Thru-Hiking the Enchantments: The Ultimate Planning Guide

The Enchantments are an absolutely amazing alpine wonderland located in central Washington state. In fact, this stunning mountain landscape has been termed the “Crown Jewel of Washington Hiking” by the Washington Trails Association, the leading expert on hiking in Washington. And after doing the full thru-hike of the Enchantments ourselves, we couldn’t agree more: it is absolutely incredible.

Numerous crystal clear alpine lakes. Rugged and pointed granite mountains that look like they are out of some medieval adventure novel. Wildflowers and rushing rivers. Baby mountain goats and speckled alpine birds. The Enchantments really are a mountain paradise and one definitely worth exploring in person.

And if the only thing keeping you from exploring and adventuring in this wonderland yourself is the actual planning, then we are here to help.

Because if we are being honest, it can be a bit overwhelming to plan a trip into the Enchantments. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a lot of options available: from day hikes out to one of the many lakes to thru-hiking it all in one day, to spending the night (or a couple). But also it can be tough to plan an adventure in the Enchantments because there is just a lot to know about the 20-mile long trail (including, just how tough is it actually?!).

After thru-hiking the Enchantments in one day (one veeery long day) we have got a lot of those answers for you. So, if you are considering hiking in the Enchantments — either via a day trip, a thru-hike or a backpacking adventure — we recommend you read our full Enchantments Planning Guide below.

Happy adventuring!

ENCHANTMENTS PLANNING GUIDE | STEP-BY-STEP INFORMATION

🥾 QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE HIKING TRAIL

📌 TRANSPORTATION (GETTING TO THE TRAILHEADS, PARKING, THE HIKING SHUTTLE)

🎫 PERMITS AND REGULATIONS (BACKPACKING VS THRU-HIKING)

☁ WEATHER AND SAFETY

🎒 PACKING GUIDE (FOOD, WATER AND GEAR)

🏕 CAMPING AND LODGING

(Keep scrolling for the full guide OR jump to each section above to save time)

THE ENCHANTMENTS TRAIL MAP

\\ The Enchantments Hiking Trail | A Quick Overview

Even though this is one of the most popular trails in all of Washington state, the Enchantments trail should not be underestimated. It is a darn tough trail. Especially if you decide to do it all in one day (aka thru-hike it). While the beauty and the insane landscape makes it 100% worth it, still be prepared for a long and tough day on the trail.

TOTAL DISTANCE: ~20 miles (32 kilometers) one-way

TYPE OF HIKE: point-to-point (see more on this below)

TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN: around 5,000 feet

HIGHEST POINT: the infamous Aasgard Pass, which sits at 7,800 feet (2377 meters)

TIME NEEDED TO DO THE THRU-HIKE: 10–15 hours; depends on your fitness level and how often you stop (we did it in 12 hours and took our time by the many lakes)

➳ You can find more stats on the Enchantments hiking trail on Alltrails.

WHICH WAY SHOULD YOU GO?

Because the trail is point-to-point, you can technically go either direction — start or end at either the Stuart Lake or Snow Lake Trailheads. But for the most part, people usually begin at the Stuart Lake and Colchuk Lake Trailhead and then hike over Aasgard Pass and then back down to Snow Lake. By going this direction, you save yourself 2,600 feet of elevation gain. But you still have to climb up the infamous Aasgard Pass — where you climb 1,900 feet in less than a mile.

We decided to follow everyone else and hike over from Stuart Lake to Snow Lake. While climbing over Aasgard Pass was tough, if you take your time and drink plenty of water, you should be fine. Plus, from the top of the pass the rest of the trail is a nice gradual downhill hike.

\\ Transportation to the Enchantments

The Enchantments are located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in central Washington state. The closest urban center to the trail is the popular tourist town of Leavenworth, which will have all of the necessary supplies you will need before setting off into the Enchantments; including, a large chain grocery store, restaurants, lodging, and outdoor gear shops.

It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the Snow Lakes Trailhead (the closest one too Leavenworth) and nearly 3 hours to reach the Stuart and Colchuk Lakes Trailhead from Seattle.

