COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

Enchantments Traverse

Difficult

Trail

19.1 mile 30.8 kilometer point to point
75% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 4,556' 1,389 m
Descent: -6,674' -2,034 m
High: 7,795' 2,376 m
Low: 1,319' 402 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 50% (26°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by ChewiePDX with improvements by Rick B

An extraordinary run that takes you through all of the beauty that the Enchantments have to offer!

ChewiePDX

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking here.

Backcountry camping is available by permit only from May 15 - October 31. Backcountry permits can be obtained via a lottery that opens in February. A limited number of same-day walk-in backcountry permits are given out at the Leavenworth Ranger station, usually at 7 a.m. These are available daily (except Sundays).

Overview

This route will take you through the most popular section of the Enchantments. You'll get great views of most of the peaks and get to travel over challenging mountain passes. This is a must-do for everyone's northwest bucket list. Given that this is a point-to-point, you'll need to drop a car or arrange a pickup.

Places to fill and filter water along this trail are numerous. The areas that have little to no water access are from Colchuck Lake to the Enchantments Lake Basin and from Lake Vivian down to the Snow Lakes.

Runner Notes

This trail can be done as a run-hike, although footing is challenging throughout, and it's easier to start going up Aasgard than descending Aasgard at the end.

Description

This run can be done in either direction, but it is most popularly done from Stuart Lake TH to Snow Lakes TH, and that is how it is described below.

From the trailhead, head south through the forest wandering around the river. The first 2.5 miles are all fairly similar. At 2.6 miles, you'll reach the junction with Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1. From here, head on the southeast-bound trail on your left, towards Colchuck Lake. From here, the trail will increase in grade. It will also become much rockier. After climbing for just over 1.6 miles (4.2 miles total) you'll reach your junction with Colchuck Lake. Enjoy the view here of the massive peaks all around the lake. You'll skirt around the west side of the lake for around .7 miles.

As you reach the south end of Colchuck Lake, you'll start the short, but grueling climb up Aasgard Pass. The climb lasts about 1.6 miles of following cairns up a rocky path. Getting to the top of Aasgard will give you one of the best views within the Enchantments. From here, you'll drop into the lakes basin passing multiple gorgeous, photo-worthy lakes (Tranquil, Isolation, and Inspiration Lake to name a few), on you way to your junction with Snow Lakes Trail #1553. Approximately 1.9 miles after the top of Aasgard Pass, you'll reach a trail junction with Prusik Pass to your north, left, and Snow Lakes Trail #1553 to your southeast, right. This junction will be at just under 8 miles total.

Follow Snow Lakes Trail #1553 from here and be ready for a long descent. Enjoy the views all around you of the peaks and lakes - Perfection Lake, Sprite Lake, Leprechaun Lake, and finally Lake Viviane. After Lake Viviane, you wont have a reliable water source until you reach Upper Snow Lake in 1.6 miles. This descent will take you over solid rock features and onto some loose rock areas between some sections of great trail.

After you get to Upper Snow Lake, you'll skirt around the lake for 1.5 miles of flat terrain which is much welcomed after the steep descent. At the end of Upper Snow Lake, you'll cross over a man-made damn that has water flowing over it. This is usually a welcomed cold soak for you feet after just over 12 miles on the trail. From here you'll descend another 1.7 miles over mostly rocky terrain down to Nada Lake. You'll usually be welcomed here with a swarm of mosquitoes.

I recommend filling water somewhere near here before continuing as there are limited water sources for the next 2.5 miles. Continue your descent on this well-worn trail. At around 17 miles, just over two miles from Snow Lakes TH, you'll be directly across from the popular Snow Creek Wall. This is a very popular rock climbing location and on the right day you'll see multiple parties making their way up this 800 foot rock wall. From here, the trail continues to descend on well worn tracks until you reach the valley floor. The trail will continue along Icicle Creek for a short time until you cross a large bridge and head up to the parking lot at Snow Lakes TH.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers are prevalent throughout this region. In the fall, this run is great for Larches.

Be on the lookout for mountain goats. They crave salt so please urinate in backcountry toilets when possible. When toilets are unavailable, please urinate on rocks, otherwise the mountain goats will tear up the ground and vegetation.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Run

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In

Check-Ins

Aug 22, 2019
Rachel Rutledge
Closer to 22 miles. Multiple routes around the lakes, which can be difficult to follow. 12 hours with multiple breaks and time to take pictures.
Aug 8, 2019
Postyn Smith
19.1mi — 6h 30m
Jul 25, 2019
Nelson Pearson
Jul 20, 2019
Stephen M
Did it 'backwards'. Some snow fields. One above Inspiration Lake is a little steep. There's a class 4 scramble on the rocks to the east if you prefer 19.3mi
May 7, 2019
Caitlin Duffy
A LOT of snow and constant postholing 15mi
Oct 17, 2018
Laila S
Sep 1, 2018
Vaibhav Shukla
18.5mi — 7h 00m
Aug 18, 2018
Evan Griffith
20mi — 6h 53m

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 68 votes

#39

Overall
  4.9 from 68 votes
5 Star
94%
4 Star
6%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#3

in Washington

#39

Overall
280 Views Last Month
27,437 Since May 22, 2015
Difficult

0%
2%
80%
18%

Photos

Views of the jagged Dragontail Peak across Colchuck Lake.
Jun 7, 2017 near Leavenw…, WA
Colchuck Lake
Aug 12, 2015 near Leavenw…, WA
Gnome Tarn, looking toward Mount Prusik.
Dec 19, 2015 near Leavenw…, WA
Lake Viviane after a long and hard climb.
Nov 12, 2015 near Leavenw…, WA
A mountain goat and his domain (Dragontail Peak in the background).
Jun 27, 2016 near Leavenw…, WA
Reflecting on how awesome Dragontail Peak looks...
Jun 27, 2016 near Leavenw…, WA

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running