Best time to visit Washington

The Enchantments in Washington

One of the most beautiful spots in the Cascade Range

Best time: late July–early October

The Enchantments
The Enchantments
The Enchantments
The Enchantments
The Enchantments
The Enchantments

Enchantment Lakes got their name for a reason. Surrounded by jagged granite peaks, those crystal clear lakes are indeed magical. The Enchantment lake group consists of an upper and a lower basin, with Stuart Range towering over them. The area belongs to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The nearest town is Leavenworth, Washington, located in about 15 mi (24 km) southwest.

While backpacking near beautiful Enchantment Lakes hikers can enjoy genuinely incredible views, some even dare to dip in pristine Alpine Lakes. Mountain Goats are also known to accompany hikers in this area. The best season to hike to the lakes is summer and early fall, namely late July/August to September/early October.

Hikers use two trails to approach the Enchantments Basin. The trailheads for both are located off Icicle Creek Road. The Snow Lake trailhead is near a large parking lot next to the creek. The trail to the lake is about 6.5 mi (10.5 km) long with an elevation gain of 4,100 ft (1,250 m). From Snow lake, you need to climb for 2.5 more mi (4 km) to get to the Lower Enchantments. Due to its steepness, this hike usually takes two days and is rated as hard. A different route from the Stuart Lake trailhead starts near Eightmile road off Icicle Creek Road. In 4.7 mi (7.6 km) you can reach Colchuck Lake. And there is about 1.9 more mi (3 km) of the scramble to get to Aasgard Pass. Camping is possible in the Enchantments from May 15th to October 31st. Permits are granted by the Forest Service through a lottery. Dogs and campfires are forbidden in the area.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike to Enchantment Lakes in Washington?

Enchantment Lakes hiking is best done during summer and early fall, from late July/August to September/early October when the weather is temperate and there's less snow. It's also less crowded during summer and permits must be obtained in advance to avoid the disappointment of not getting access to the Lakes. Show more

Where is the nearest town located when visiting Enchantment Lakes in Washington?

Leavenworth is the closest town to Enchantment Lakes, located approximately 15 miles (24 km) southwest of it. This town has a unique German feel and attracts many tourists each year. It has various amenities such as resorts, restaurants, and grocery stores and visitors can find a lovely place to stay for their trip. Show more

How long is the hike to Lower Enchantments from Snow Lake trailhead?

To reach the Lower Enchantments from Snow Lake trailhead, it takes 2 days, and the hike is approximately 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long, with an elevation gain of 4,100 ft (1,250 m). The first 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of the hike are up to Snow Lake, followed by a steep ascent of 2.5 miles (4 km) to the Lower Enchantments. The hike is challenging, and hikers must be well-prepared with the right equipment and fitness level. Show more

What are the alternatives to approach Enchantment Basin from Stuart Lake trailhead?

The Enchantment Basin can be approached through the Stuart Lake trailhead route which is 4.7 miles (7.6 km) up to Colchuck Lake, then a 1.9-mile (3 km) scramble up Aasgard Pass to reach the Enchantment Basin. This route is shorter than the Snow Lake trailhead but harder because of rough terrain and steep inclines. We recommend intermediate to advanced level hikers take this route for a more challenging experience. Show more

Can dogs accompany hikers and campers in the Enchantment Lakes area?

Enchantment Lakes area is considered a protected wilderness where dogs are strictly prohibited, and there's equally a fire ban. This is because dogs damage the natural habitat and wildlife while fires pose an even bigger danger. It's important for visitors to follow all the guidelines formulated by the authority and make sure to not cause any destruction to the ecological system while exploring the area. Show more

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