This is a weekly series that highlights an outstanding day hike or backpacking trip. The goal is to inspire you to want to get out and see these places for yourself. I know for us, just seeing amazing photos and reading about a great hike is enough to get us motivated.
This week's hike is The Enchantments Traverse in central Washington State.
Featured Photo: Leprechaun Lake in The Enchantments (photo by Bill Devlin)
Why this Hike?
Looking at the photo above, it is not hard to see why this is an amazing hike. Located in the heart of the Central Cascades, the area is peppered with grantite peaks, several glacial lakes, and wide swaths of mountain larch which go through an amazing transformation in early October.
How long is the hike?
The traverse from Stuart Creek to Snow Creek is approximately 20 miles with some significant elevation gain. As a result, 3-4 days is recommended so that you can really enjoy the area.
How do I get there?
The hike is a few miles southwest of the City of Leavenworth. The area is very accessible from Seattle via a 2.5 hour drive along I-90 and Highway 97.
From Leavenworth, take US 2 west and turn onto Icicle Creek Road. Drive a little over 8 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. Follow the dirt road 4 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead parking lot.
What will I need?
Since this is a multi-day trip, you will need a full backpacking set up. Check out our Ultimate Backpacker's Packing List for a complete list of things that we recommend and a handy printable checklist.
What do I need to consider?
The biggest consideration for the hike is obtaining permits. Overnight camping in The Enchantments requires permits which are distributed in advance through a lottery and can be pretty difficult to obtain. You can also obtain a small number the day that you begin, but that is generally pretty risky, especially if you've traveled a long way. For more permit information and to apply, see the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website.
You also need a Northwest Forest Pass in order to park a vehicle at the trailheads. These are easy to obtain at the US Forest Service website.
Finally, as is often the case with multi-day backpacking trips, the trail start and end points are some distance apart. If you have more than one vehicle available, then leaving one at each end takes care of this problem. If not, there is shuttle service available from Leavenworth Shuttle and Taxi.
Have you hiked through The Enchantments? Do you have other outstanding hikes that you'd like us to write about? Please share your feedback in the comments.