colchuck lake trailhead

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Learn how to create your own. The top gets pretty chilly, especially with cloud cover. I will do this one again for sure but in daylight. 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. Note: The road leading to the trailhead may be closed during the winter and will add 8 miles to your overall trip. 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. 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. And all this is within relatively easy reach. Approach. Saw many people fall, good hiking shoes recommended. Then pick up the Colchuck Lake Trail for 2.7 miles. Reach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. 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. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. Made the way up much more manageable, much like driving up in our 4X4 rig with no slippage. It is not enough to have daily updates from the dangerous wilds of Lake Serene, Lake 22, and Mount Pilchuck. Here we crossed our first bridge and the trail starts to climb. Here’s how to find it: Drive Highway 2 to milepost 99, found on the western edge of the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. We didn't wear our spikes but had them with us. Park at the Stuart Lake trailhead. 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. Trailhead: Stuart and Colchuck Lake The Enchantments are one of the most magnificent natural areas in Washington State, with its glistening alpine lakes, glacially-carved granite, and jagged peaks. A magical 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. Colchuck Lake is a magnificent color of blue (from glacial till) and offers great overnight camping. 4.5 miles with 2,300 ft. elevation gain Starting at the Stuart Lake trailhead, we hiked in to our campsite at Colchuck Lake. Make sure to turn LEFT at the fork to Colchuck since going straight will lead you to Stuart Lake. Otherwise, you can park about 3/4 of the way up in a usual good trail car. From the north, the peak is approached via the Colchuck Lake Trail and / or the Stuart Lake Trail reached from Leavenworth, WA. It’s about 9 miles and I’ve never hiked with this significant elevation change. It’s the only toilet there, with no walls. It was COLD! The trail turns out of the lake basin on a steep, winding path into a mid-elevation forest. There is a $5 cash for park fee unless you have the NW Forest Pass. Trailhead to Colchuck Lake. A Subaru with MaxxBoards was parked about 3/4 of the way up the road, and a Honda Pilot reversed down the road as I never saw it parked. The Colchuck Lake trailhead is located near the town of Leavenworth, Washington. This is a challenging hike with beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. Distance: 4.25 miles Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet Average Time: 2 to 3 hours. 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. 4:45 AM came quick and we were up eating a big breakfast, drinking cold brew, and packing our daypacks before we hit the trailhead at 6:05 AM. We opted to don our snowshoes for the route down and used them all the way to Icicle creek. 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. Day 1: Start at the Stuart Lake Trailhead and follow for 2.3 miles. 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. Turn south onto Icicle Creek Road, which is well maintained for the most part. Answer 1 of 12: Hello...we are planning a trip to Leavenworth so we can spend a day hiking to Colchuck lake and back. 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. To the left of Dragontail is Aasgard Pass, the climb that serves as the unbelievably steep “shortcut” to the Enchantments. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. 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. 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. Views are incredible! As you get closer to the lake, you can see a sign of a pit toilet. After the bridge the trail begins to climb, switchbacking its way up to a junction at 2.5 miles. The trail was in good condition but icy for the last 1-1.5 miles to the top. It was amazing to have the trail and lake to ourselves - quite the opposite of the other seasons. To find the trail from Leavenworth, take US2 from the western side of Leavenworth. 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. On both my joints and my mind. At about 1.75 miles (elev. If you drive vehicles similar to those in the last pic, you can make it all the way up. The Colchuck Lake trailhead is located near the town of Leavenworth, Washington. Travel down Icicle Road for 8.4 miles until you reach Forest Road 7601. Before, you reach the Colchuck Lake; you will get mesmerizing views of Mount Stuart. The center snow pile is difficult to clear. The entire trail was already broken in and had a decent bootpack. From the junction, it is 1.6 miles to Colchuck Lake. Made it unpleasant to say the least. 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! We did this as a day hike. The road becomes bare and very drivable. If I’m not mistaken it is about 5 miles to the base of Aasgard and approximately 2500′ of elevation gain from the trail head. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. The snow was icy, crunchy, and solid with proper traction. There is only one trailhead for both hikes. The reward at the top is a picturesque lake with dazzling blue green water and views over Dragontail and Colchuck Peak mountains. The parking area can be busy, as visitors access the Enchantments and Stuart Lake from this trailhead. This lake is a real butt-kicker hike but an oh so worth-it … At the Lake they were joined by the mosquitoes to blunt the enjoyment this lake has to offer. It wasn’t such that you need microspikes but poles were helpful. Started at 11am and got back to the car around 6pm. Today’s conditions were mostly fine with patches of ice and slippery surfaces that I slipped on and saw numerous people slip on. Two weeks ago, we headed up to Leavenworth for the weekend. Seattle, WA 98104. Turn left here and trail soon crosses Mountaineer Creek again on a log bridge. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. On July 2nd we headed to Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth. Not an easy one, definitely helps to be somewhat physically fit. At the trailhead. From the town, the trailhead to the Colchuck Lake hike is a 40-minute drive. 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 trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. Bring the 10 essentials. After the walk through the woods, you will cross the creek on a bridge before beginning the first real incline of the hike. Sadly Forest Road 7601 was closed when we tried to go today (11/12) may be closed for the season. After the bridge, the route steepens and grows rockier, a small taste of what’s to come over the hike’s second half. Went Nov 1st. This is a compacted dirt and gravel road that is suitable for standard cars. You can replenish water in the creeks or lake, but be sure to filter or treat before drinking. The 8-9 mile roundtrip hike was tiresome, but well worth it. Here, subalpine firs give way to larches, and the formal trail gives way to a rock-hopping route that eventually heads up Aasgard Pass. Started from Icicle Creek Road and headed on up to Colchuck Lake via the 'winter route' which adds 8 miles! Northwest Forest Pass required. Our group of 9 friends started around 7:00 a.m. and made it back to the vehicles around 10:00 p.m.. IG @ nimitpatel_ Begin on the Stuart Lake Trail #1599. Any real difficulties for novice hikers? We had the place to ourselves most of the day until a trio of snowshoes passed us by on the way to the lake, turning around however as they were at their turnaround point. The first time you round the corner and come out of the trees at Colchuck Lake is something of a religious experience. 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. Offering a wonderful day trip, Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail is a beautiful trail and offers a number of activities. Immediately across the lake is the imposing massif of Dragontail Peak. 1599) and dives right into the forest. Part of its magic was induced by hiking in 102 degree heat. This is a rather small town but easy to find on the map. We opted for summer climbing boots and 12 points. Initially, past the hairpin turn, it looked dicey, but becomes bare and wet for at least half the road. Getting into the Enchantment Lakes area takes some effort, though, and a backpacking trip into the region is an unforgettable experience. Some people enjoy a fast hike and some slow. Going up was not too bad however the latter part (closest to the lake) has some steeper grades. This glacier melt lake is a tucked away gem within with the Enchantments trail. Colchuck Lake is a beautiful, blue lake with dramatic peaks in the background. Finally hitting the lake, our group found the perfect lunch spot overlooking Dragontail Peak, Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Glacier/Peak. The trail gradually climbs through forest along Mountaineer Creek and crosses creek at 1.5 miles on a log bridge. Straight ahead the path to Stuart Lake rolls out, while the Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1 breaks off to the left. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. The trip to the lake is just under 4 mi (6.44 km). iked Mount Ellinor via the upper trailhead and the winter route up today, and the summer route down in beautiful bluebird conditions! A short spur takes off left .1 mile to a small lagoon on Colchuck’s south end where breathtaking views of the backdrop spires Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks can be enjoyed. 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. But the steepest sections at the end was icy. This is a rather small town but easy to find on the map. Adding the extra 8 miles was quite an undertaking while racing the daylight down. As we drove down Forest Service Road 760, I thought we were lost after driving for twenty minutes. Although this trail is one of my favorite hikes, the road was closed for the winter when you first turn off of Icicle Rd. I slept in the back of his truck in the open and, notably, cold air. Honestly, I am shocked, amazed, and impressed at how some people get up, but they do. 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. At first, the trail switchbacks gently, but the closer it gets to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. If you can, head to Leavenworth the night before and spend the night or camp. Turn left after 8.5 miles onto Forest Service Road #7601. 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. The start of Colchuck lake is the same trailhead as Stuart Lake. Colchuck Lake Trail starts at Stuart Lake trailhead off of Forest Service Road 7601, which can be accessed from Icicle Creek Road. Conditions were good and the snow was packed enough to need only micro-spikes for the way up. Unfortunately it rained the day of our hike. However, the way back was difficult for me. The road was frozen and slick in the AM, and a Ford Pickup was in the ditch past the lower TH. A little slower of a start than we anticipated, but early enough not to fret. This is truly a brutal trek with 4,500 feet gain and 6,500 feet descent on not so easy terrain. 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. Some folks had microspikes, some shared a single pair, saw some cool short snowshoes, and one or two somehow scrambling up in only boots. 3.9 miles | 5,570' - 3,440' | 2,130' net elevation loss. Different, but still very beautiful and quiet. 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 continues along the lakeshore another two thirds of a mile, at times rough and a little hard to follow. You can improve or add to this guidebook entry, Washington Trails Association Here’s how to find it: Drive Highway 2 to milepost 99, found on the western edge of the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. It was intense and exhausting but well-worth it. At this point, you will continue up steep and rocky switch backs until you reach a junction for Stuart Lake (arrow point right) and Colchuck Lake (arrow point left). Cross another bridge and continue .7 miles to the cul-de sac parking area and trailhead for Lake Stuart and Colchuck Lake. The trail seems to end at a broad granite face overlooking the lake. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. 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. 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. Many layers and gloves highly recommended. The scenery was an absolutely gorgeous winter wonderland. The 8-9 mile roundtrip hike was tiresome, but well worth it. The lake was completely snow covered, frozen and arctic-like. Even though it is a steady uphill climb to Colchuck Lake, this felt like one of the easiest and fastest sections of the hike. Stay to the left and you will happen upon another log bridge, stunning vistas that act as the gateway to the wilderness. The trailhead is easily found from the parking area. Head left and and continue on the Colchuck Lake trail until you come across another log bridge. Slippery due to ice patches throughout the trail. 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. And all this is within relatively easy reach. Just take your time. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. The trailhead was a 45… Good tracks and boot steps were left, and about 6 people were on the way up as we descended, so I expect both routes prior to new snowfall will be in very good condition - very firm bootpack. Three quarters of a mile later, the trail flattens out and drops a little before reaching a trail junction. 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. Trail is in decent condition though, very rocky and icy at some points. I honestly felt great on the way up - perhaps the adrenaline of seeing the lake. It begins at the Stuart Lake Trailhead. Parking Restriction: Parking allowed at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. At 2.2 miles take a left at the junction with the Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1. Many people going uphill welcome the opportunity to pause and let a downhill person go first. 4000ft) the trail crosses the creek on an spectacular log bridge spanning deep pools of water on large boulders. My advice - aggressive microspikes and poles at a minimum. 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. It might have been closer to… Total time 11 hours C2C. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. At some points along this portion of the hike you will catch a glimpse of Mountaineer Creek. The way leaves the parking lot and the trail meanders the valley. If you’re kind of in the middle like me, you’ll also be fine! Looking forward to hiking this again next summer! You will need to turn off of US2 onto Icicle Road. One of the best hikes here in autumn is Colchuck Lake. Paul Kriloff. 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. No snow on trail until the very end and even then, it was just a trace. Travel down Icicle Road for 8.4 miles until you reach Forest Road 7601. Take the left trail (the right trail goes to Stuart Lake) and cross the creek. Dispersed camping is not allowed between the road and Icicle Creek. 209S map. 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. 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. 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. You pay at the trail head. Cross the creek on a bridge and the next mile begins to ascend a little more steeply. 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 first two miles are an easy hike through the forest next to Mountaineer Creek. To reach the trailhead, turn onto Icicle Creek Road from US2 on the very western edge of Leavenworth. You can go about 3/4 of the way in a decent, high clearance, AWD, 4WD - I saw at the top trailhead, a 3rd Gen 4Runner and built Toyota Tacoma pickup. Road Beta: Snow free to lower TH. Hiked on 11/8. The trip to the lake is just under 4 mi (6.44 km). At around two and a quarter miles, the Colchuck Lake Trail breaks off to the left. Many people don’t pay close attention to the signs and get lost this way! Use poles. 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. 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. Parking is only allowed in the Eightmile and Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead Parking Lots. I used one hiking pole which with the spikes made the hike a lot better. Follow the bumpy, sometimes potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. 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. Take a left onto Forest Road 7601. To hike to Colchuck Lake, you’ll want to start at the Stuart Lake trailhead and parking area. 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 slipped multiple times, even as a self-proclaimed avid hiker. 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. 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. 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. not a lot of people! This is by far the hardest hike I ever did. www.nimitpatel.com. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. Be careful of … It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. I was really looking forward to seeing Colchuck Lake, with its green coloring, against the snowy backdrop, but alas, that was not to be. Colchuck Lake Tips & Hiking Resources. But it put us close to the Colchuck and Stuart Lake Trailheads for an early start on Sunday. This hike is the stuff of legends. The jagged peaks and passes surrounding the lake have mystical names like Dragontail and Aasgard Pass. I really started to struggle towards the end. So don’t get your panties in a twist just because the uphill hiker doesn’t always pass first. 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. In summer, cars fill not only the trailhead parking lot, but the road leading to it. The trail to Colcuck lake is 7.7 miles roundtrip and is quite the adventure. Enjoy the scenery and stop bitchin ladies! From Seattle, take WA 522-E to US2-E which will drop you into the small, Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. 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.

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