the left. The first part of the trail follows a creek for about one mile to a log footbridge. road is in good shape (but last turn off road closed for the season tomorrow 11/9), no snow or ice, yes to potholes but not too deep. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. Start early to finish before dark. My friend Austin and I reached the Stuart Lake Trailhead around 10:30/11:00 PM on Monday night. Going up was not too bad however the latter part (closest to the lake) has some steeper grades. I honestly felt great on the way up - perhaps the adrenaline of seeing the lake. Many people going uphill welcome the opportunity to pause and let a downhill person go first. The kind of picturesque Earth porn you find in destination magazines. Otherwise, you can park about 3/4 of the way up in a usual good trail car. From the lake you can view Aasgard Pass which is for more serious hikers/backpackers to enter the Enchantments and that have received a pass to camp overnight. If you’re kind of in the middle like me, you’ll also be fine! Without hourly reports, an unwitting hiker might show up and twist their ankle on a rock that has been loosened in the last 60 minutes or they might be caught unawares by the last remnants of a small snow patch and - having not been told to pack microspikes, crampons, ice skates, … Thankfully you have plenty of good options that are very close to the Snow Lakes Trailhead and the Stuart Lake Trailhead, which is popular for the Colchuck Lake route. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. Follow the trail to the left and after a short stretch in the trees, come to another log bridge that takes you across a narrow, turbulent section of Mountaineer Creek. After one final steep stretch, the trail takes a jog to the right, drops into a small swale and suddenly, there you are at one of the finest lake views in the Cascades. Overview of Colchuck Lake via WTA.org; Get turn-by-turn driving directions to the trailhead via Google Maps; Bring plenty of water. Also many parts of the trail are wide so no one needs to stop at all. I slipped multiple times, even as a self-proclaimed avid hiker. Find a good spot, to get the best views and capture this moment by taking photos. Cold, so multi layers help. It took about 3 hours to get to the trailhead, called Stuart and Lake Colchuck trailhead, and about 6 – 7 hours to finish the entire hike. On one hand, I would say if you’re a beginner, if you go in the summer you can definitely do it. The snow covered everything and the environment was so different compared to my previous two hikes up Colchuck this past summer. Colchuck Lake is one of the gateways into the Enchantments. Here's a short list of nearby campgrounds sorted by proximity to the Snow Lakes Trailhead, and you'll find several more that are farther afield featured in below. The last pic shows the road condition just below the upper TH. It’s about 9 miles and I’ve never hiked with this significant elevation change. This glacier melt lake is a tucked away gem within with the Enchantments trail. The reward at the top is a picturesque lake with dazzling blue green water and views over Dragontail and Colchuck Peak mountains. You will need to turn off of US2 onto Icicle Road. The incline is challenging and walking poles are helpful. Parking anywhere else along Road 7601 is not allowed. Toilets available at the trail head. The trail immediately crosses Mountaineer Creek again and then climbs steeply over sometimes rocky and washed-out trail. Travel down Icicle Road for 8.4 miles until you reach Forest Road 7601. To find the trail from Leavenworth, take US2 from the western side of Leavenworth. Lake Stuart and Colchuck Lake Trail is a 11.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. Learn how to create your own. With snow cover on the glacier, it is an easy 3 to 4 hour undertaking from a camp at Colchuck Lake, or can be done in a day from the trailhead. Reach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. The trip to the lake is just under 4 mi (6.44 km). After the bridge the trail begins to climb, switchbacking its way up to a junction at 2.5 miles. You can read about the trail conditions and other people’s reviews, pretty up to date, here. As stated below, road to trailhead closes on 11/9, and would add 8 (boring) miles to the total. I slept in the back of his truck in the open and, notably, cold air. Carried axes and some MSR snowshoes just for extra weight. (For a full description of this hike and others in this region, purchase Day Hiking, Central Cascades by Craig Romano, published by Mountaineers Books.) The trail continues along the lakeshore another two thirds of a mile, at times rough and a little hard to follow. We opted for summer climbing boots and 12 points. Parking Restriction: Parking allowed at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. Cold, frozen, icy and packed. Some people enjoy a fast hike and some slow. You will stay to the right after crossing the bridge, and walk along the creek before your next big push uphill. Here we crossed our first bridge and the trail starts to climb. The trailhead is easily found from the parking area. You’ll want at least one liter or more. This is a challenging hike with beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. I was scared based on the hard rating and other people’s stories but it was easier than I actually thought. From the lake you can view Aasgard Pass which is for more serious hikers/backpackers to enter the Enchantments and that have received a pass to camp overnight. The trail was in good condition but icy for the last 1-1.5 miles to the top. The first section of this slog is just a foot in front of foot hike to the stunning Colchuck Lake which is seated at the bottom of Aasgard Pass. How to Find Colchuck Lake : To hike to Colchuck Lake, you’ll want to start at the Stuart Lake trailhead and parking area. Trail is in decent condition though, very rocky and icy at some points. Started from Icicle Creek Road and headed on up to Colchuck Lake via the 'winter route' which adds 8 miles! Northwest Forest Pass required. Cold, wear layers of sweaters. 3.9 miles | 5,570' - 3,440' | 2,130' net elevation loss. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. A northwest forest pass is required. The winter route is in super condition. Colchuck Lake was the destination I wanted to spend my birthday. 4000ft) the trail crosses the creek on an spectacular log bridge spanning deep pools of water on large boulders. I was a bit discouraged with the amount of human waste and evidence of people (as you near the lake and overnight backpackers). But it put us close to the Colchuck and Stuart Lake Trailheads for an early start on Sunday. Trailhead to Colchuck Lake. Photo by Paul Kriloff. I recommend a face net. Take a left onto Forest Road 7601. While the final ascent to the lake is steep and rough in places, Colchuck’s overall elevation gain of 2,300 feet makes its spectacular scenery accessible to hikers of almost any ability. Colchuck Lake Tips & Hiking Resources. Our group of 9 friends started around 7:00 a.m. and made it back to the vehicles around 10:00 p.m.. This is a compacted dirt and gravel road that is suitable for standard cars. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. This is truly a brutal trek with 4,500 feet gain and 6,500 feet descent on not so easy terrain. The Colchuck Lake trailhead is located near the town of Leavenworth, Washington. "Gateway to the Enchantments." The Stuart/Colchuck Lakes trailhead is located at the very end of NF-7601. Turn left after 8.5 miles onto Forest Service Road #7601. Road Beta: Snow free to lower TH. There is only one trailhead for both hikes. The road in was paced, compact snow and ice but manageable for most cars, even 2 wheel drive - however, I expect after last night's storms road and route condition have already changed drastically, as Blewett and Snoqualmie pass both had a lot of snow as we drove home. Not an easy one, definitely helps to be somewhat physically fit. For the first 1.7 miles, the hike is relatively easy with rolling hills and about 600 feet of elevation. Another great hike with the 40+ Meetup group. As if Colchuck Lake alone weren’t enough of a draw, it is one of the two gateways to the Enchantments, and the trailhead also accesses Stuart Lake, an easier and equally awesome destination. The roundtrip covers 7.7 mi (12.39 km) with an elevation of 2,300 ft (701.04 m). Leavenworth is quirky little town filled with Bavarian facades—very touristy. At the Lake they were joined by the mosquitoes to blunt the enjoyment this lake has to offer. I did this hike in July 2020 (as part of the Enchantments 23.6 miles from trailhead to trailhead). I hit the start of this at 3:30 in the am, so most of my hike was done in the dark with headlamps. But the steepest sections at the end was icy. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. The lot fits 75 cars and has bathrooms. While the final ascent to the lake is steep and rough in places, Colchuck’s overall elevation gain of 2,300 feet makes its spectacular scenery accessible to hikers of almost any ability. Washington Trails Association is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. IG @ nimitpatel_ We plowed on determined to see the lake, and upon creating the final ridge and finding a good spot with a view, we were greeted by a frozen lake covered in snow. My advice - aggressive microspikes and poles at a minimum. Once you get to the lake, the views are outstanding. 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