HOW TO GET TO THE ENCHANTMENTS

If you are planning to drive from Seattle to the Enchantments then the directions are pretty straightforward. To start, head out towards the town of Monroe and Highway 2/Stevens Pass Highway. Once on Highway 2, keep driving up and over Stevens Pass and down into the town of Leavenworth (from Seattle, it is around 120 miles to Leavenworth).

Once in Leavenworth, you need to decide what trailhead you want to start your adventure from: Stuart and Colchuk Lake Trailhead or Snow Lake Trailhead. Most people choose to start from the first one since it cuts down on the overall elevation gain.

DIRECTIONS TO THE STUART LAKE/COLCHUK LAKE TRAILHEAD

Once in Leavenworth, head down Icicle Creek Road for about 9 miles until you see the turn for Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake and Bridge Creek Campground (it will be on the LEFT). Head up this unpaved forest road (known as Eight Mile or Forest Service Road 7601) for roughly 4 miles until you get to the end of the road. There will be a large parking lot with a bathroom.

DIRECTIONS TO THE SNOW LAKE TRAILHEAD

The directions to the Snow Lake Trailhead are pretty similar to the one above. The only difference is that Snow Lake is a fair amount closer to town than the Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake Trailhead. From downtown Leavenworth, drive along Icicle Creek Road for roughly 4 miles until you see the parking lot for Snow Lake Trailhead on your LEFT.

The drive from the Snow Lake Trailhead up to the Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake Trailhead takes about 30 minutes.

PARKING AT THE TRAILHEADS

Parking at both trailheads can be chaotic. Therefore it is always a good idea to arrive at the trailheads early, carpool when possible or find an alternative mode of transportation.

If you do find yourself parking at either trailhead, you will need to either pay $5 for a parking pass (which you can get in person or online ahead of time) or show that you have the right pass already. In the case of either Enchantment’s trailheads, you can use an Annual National Park Pass (this costs $80), or the Northwest Forest Pass (this annual pass costs $30).

Learn more about the required parking passes for the two main trailheads here.

💬 INSIDER TIP: if you are looking to rent a second car to leave at one of the trailheads, then your best bet is to rent one in the nearby town of Wenatchee (which is located about 30 minutes east of Leavenworth). You can find availability and the best prices for car rentals at rentalcars.com.

THE TRAILHEAD SHUTTLE

If you don’t have two cars and if you really don’t feel like hitch-hiking, then your only other option is to book a seat on the shuttle bus that runs from Snow Lake Trailhead to Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake Trailhead. This shuttle service is run by the Loop Connector, a private shuttle company out of Leavenworth.

DETAILS

| COST: $24 per passenger

| START: the shuttle picks you up at the Snow Lake Trailhead at your desired time (in the morning)

| TIME: you can book the shuttle for 5 AM, 6 AM, or 7 AM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

BOOK YOUR SHUTTLE RIDE

HITCHHIKING

If you are comfortable catching a ride from a stranger, then you have a pretty good chance of hitchhiking between the two trailheads. This is what we ended up doing when we thru-hiked the Enchantments and we had no problems finding someone (actually a whole group) to drive us up from the Snow Lake Trailhead to the upper Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake.

\\ Permits and Regulations for the Enchantments

Because hiking and backpacking in The Enchantments is so popular, there is a highly regulated permit system in place.

There are actually two different permits available depending on what activity you want to do: an overnight permit if you are backpacking along the Enchantments trail, or a day-use permit if you are just planning to do an out-and-back hike or the entire 18-mile thru-hike.

Below you will find everything you need to know about getting the right permit for your adventure.

OVERNIGHT PERMITS

If you are hoping to spend multiple days in the Enchantments, then you will need to get a backcountry or overnight permit ahead of time. Because this area is so popular, the permits are distributed in an online lottery run by the national forest (and done online via the recreation.gov website).

The permits can be really tough to get — in fact, we have talked to multiple people who have tried multiple times and have never gotten one. Obviously, it helps to enter the lottery on the first day (see date below) but if you are unlucky, don’t fret. You can still always thru-hike it in one day, visit during the off-season or try again next year.

When does the lottery for permits open? In 2022, the lottery opened on February 15th. We have heard the lottery usually opens in mid-February every year.

