Best time to travel to Seattle

Colchuck Lake in Seattle

A gem in the Alpine region of the state of Washington

Best time: June–October

Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake

Beautiful Colchuk Lake is located not far from the Alpine village of Leavenworth. The trail to the lake is very popular during the summer hiking season. This hike is rated as challenging, but you'll be awarded with beautiful scenery of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and the sight of two prominent spires: Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak.

Colchuck Lake Trail begins at Stuart Lake trailhead and parking lot by Forest Service Road 7601, which can be reached from Icicle Creek Road. The roundtrip covers 7.7 mi (12.39 km) with an elevation of 2,300 ft (701.04 m). The trip to the lake is just under 4 mi (6.44 km).

The lake is visible from various parts of the trail—it is picture-perfect with deep blue waters and surrounding mountains. The trail ends at a large granite face with a panorama of the lake. It further leads to the remains of Colchuck Glacier.

Mind that Forest Service Road R 7601 from Icicle Creek Road to the trailhead is closed during winter, that's why you better plan your trip from May through October. Camping on the lake is possible by permit only from May 15th to October 31st.

Practical info

What are the prominent spires visible during the hike to Colchuck Lake?

During the hike to Colchuck Lake, visitors will be presented with beautiful scenery from the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak can also be seen while hiking on this trail. These two enormous peaks are popular and favored among hikers and photographers alike. Show more

What is the distance and elevation gain for the Colchuck Lake Trail?

The Colchuck Lake Trail has a length of 7.7 mi (12.39 km) for a round trip, and the hikers will also experience an elevation gain of 2,300 ft (701.04 m). The trailhead can be located at the Stuart Lake trailhead and parking lot situated at Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from the Icicle Creek Road. Show more

When is the best time to visit Colchuck Lake, and why?

Peak time to visit Colchuck Lake is from June to October. As the trailhead closes down during winter, summer months are preferred. Apart from this, the scenic beauty of vibrant greenery, plus crystal-clear skies during hot summers, in addition to the deep blue waters of the lake adds up to a memorable experience for any hiker. Therefore, visitors should plan accordingly and choose the best time to visit this site. Show more

What is the difficulty rating for the Colchuck Lake Trail, and why?

The Colchuck Lake Trail is classified as a challenging trail, thanks to the rough terrain and elevation gain. Hikers who wish to go through this route should properly prepare themselves for a strenuous hike, which features loose rocks in steep inclines. Meanwhile, this hike reaches toward stunning Alpine scenery including picturesque landscapes and views that make the effort worthwhile. Show more

Is camping allowed at Colchuck Lake, and are there any restrictions or permits required?

Camping near Colchuck Lake is only permissible via a permit from May 15th to October 31st. Leavenworth Ranger Station permits can be obtained in person or online. Implementing the 'Leave No Trace' principles is expected of visitors when camping; this includes making an effort to preserve the lake by following the guidelines, which pertains to safeguarding natural beauty and avoiding littering, disturbing wildlife, or damaging vegetation. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin