And all this is within relatively easy reach. If you’re kind of in the middle like me, you’ll also be fine! No snow on trail until the very end and even then, it was just a trace. Colchuck Lake Trail begins at Stuart Lake trailhead and parking lot by Forest Service Road 7601, which can be reached from Icicle Creek Road. To find the trail from Leavenworth, take US2 from the western side of Leavenworth. It was worth it though! You’ll want at least one liter or more. I really started to struggle towards the end. If you can, head to Leavenworth the night before and spend the night or camp. At the trailhead. 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 Paul Kriloff. There is only one trailhead for both hikes. Offering a wonderful day trip, Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail is a beautiful trail and offers a number of activities. 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. Many people going uphill welcome the opportunity to pause and let a downhill person go first. 11/2 Monday. Many parts of the trail were slick with ice. Leavenworth is quirky little town filled with Bavarian facades—very touristy. However, the way back was difficult for me. 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. The views are so beautiful! Start early to finish before dark. After the walk through the woods, you will cross the creek on a bridge before beginning the first real incline of the hike. The first glance you get rounding the corner to Colchuck Lake is an awe inspiring moment. Some people enjoy a fast hike and some slow. Overview of Colchuck Lake via WTA.org; Get turn-by-turn driving directions to the trailhead via Google Maps; Bring plenty of water. Stay to the left and you will happen upon another log bridge, stunning vistas that act as the gateway to the wilderness. If you’re planning on spending the night nearby, you can either camp out or stay in the charming town of Leavenworth. The view of the lake is definitely worth it. As stated below, road to trailhead closes on 11/9, and would add 8 (boring) miles to the total. The kind of picturesque Earth porn you find in destination magazines. The trail was in good condition but icy for the last 1-1.5 miles to the top. 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. Even though it is a steady uphill climb to Colchuck Lake, this felt like one of the easiest and fastest sections of the hike. Elvin R. Joh… With an elevation gain of over 2000 feet, the hike to Colchuck lake is challenging. 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. Started around 1130 & back to car around 1830. To reach the trailhead, turn onto Icicle Creek Road from US2 on the very western edge of Leavenworth. I wished I had microspikes. It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. 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. At first, the trail switchbacks gently, but the closer it gets to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. Colchuck Lake is breathtaking! Hiked this on 11/8 with a group of athletic 20-somethings. Hiked 11/7. The trail seems to end at a broad granite face overlooking the lake. 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. An overnight reservation permit is required from May 15 to October 31. Distance: 4.25 miles Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet Average Time: 2 to 3 hours. Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking events, news, gear reviews and more. The trail continues past Colchuck Luck up Aasgard Pass to the Enchantment Lakes if you choose to extend your hike. Many people don’t pay close attention to the signs and get lost this way! 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. Made it unpleasant to say the least. This hike is the stuff of legends. On one hand, I would say if you’re a beginner, if you go in the summer you can definitely do it. trail has slippery frost and ice near the top and spikes were great. 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. To the left of Dragontail is Aasgard Pass, the climb that serves as the unbelievably steep “shortcut” to the Enchantments. Follow the potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. One of the best hikes here in autumn is Colchuck Lake. Poles and spikes are not NEEDED, but probably helpful in some sections. 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! 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.. Dispersed camping is not allowed between the road and Icicle Creek. The hike starts out with an easy mile and a half, creek side walk through the forest. The Colchuck Lake trail starts at the Stuart Lake trailhead, (off Forest Service Road 7601). Started at 11am and got back to the car around 6pm. Good hiking boots helped and for me micro spikes were not needed. You can replenish water in the creeks or lake, but be sure to filter or treat before drinking. Parking anywhere else along Road 7601 is not allowed. Looking forward to go again in the summer. 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). Views are beautiful and well worth the hike! Went to colchuck lake last summer and it was amazing! Part of its magic was induced by hiking in 102 degree heat. Please note that it's a heavily ticketed and towed area so be sure to park properly. I took a tumble a couple of times but nothing major. The way leaves the parking lot and the trail meanders the valley. A gorgeous day at Colchuck Lake. 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. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. IG @ nimitpatel_ Begin on the Stuart Lake Trail #1599. The route to Colchuck Lake is the easiest and most popular way for people to see the glorious Enchantments. You will have a few areas with views perfect for photo opportunities on your way to the lake. Be careful of potholes and bumps in the road! Restrooms are available at the trailhead. Douglas S. Squirrel on Colchuck Lake The land is public and everyone can use it, but the improvements to it are classified differently. Photo by Paul Kriloff. But there were a couple of slick spots. Learn how to create your own. Fourth of July Creek Trail to Icicle Ridge, Mountain Home Ridge [CLOSED / PRIVATE PROPERTY], Canyon Crest Trail to Rat Creek Ridge Trail. Not an easy one, definitely helps to be somewhat physically fit. At the Lake they were joined by the mosquitoes to blunt the enjoyment this lake has to offer. I honestly felt great on the way up - perhaps the adrenaline of seeing the lake. colchuck lake hike time December 23, 2020 Uncategorized Uncategorized The trailhead was a 45… Cross another bridge and continue .7 miles to the cul-de sac parking area and trailhead for Lake Stuart and Colchuck Lake. We didn't wear our spikes but had them with us. We did this as a day hike. Parking Restriction: Parking allowed at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. 