Where to Stay. WTA Pro Tip: There are campsites all along the lakeshore, but be aware that camping here is managed under the same strict regime as the core Enchantment Zone -– overnight stays are by permit only from May 15th-October 31st. If you’re planning on spending the night nearby, you can either camp out or stay in the charming town of Leavenworth. Stuart Lake (#1599), Colchuck Lake (#1599A) Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District Totally worth it and the grey jays were adorable all the way up (but don't feed them, it's not good for the birds)! I’d recommend going earlier because now that the sun sets so early, hiking back in the dark wasn’t my favorite. Please remember there are people with different skill levels and athletic ability. 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. The trailhead was a 45… IG @ nimitpatel_ This map was created by a user. The route to Colchuck Lake is the easiest and most popular way for people to see the glorious Enchantments. 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. Just take your time. This is truly a brutal trek with 4,500 feet gain and 6,500 feet descent on not so easy terrain. (Seems obvious but we noticed many others were a bit under prepared). 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. The road to the trailhead will be closed on Monday 11/09/20 to the Spring 2021. With an elevation gain of over 2000 feet, the hike to Colchuck lake is challenging. It was worth it though! To the left of Dragontail is Aasgard Pass, the climb that serves as the unbelievably steep “shortcut” to the Enchantments. Be prepared to share the trail with hundreds of people; this is an extremely popular route, especially on summer … This is a great place to grab lunch and take in the scenery. After the walk through the woods, you will cross the creek on a bridge before beginning the first real incline of the hike. Park at the Stuart Lake trailhead. A gorgeous day at Colchuck Lake. How to Find Colchuck Lake : To hike to Colchuck Lake, you’ll want to start at the Stuart Lake trailhead and parking area. After a series of bends and ups and downs in the trees, the trail reaches a rock field at the bottom of the terminal moraine of the Colchuck Glacier. The roundtrip covers 7.7 … This alpine lake is accompanied by the twin spires of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak at the far end of the lake. Begin on the Stuart La… Hope you enjoy! Saw many people fall, good hiking shoes recommended. At first, the trail switchbacks gently, but the closer it gets to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. And all this is within relatively easy reach. The lot fits 75 cars and has bathrooms. 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. At the Lake they were joined by the mosquitoes to blunt the enjoyment this lake has to offer. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. We didn't wear our spikes but had them with us. The first glance you get rounding the corner to Colchuck Lake is an awe inspiring moment. The Colchuck Lake trailhead is located near the town of Leavenworth, Washington. I used one hiking pole which with the spikes made the hike a lot better. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. The climb remains pretty consistent rocky, and with tree roots but manageable. Leavenworth also provides a strong offering of sausages for pre-hike dinner. This is a challenging hike with beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. great views! Elvin R. Joh… Good hiking boots helped and for me micro spikes were not needed. I was scared based on the hard rating and other people’s stories but it was easier than I actually thought. If you can, head to Leavenworth the night before and spend the night or camp. Hiked on 11/8. Check out my photos From Seattle, take WA 522-E to US2-E which will drop you into the small, Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. I loved this hike! First of all - the gate to the trailhead closes on Monday 11/9 so if you don’t want to walk up the road and add those miles to an already difficult hike - this Sunday is your last chance! Didn’t need spikes but poles were pretty critical on way down in this section. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. 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. Hiked 11/7. NW Forest pass is required. Stuart Lake (#1599), Colchuck Lake (#1599A), Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District, 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes (Spring, Buy the Green Trails Enchantments No. Many people going uphill welcome the opportunity to pause and let a downhill person go first. Offering a wonderful day trip, Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail is a beautiful trail and offers a number of activities. On both my joints and my mind. not a lot of people! The trail has a distance of 14.5 km and an elevation gain of 696 m. It is a loop trail located near Leavenworth, Washington. Suddenly, laid out beneath your feet are the icy waters of the lake–-deep blue in the shade, bright aquamarine in sunlight–-while high above you at the far end of the lake, the twin spires of Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks seem to crowd out the very sky. 