Another great hike with the 40+ Meetup group. On July 2nd we headed to Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth. “Gateway to the Enchantments.”
Stats according to WTA website: 8 miles roundtrip, 2280 ft elevation gain, high point 5580 ft. Our group thinks this may have been inaccurate for the distance. It might have been closer to 10 miles.
Pass required Northwest Forest Pass
Note – No dogs are allowed on this trail. Leave your furry friends at home.
For directions and more info see :wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/colchuck-lake
There was a somewhat long dirt road to get to this trailhead but it was in pretty good shape. We had a couple of sedans that made it up fine. This is another spot where the parking fills up quickly. By the time we arrived cars were parked along the side of the road. There were many backpackers headed in for an overnight.
This trail is also an entry way into the Enchantments. To hike/backpack in the Enchantments you must have a special pass (by lottery). It is supposed to be a very special place, maybe one day I will visit. The Colchuck Trail is not part of this lottery system, a NW forest pass is all you need.
The trail begins on the Stuart Lake Trail #1599, and it climbs gradually at first through a dense forest following Mountaineer creek. After the first mile and a half the trail crosses a log bridge. At this point the trail steepens and gets rockier.
Three quarters of a mile past this bridge you will find the junction to Colchuck Lake. Take a left at this junction.
As the trail gets closer to the lake it gets steeper and rockier. The terrain reminded me a lot of hiking in Tahoe. Poles are a must on this hike. Not only do they help with the impact on the knees on the way down, but they help with pulling yourself up on the way up. The mountain views along the way were spectacular. Don’t forget to look up and enjoy your surroundings.
The climb to the lake is well worth it. The lake was a great turquoise color and the mountains behind it were the perfect backdrop. Keep your eye out for a family of mountain goats near the lake. This was my first time seeing goats on a trail so it was pretty special. There are several nice spots to sit and enjoy your lunch. Also, reward yourself with a dip in the lake. The water was cold, but I have felt colder. It felt good to rinse the grit and dirt off from the trail (it was dusty).