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. 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. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. Saw many people fall, good hiking shoes recommended. If not, return the way you came. (For a full description of this hike and others in this region, purchase Day Hiking, Central Cascades by Craig Romano, published by Mountaineers Books.) Leavenworth also provides a strong offering of sausages for pre-hike dinner. Follow this road for four miles to the trailhead. Hiked 11/7. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. Cold, so multi layers help. Two weeks ago, we headed up to Leavenworth for the weekend. It wasn’t icy/snowy enough to put on the spikes we brought. Northwest Forest Pass required. great views! The easiest routes are scrambles from the south and / or the Colchuck Col at the top of the Colchuck Glacier to the east. Check out my photos Trailhead to Colchuck Lake. not a lot of people! You will stay to the right after crossing the bridge, and walk along the creek before your next big push uphill. On both my joints and my mind. You pay at the trail head. Be sure to pack extra layers for the lake. I slipped multiple times, even as a self-proclaimed avid hiker. (Seems obvious but we noticed many others were a bit under prepared). Once you reach Colchuck lake, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the blue/green lake with the peaks towering behind it. You can improve or add to this guidebook entry, Washington Trails Association For the most part, you are hiking through a forest. From the town, the trailhead to the Colchuck Lake hike is a 40-minute drive. From Seattle, take WA 522-E to US2-E which will drop you into the small, Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. 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 … Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area. Enjoy the scenery and stop bitchin ladies! I was scared based on the hard rating and other people’s stories but it was easier than I actually thought. They were all over. The road to the trailhead will be closed on Monday 11/09/20 to the Spring 2021. This is a challenging hike with beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. You will need to turn off of US2 onto Icicle Road. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. 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. Immediately across the lake is the imposing massif of Dragontail Peak. Here, subalpine firs give way to larches, and the formal trail gives way to a rock-hopping route that eventually heads up Aasgard Pass. This beautiful and very popular 4-mile trail is accessed from Stuart Lake Trail #1599 which starts at Stuart Lake Trailhead (3400' elevation). www.nimitpatel.com. Unfortunately it rained the day of our hike. Went Nov 1st. Many layers and gloves highly recommended. This alpine lake is accompanied by the twin spires of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak at the far end of the lake. Colchuck Lake: Getting to the Trailhead. So don’t get your panties in a twist just because the uphill hiker doesn’t always pass first. Park at the Stuart Lake trailhead. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. The lot fits 75 cars and has bathrooms. Colchuck Lake is a magnificent color of blue (from glacial till) and offers great overnight camping. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. 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. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. Trail is in decent condition though, very rocky and icy at some points. 4000ft) the trail crosses the creek on an spectacular log bridge spanning deep pools of water on large boulders. Follow Icicle Road for 8.5 miles and go left onto dirt road 7601 (signs to Colchuck Lake). Bring lots of water and snacks no matter what time of year you go. Please remember there are people with different skill levels and athletic ability. Also many parts of the trail are wide so no one needs to stop at all. And all this is within relatively easy reach. 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. Sadly Forest Road 7601 was closed when we tried to go today (11/12) may be closed for the season. This is truly a brutal trek with 4,500 feet gain and 6,500 feet descent on not so easy terrain. This is a great place to grab lunch and take in the scenery. The trail continues along the lakeshore another two thirds of a mile, at times rough and a little hard to follow. I loved this hike! This alpine lake is accompanied by the twin spires of Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak at the far end of the lake. Here’s how to find it: Drive Highway 2 to milepost 99, found on the western edge of the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. I was stoked to hike to see Colchuck for myself and I dragged my family members with me. Just take your time. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. Three quarters of a mile later, the trail flattens out and drops a little before reaching a trail junction. Cold, wear layers of sweaters. 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. 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. Begin on the Stuart La… Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. Challenging, but like I said totally worth the struggle uphill. 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)! Turn south onto Icicle Creek … But it put us close to the Colchuck and Stuart Lake Trailheads for an early start on Sunday. 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 Note: The road leading to the trailhead may be closed during the winter and will add 8 miles to your overall trip. Some parts down are steep so they would have been super helpful. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. The road driving up was a little rough. At about 1.75 miles (elev. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. If you are traveling Eastbound on Highway 2 over Stevens Pass go right on Icicle Road when you first enter Leavenworth. Slippery due to ice patches throughout the trail. Washington Trails Association is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Also, the flies are unlike anything I have experienced on a hike in the summer. 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. 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. Although it was VERY icy we still managed to make it up and down with just poles. 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. A northwest forest pass is required. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. 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. Elevation gain made me a little lightheaded going up but it wasn’t too bad. 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. Hike by WTA Correspondents: I love the hikes this region offers, but it takes six hours from our house to the trailhead and back…throw in a hike and you are talking a long day. 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. Seattle, WA 98104. It wasn’t such that you need microspikes but poles were helpful. 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. Be prepared to share the trail with hundreds of people; this is an extremely popular route, especially on summer … 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. Colchuck Lake is one of the gateways into the Enchantments. It’s about 9 miles and I’ve never hiked with this significant elevation change. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. Straight ahead the path to Stuart Lake rolls out, while the Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1 breaks off to the left. 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. 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. Hiked 10/27 - I have done this hike in the summer and have now done it in late fall. 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. Make sure to turn LEFT at the fork to Colchuck since going straight will lead you to Stuart Lake. Didn’t need spikes but poles were pretty critical on way down in this section. How to Find Colchuck Lake : To hike to Colchuck Lake, you’ll want to start at the Stuart Lake trailhead and parking area. 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. Today’s conditions were mostly fine with patches of ice and slippery surfaces that I slipped on and saw numerous people slip on. I went 11/8 and had nanospikes which helped tremendously. After a series of rocky switch backs you will reach the trail junction for Stuart, and Colchuck lakes. 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. This is a rather small town but easy to find on the map. 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. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. 209S map. There is a $5 cash for park fee unless you have the NW Forest Pass. Where to Stay. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. 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. At some points along this portion of the hike you will catch a glimpse of Mountaineer Creek. Otherwise, just take it slow. 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. Occasional breaks in the trees offer glimpses of the steep walls of the valley. Bring the 10 essentials. It’s much colder than trailhead. I posted photo of the assignment. The Colchuck Lake trailhead is located near the town of Leavenworth, Washington. 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. The trail is a bit of a jumble as you hop boulders in a large talus slope along the creek’s bank. Colchuck Lake is one of the lakes that make up the Enchantments area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, which was established in 1976 and consists of 391,988 acres. Colchuck Lake is a beautiful, blue lake with dramatic peaks in the background. But the steepest sections at the end was icy. I’d recommend going earlier because now that the sun sets so early, hiking back in the dark wasn’t my favorite. The climb remains pretty consistent rocky, and with tree roots but manageable. 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. 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. Hiked on 11/8. Stuart Lake (#1599), Colchuck Lake (#1599A) Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District I used one hiking pole which with the spikes made the hike a lot better. After the bridge, the route steepens and grows rockier, a small taste of what’s to come over the hike’s second half. Our tax identification number is EIN 91-0900134. 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. This is by far the hardest hike I ever did. The top gets pretty chilly, especially with cloud cover. Parking is only allowed in the Eightmile and Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead Parking Lots. 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. Hope you enjoy! Trailhead. Views are incredible! 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. This map was created by a user. Layer up and bring a hat/gloves as it gets pretty chilly on top. 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. The 8-9 mile roundtrip hike was tiresome, but well worth it. Start early. NW Forest pass is required. Although this trail is one of my favorite hikes, the road was closed for the winter when you first turn off of Icicle Rd. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Toilets available at the trail head. Colchuck Lake used to be a hidden gem but is now quickly gaining in popularity. Going up was not too bad however the latter part (closest to the lake) has some steeper grades. Worth the view! This hike was recommended by a friend and after hiking Colchuck Lake we are passing the recommendation onto other friends…it was absolute gorgeous. There are several high points with the western most being the true summit. SEE PARKING INFORMATION BELOW. Use poles. Stuart Lake and Colchuck Lake share the same trail for about 2 miles. It begins at the Stuart Lake Trailhead. But the reward at the top is a picturesque lake with dazzling blue green water and views over Dragontail and Colchuck … Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. Night before and spend the night or camp honestly felt great on the hard rating other. Glacial till ) and offers great overnight camping physically fit well worth it the scenery left of Dragontail Peak cover. 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Trip to Colchuck Lake hike is a rather small town but easy to find trail.

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