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. Follow Icicle Road for 8.5 miles and go left onto dirt road 7601 (signs to Colchuck Lake). Trailhead. Colchuck Lake is breathtaking! The trail seems to end at a broad granite face overlooking the lake. Hiked 10/27 - I have done this hike in the summer and have now done it in late fall. Made it unpleasant to say the least. Turn south onto Icicle Creek … If not, return the way you came. 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. Also, the flies are unlike anything I have experienced on a hike in the summer. Straight ahead the path to Stuart Lake rolls out, while the Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1 breaks off to the left. The first 20 miles are on a paved road (Icicle Creek Road), but after you take a left into the Bridge Creek Campground area, the road turns to dirt, which is National Forest Road 7601. Use poles. The Colchuck Lake trail starts at the Stuart Lake trailhead, (off Forest Service Road 7601). Follow this road for four miles to the trailhead. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. To the right are the remnants of the Colchuck Glacier and the slopes of Colchuck Peak, its true summit tucked out of view behind rocky towers. Trailhead to Colchuck Lake. Northwest Forest Pass required. Views are incredible! Begin on the Stuart Lake Trail #1599. Two weeks ago, we headed up to Leavenworth for the weekend. Occasional breaks in the trees offer glimpses of the steep walls of the valley. (For a full description of this hike and others in this region, purchase Day Hiking, Central Cascades by Craig Romano, published by Mountaineers Books.) Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. This hike was recommended by a friend and after hiking Colchuck Lake we are passing the recommendation onto other friends…it was absolute gorgeous. Hiked this on 11/8 with a group of athletic 20-somethings. They were all over. The trail continues past Colchuck Luck up Aasgard Pass to the Enchantment Lakes if you choose to extend your hike. It’s much colder than trailhead. Although it was VERY icy we still managed to make it up and down with just poles. The 8-9 mile roundtrip hike was tiresome, but well worth it. The route follows a peaceful stream through a lush forest, then climbs steeply to Colchuck Lake where the views of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak won't disappoint. If the DNR and USFS can charge a fee for the pass that lets you use the parking lots and the outhouses, I would assume they can also require certain basic standards before issuing the Discover Pass and NW Forest. Start early. It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Colchuck Lake Trail begins at Stuart Lake trailhead and parking lot by Forest Service Road 7601, which can be reached from Icicle Creek Road. But there were a couple of slick spots. A northwest forest pass is required. Colchuck Lake; The black fly population was out like I haven't seen in a long time, they would literally swarm you from the trailhead to the Lake. Paul Kriloff. On one hand, I would say if you’re a beginner, if you go in the summer you can definitely do it. I took a tumble a couple of times but nothing major. After a series of rocky switch backs you will reach the trail junction for Stuart, and Colchuck lakes. Cold, wear layers of sweaters. Colchuck Lake used to be a hidden gem but is now quickly gaining in popularity. This is by far the hardest hike I ever did. The road driving up was a little rough. Note: The road leading to the trailhead may be closed during the winter and will add 8 miles to your overall trip. This beautiful and very popular 4-mile trail is accessed from Stuart Lake Trail #1599 which starts at Stuart Lake Trailhead (3400' elevation). You can replenish water in the creeks or lake, but be sure to filter or treat before drinking. Immediately across the lake is the imposing massif of Dragontail Peak. As stated below, road to trailhead closes on 11/9, and would add 8 (boring) miles to the total. However, the way back was difficult for me. The trail was in good condition but icy for the last 1-1.5 miles to the top. Here, subalpine firs give way to larches, and the formal trail gives way to a rock-hopping route that eventually heads up Aasgard Pass. Three quarters of a mile later, the trail flattens out and drops a little before reaching a trail junction. Views are beautiful and well worth the hike! 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. Going up was not too bad however the latter part (closest to the lake) has some steeper grades. Toilets available at the trail head. 209S map. Bring the 10 essentials. Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking events, news, gear reviews and more. To find the trail from Leavenworth, take US2 from the western side of Leavenworth. Many layers and gloves highly recommended. Photo by Paul Kriloff. The first mile and a half climbs very gradually in forest, first dense and dark, then thinner and lighter, within earshot and sometimes sightline of Mountaineer Creek. The views are so beautiful! 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. This is a good place to get gas and any last minute snacks before continuing Icicle Creek Road and then Forest Service Road-7601 that leads to the Stuart Lake trailhead. At the trailhead. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. It wasn’t icy/snowy enough to put on the spikes we brought. The kind of picturesque Earth porn you find in destination magazines. But it put us close to the Colchuck and Stuart Lake Trailheads for an early start on Sunday. At about 1.75 miles (elev. I really started to struggle towards the end. Colchuck Lake Tips & Hiking Resources. Today’s conditions were mostly fine with patches of ice and slippery surfaces that I slipped on and saw numerous people slip on. And all this is within relatively easy reach. Colchuck Lake is a beautiful, blue lake with dramatic peaks in the background. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. There is a NO PARKING restriction for the entirety of Road 7601, from the start at Icicle Road 7600 to its terminus at Stuart Lake Trailhead. I went 11/8 and had nanospikes which helped tremendously. SEE PARKING INFORMATION BELOW. Some people are looking down at the trail so as not to fall and don’t see an oncoming hiker until you are 5 ft away from each other. Trail is in decent condition though, very rocky and icy at some points. It’s a pristine alpine lake with soaring, jagged mountains above you, turquoise clear water below, and the added plus: water warm enough you can stomach swimming in. I was stoked to hike to see Colchuck for myself and I dragged my family members with me. Colchuck Lake is a magnificent color of blue (from glacial till) and offers great overnight camping. Restrooms are available at the trailhead. Went Nov 1st. Slippery due to ice patches throughout the trail. Colchuck Lake: Getting to the Trailhead. There is a $5 cash for park fee unless you have the NW Forest Pass. Parking anywhere else along Road 7601 is not allowed. You can improve or add to this guidebook entry, Washington Trails Association This alpine lake is accompanied by the twin spires of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak at the far end of the lake. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. Leavenworth is quirky little town filled with Bavarian facades—very touristy. The trail is a bit of a jumble as you hop boulders in a large talus slope along the creek’s bank. www.nimitpatel.com. Some people enjoy a fast hike and some slow. To reach the trailhead, turn onto Icicle Creek Road from US2 on the very western edge of Leavenworth. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. Bring lots of water and snacks no matter what time of year you go. I preferred this trip to the summer one because it is a fairly long and strenuous hike if you don’t do long hikes often and I was not a fan of the heat during this hike. Douglas S. Squirrel on Colchuck Lake The land is public and everyone can use it, but the improvements to it are classified differently. You will need to turn off of US2 onto Icicle Road. Parking is only allowed in the Eightmile and Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead Parking Lots. Here’s how to find it: Drive Highway 2 to milepost 99, found on the western edge of the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Sadly Forest Road 7601 was closed when we tried to go today (11/12) may be closed for the season. 4000ft) the trail crosses the creek on an spectacular log bridge spanning deep pools of water on large boulders. If you’re kind of in the middle like me, you’ll also be fine! But the steepest sections at the end was icy. trail has slippery frost and ice near the top and spikes were great. Elevation gain made me a little lightheaded going up but it wasn’t too bad. 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. 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. I honestly felt great on the way up - perhaps the adrenaline of seeing the lake. We did this as a day hike. At the end of this first mile and a half, the trail crosses to the right bank of Mountaineer Creek on a sturdy log bridge. 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). Colchuck Lake is one of the gateways into the Enchantments. 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. Washington Trails Association is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our group of 9 friends started around 7:00 a.m. and made it back to the vehicles around 10:00 p.m.. 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. As part of The Enchantments, this is a must hike in Washington Trailhead : Stuart and Colchuck Lake Trailhead , about 3 hours from Seattle ( pass required ) The road to the trailhead has some potholes but is manageable with a regular sedan (non-high clearance vehicle) - just be careful and drive slow This is a rather small town but easy to find on the map. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. From the town, the trailhead to the Colchuck Lake hike is a 40-minute drive. Even though it is a steady uphill climb to Colchuck Lake, this felt like one of the easiest and fastest sections of the hike. Once you reach Colchuck lake, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the blue/green lake with the peaks towering behind it. Otherwise, just take it slow. Hike by WTA Correspondents: Started around 1130 & back to car around 1830. Worth the view! Stuart Lake and Colchuck Lake share the same trail for about 2 miles. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. The top gets pretty chilly, especially with cloud cover. It wasn’t such that you need microspikes but poles were helpful. Fourth of July Creek Trail to Icicle Ridge, Mountain Home Ridge [CLOSED / PRIVATE PROPERTY], Canyon Crest Trail to Rat Creek Ridge Trail. You will have a few areas with views perfect for photo opportunities on your way to the lake. It’s about 9 miles and I’ve never hiked with this significant elevation change. You pay at the trail head. 11/2 Monday. At several spots along the way, views open up, first to the valley you’ve just climbed out of, then up to the toothy ridge of Dragontail Peak. 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 Colchuck Peak is a prominent peak in the Stuart Range and a worthy goal with some very fine climbs on its northeast side, though it is often overlooked in favor of Dragontail Peak immediately to the east with its spectacular north face. Went to colchuck lake last summer and it was amazing! I posted photo of the assignment. Learn how to create your own. The view of the lake is definitely worth it. Some parts down are steep so they would have been super helpful. Also many parts of the trail are wide so no one needs to stop at all. You’ll want at least one liter or more. Started at 11am and got back to the car around 6pm. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. Enjoy the scenery and stop bitchin ladies! Dispersed camping is not allowed between the road and Icicle Creek. If you are traveling Eastbound on Highway 2 over Stevens Pass go right on Icicle Road when you first enter Leavenworth. Please note that it's a heavily ticketed and towed area so be sure to park properly. Looking forward to go again in the summer. 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. Follow the potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. A short distance later you near the creek again, but here its waters turn suddenly glassy smooth; a nice spot for a meditative pause before starting to climb once again. Challenging, but like I said totally worth the struggle uphill. Be sure to pack extra layers for the lake. At the time in august it was perfect, the trail condition was a great intro to what is now what I consider my favorite alpine forest I’ve hiked into since being in Washington. While the final ascent to the lake is steep and rough in places, Colchucks overall elevation gain of 2,300 feet makes its spectacular scenery accessible to hikers of almost any ability. Cold, so multi layers help. The trail continues along the lakeshore another two thirds of a mile, at times rough and a little hard to follow. Stay to the left and you will happen upon another log bridge, stunning vistas that act as the gateway to the wilderness. Make sure to turn LEFT at the fork to Colchuck since going straight will lead you to Stuart Lake. Layer up and bring a hat/gloves as it gets pretty chilly on top. Seattle, WA 98104. Many parts of the trail were slick with ice. It begins at the Stuart Lake Trailhead. Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. The easiest routes are scrambles from the south and / or the Colchuck Col at the top of the Colchuck Glacier to the east. But the reward at the top is a picturesque lake with dazzling blue green water and views over Dragontail and Colchuck … There is only one trailhead for both hikes. You will stay to the right after crossing the bridge, and walk along the creek before your next big push uphill. At some points along this portion of the hike you will catch a glimpse of Mountaineer Creek. Many people don’t pay close attention to the signs and get lost this way! No snow on trail until the very end and even then, it was just a trace. Overview of Colchuck Lake via WTA.org; Get turn-by-turn driving directions to the trailhead via Google Maps; Bring plenty of water. Hiked 11/7. Distance: 4.25 miles Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet Average Time: 2 to 3 hours. Parking Restriction: Parking allowed at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. recommend attempts at proper hiking footwear and winter clothing (crazy what i saw today...) and dont act like you’re late late to an important date (seriously self centered, rude, and dangerous); right of way goes to those going uphill. The hike starts out with an easy mile and a half, creek side walk through the forest. After the bridge, the route steepens and grows rockier, a small taste of what’s to come over the hike’s second half. Be careful of potholes and bumps in the road! Start early to finish before dark. The way leaves the parking lot and the trail meanders the valley. I slipped multiple times, even as a self-proclaimed avid hiker. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. One of the least obvious route junctures is at a large tarn -– it’s a common mistake to follow the well-trodden dirt to the right, but the trail actually proceeds over rocky slopes to the left. Our tax identification number is EIN 91-0900134. Unfortunately it rained the day of our hike. Cross another bridge and continue .7 miles to the cul-de sac parking area and trailhead for Lake Stuart and Colchuck Lake. colchuck lake hike time December 23, 2020 Uncategorized Uncategorized There are several high points with the western most being the true summit. Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail is a 14.5 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. On hot days, standing at the midpoint of the bridge, hikers can catch some welcome relief from the breeze coming off the rushing whitewater of the creek. An overnight reservation permit is required from May 15 to October 31. I wished I had microspikes. 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