The wonderful thing about traveling on the road is the little gems you find along the way. Once we finally made it back to the states through the Washington border we headed to Vancouver, WA to visit our friend Peter. Before we got to the southern border of Washington, he messaged us about a hike that lead up to a wonderful glacier lake 20 miles outside of Leavensworth that was worth checking out.
If you are an avid hiker, I would rate this hike moderate with an 2688ft of elevation gain to the top. It is a 9 mile hike round trip and possibly one of the most scenic hikes we have done in the area. The trailhead begins on the Stuart Lake trail #1599 just outside the amazing little town of Leavensworth, which I will get to in a bit. The trailhead parking lot is usually packed with vehicles because it is also the one of the two gateways to the Enchantments.
The Enchantment hike is a 18 mile (one way) hike with an elevation gain of 4500ft. The only way to access this particular hike is to win a lottery via the Forest service that is held in February. If you are lucky enough to be chosen, the season runs between May 15th-Oct 31st (We will be back to backpack this one).
The hike starts out with a gradual elevation gain through the lush forest. Ever so often you can see the steep walls of the valley through the breaks in the trees. After the first mile, you encounter a scenic bridge that stands over the Mountaineer Creek before the trek continues with a bit rockier grounds and a steeper second half.
Once you head in another half mile or so, you encounter the junction that veers left for Colchuck lake and right for Stuart lake/Enchantments trail. As you make your way up the trail, you will hit another log bridge before the switchbacks that get steeper as you get closer to the lake. Since we hiked this trail towards the end of October, we encountered some snow towards the end of the hike. We also started the hike at around 14:00, so we were made sure to pack our headlamps knowing that we would be hiking out after the sun went down. The view of the crystal blue lake at the foot of the Dragontail Peak and Aasgard pass (which is actually a very steep shortcut to the enchantment lakes) was a site. The views were incredible and every huffing mile was worth it.
Once we made it back to the trail head, Izzy was very happy to see us since pets weren’t allowed on this trail and after taking a few night shots of the stars/van, we headed into the town of Leavensworth.
We woke up the next morning at sunrise and took a leisurely walk around the beautiful park before catching breakfast at Louie’s. The Bavarian style town was quaint and every aspect of it was like a highland town. If you are visiting the area, it is definitely worth stopping by.