When does the lottery for permits close? In 2022, the lottery closed on March 1st. If you were lucky enough to get an overnight permit to the Enchantments, then you were able to see your permits online on March 17th.

Do you ALWAYS need an overnight permit to backpack in the Enchantments? No, you only need an overnight permit if you are planning to backpack in the Enchantments from May 15th to October 31st. Therefore, if you are fine backpacking in the off-season you do not need to worry about a permit.

Can you camp anywhere in the Enchantments with an overnight permit? No. Due to the high number of people visiting and backpacking in the Enchantments, you will receive a permit that tells you what specific ZONE you need to camp in. There are five zones: the Core Enchantments, Colchuk, Stuart, Snow and Eightmile/Carolina. Each zone has its own quota/number of people allowed (see the map below for an idea on the specific zones).

Do you need a permit if you AREN’T planning on backpacking/staying overnight? Yes, you still need a day-use permit before setting off on the trail. Read more about this below.

You can learn more about the Enchantments overnight permit and lottery system here.

❔ GOOD TO KNOW: didn’t get a permit but still reeeeally want to backpack in the Enchantments? Then consider checking out Outdoor Status, a website that helps you snag sold-out permits for some of the most popular hikes. Sign up and be notified instantly if an Enchantment permit becomes available.

DAY-USE PERMITS

Before setting off on the trail from either the Stuart Lake or Snow Lake Trailheads you will need to first fill out a day-use permit. This is totally free and super easy to do. You can usually find the day-use permits in a box near the start of the trail or by the trail map. Once you fill out the day-use permit, simply put the bottom part in the provided box and then attach the TOP portion to your backpack (it needs to be easily visible to any passing ranger).

💬 INSIDER TIP: we were told that the rangers that monitor the Enchantments area can be very strict about people spending the night without a proper backcountry permit. So much so, that if they find you with a day-use permit and a backpack full of overnight gear they might send you straight back to the parking lot. Don’t break the rules — if you don’t have an overnight permit, don’t camp overnight. The regulations and specific overnight quotas are in place for a reason, be a good steward and follow the rules.

While thru-hiking the entire Enchantments trail is pretty popular, it is not your only option. We saw many people doing much shorter day hikes out to one of the numerous alpine lakes. Colchuk Lake seemed to be the most popular hiking destination, likely because it is the closest lake to one of the trailheads (it is roughly 8 miles round-trip from the Stuart Lake/Colchuk Lake Trailhead).

Other great day-trip hikes would be to head out to Lake Stuart (8.7 miles round-trip), to Eightmile Lake (7.2 miles round-trip) or climb up Dragontrail Peak (13 miles round-trip).

\\ Weather and Safety in the Enchantments

WEATHER IN THE ENCHANTMENTS

Because you are high up in the alpine and above 5,000 feet for most of the hike, be prepared for the weather to change quickly. ALWAYS come prepared for every type of situation — from hot, sunny days to downpours and thunderstorms (to even snow).

The best time to hike in the Enchantments is going to be from July to early September. During this time of year, most of the snow will be melted, wildflowers will be blooming, temperatures will be nice and warm and you have a higher chance of sunshine.

But, if you want to beat the crowds, then definitely consider hiking in the off-season — either in late September or October when the leaves start to change (beautiful!) and the temperatures really start to cool down (though be aware snow is definitely possible), or in June when the temperatures start to warm up but the crowds (and mosquitos) aren’t out in full force (though snow is still likely to be found along the trail and on the forest road up to the trailhead that early in the summer).

We thru-hiked in early August and found the weather to be absolutely perfect (sunny, hot and clear). BUT, it was also really busy. Also, during that time of year, the bugs (especially mosquitos and flies) were brutal.

MAJOR SAFETY CONCERNS

For the most part, there really aren’t any huge safety concerns when hiking or backpacking in the Enchantments. It is likely that your biggest issues will come from either lack of food and water or if you are really unlucky (or not very smart) from a run-in with a resident mountain goat.

Dehydration is definitely something you don’t want to experience — especially when you are at that high of altitude (5,000+ feet) and in direct sun. Luckily, there is a lot of fresh water throughout the Enchantments so as long as you come prepared with an adequate water filter system you shouldn’t have a problem. And honestly, if you don’t have a filter you can still probably get away with drinking some of the water at the really high altitudes since it is directly from the snowmelt near the top of the mountains (but obviously be smart about this).

Mountain goats are said to be quite common along the trail — something we can attest to after seeing a couple of different groups of them (including even a few babies). If you come across a mountain goat while hiking or backpacking, do what you would do with any other wild animal and give it plenty of space. The mountain goats in the Enchantments are usually pretty harmless, so as long as you don’t do anything to make them become aggressive (like spooking them or getting too close to their young) you shouldn’t have a problem.

But, with that being said, there have been issues with mountain goats when it comes to human pee. Mountain goats seem to have a thing for the salt in urine, so much so that there have been instances where the goats will follow hikers a bit too closely. To prevent this, try to use the many available bathrooms along the trail (you can find them on a map or look out for the “toilet” signs).

A few other things to be aware of while out adventuring in the Enchantments is that bears do live in the area so always monitor your bags and especially your food (and even more so if you are backpacking/overnight camping). Likewise, campfires are prohibited throughout the Enchantments so come prepared with proper cooking gear if backpacking. Finally, dogs are not allowed anywhere within the Enchantments.

💬 INSIDER TIP: while the trail is pretty easy to follow 90% of the time, there are sections in the really high alpine areas where it can be a bit tough to make it out (mostly because the trail is along granite slabs). If you think you have lost the trail while hiking, just look out for large wooden trail markers (like the one below) or rock cairns.

\\ Packing Guide | What to Bring With You on the Trail

Having the right stuff with you on the trail will make or break any adventure. This is even more true when that adventure includes hiking 20 miles and climbing over 5,000 feet of elevation. Below is a great gear packing list as well as some ideas on what food to bring with you along the Enchantments trail.

OUTDOOR GEAR

HIKING BOOTS

You will want to wear a pair of sturdy boots that can handle all kinds of terrain: from steep rocky scree fields over Aasgard Pass to slick river crossings in the core Enchantment zone to just miles upon miles of trail pounding. These hiking boots by Vasque seem to be a jack of all trades and therefore should be able to handle whatever the trail throws at you. Recommended hiking boot.

HIKING SOCKS

These socks can easily go from hitting the trails to hanging out at camp due to their moisture-wicking properties and slightly elastic stretch. Plus, they are made partially of recycled materials — meaning they are good for you and the planet. Recommended hiking socks from Smartwool.

MOISTURE-WICKING SUN SHIRT

No matter the month you are planning to hike in, you will likely want to wear a nice lightweight long-sleeved shirt while on the trail. This one by Backcountry works great as a base layer for it is lightweight and breathable enough for those hot sunny summer days but also insulated enough to be great if you plan to hike the Enchantments during the off-season (like in October). Recommended long-sleeve shirt.

WARM JACKET

This lightweight fleece jacket works great as both a mid-layer for those chilly fall hiking adventures and also as a solo jacket once the weather starts to warm up. Plus, the raglan-style sleeves provide seam-free comfort when you are carrying a backpack. Finally, this fleece jacket is made of recycled fabrics and is Bluesign approved (its sewing was also Fair Trade Certified). Recommended hiking jacket.

RAIN JACKET

While a nice cozy jacket will help keep you nice and warm on those chilly mornings or late-season days, usually the best jacket to have with you while hiking (especially in Washington) is an easy-to-pack rain jacket. This one by Patagonia checks all of the boxes: it is super lightweight and can pack down into its own little pouch, it has underarm zips that let you vent air even when hiking, it has an adjustable elastic drawcord hem that allows fine-tuning for the perfect fit, and finally, it is also Bluesign approved and its sewing is Fair Trade Certified. Recommended rain jacket.

HIKING SHORTS

When it’s a nice warm day, we usually reach for some easy, breathable, comfortable shorts. This pair by Mountain Hardwear are simple but still gets the job done. Plus, they are made of a nice breathable ripstop fabric that resists wear and tear and has nice hand and thigh pockets that allow you to stash small essentials like snacks, your phone and some Chapstick. Recommended hiking shorts.

HIKING PANTS

Or, depending on the time of year, you will more likely choose to gravitate towards wearing a pair of full-length hiking pants. We personally tend to veer more towards wearing pants while hiking unless it is absolutely scorching out — just for the sun protection and less likelihood of getting scratches and cuts from plants. These pants by Black Diamond, are durable enough for all kinds of trails, while also being comfortable enough to wear even when the temperature starts to pick up. Recommended hiking pants here.

SUN HAT

Because most of the hiking is done out in the sun (especially along the Enchantments trail), you will want to make sure you have a nice comfortable, wide-brimmed hat to help keep your face shaded and the sun out of your eyes. This wide brim hat by Patagonia is easy to adjust, lightweight and moisture wicking. Plus, like almost all Patagonia gear, it is made of eco-friendly recycled materials. Recommended sun hat.

SUNSCREEN

While a sun hat definitely helps protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, it is still important to give your skin that extra bit of protection — especially your shoulders, feet and hands. These sunscreens not only protect you against the sun but are also environmentally safe.

HEADLAMP

A handy headlamp is a true adventure necessity — especially when the adventure requires you to start hiking early in the morning or into the late evening (in the case of thru-hiking the Enchantments you will likely have to do both). This headlamp by Black Diamond is a personal favorite because it is relatively affordable, it has multiple light settings and it is rechargeable. Recommended headlamp.

HIKING DAY PACK

By far one of the most important items in your hiking repertoire is going to be your backpack. Because you will be carrying this bag all day on the trail — including sometimes up and down some steep and sketchy sections — you will want to make sure it is really comfortable. This bag by Osprey holds 24 liters of gear, while still having plenty of straps to allow it to fit perfectly to your body. Plus, it is made of a nice durable nylon construction that can withstand tons of trail abuse. It also has a specific place to attach your trekking poles or ice ax — which will help free up your hands. Recommended day pack.

WATER FILTER

One of the best ways to cut back on your hiking load — especially in the Enchantments where water is very readily available — is to bring along a water filter. This super easy one by Grayl combines a water filter inside an actual water bottle — meaning less gear to carry and less time actually filtering. A true win-win. Recommended water filter.

Or if you instead want to get an actual filter system that allows you to filter lots of water at once, we recommend the top-notch Katadyn water filter. This filter has been our go-to for all hiking and backpacking adventures for many years. Plus, it takes up very little space, is easy to clean and works pretty darn fast. Recommended Katadyn water filter.

HIKING FIRST AID KIT

This is one of those items that you don’t realize you need until it is too late. Luckily, this lightweight pack comes with (almost) everything you could need if an accident does unfortunately occur on the trail. Recommended hiking first aid kit.

TREKKING POLES

We personally have never been the type of hikers to use trekking poles but we have friends who absolutely swear by them. This set by Black Diamond can handle all kinds of terrain, are super lightweight and pack down small enough to be stored easily on the side of your backpack. Recommended trekking poles.

POST-HIKE SANDALS

Once you make it back to your basecamp (your car, your tent, your house) make sure to take off those boots, stretch out your arches and let your feet breathe. Seriously, this might be one of the best moments ever. After you do that, slip on a pair of these comfortable Teva sandals (we won’t judge if you add socks too). Recommended post-hike sandals.

POST-HIKE COZY SHIRT

There are few things nicer than taking off your sweaty shirt and putting on a nice cozy, clean one after a long hike. This one by the Parks Project is made of a durable, soft cotton fabric and cut into a very vintage style. Recommend post-hike shirt.

FOOD AND WATER

The Enchantments trail is tough, there is no getting around it. You will climb up 5,000+ feet across the 20-mile distance. Not to mention the fact that if you start at the Stuart Lake Trailhead, you will have to climb up Aasgard Pass, which rises 1,900 feet in less than a mile.

What we are trying to say is that you should definitely come prepared with plenty of food for a full day of exercise. Below we have included our own list of food we brought with us when we thru-hiked the Enchantments.

FOOD

You will burn a lot of calories if you choose to thru-hike the whole trail. Therefore you will want to come prepared with plenty of food. We personally love packing one bigger meal and then a few smaller, easy-to-handle snacks. Our go-to hiking foods are trail mix (homemade is always better), gummy candies, oranges and apples, mixed nuts and crackers or tortilla chips (we always crave something salty). Then we pack at least one big, filling sandwich (or two if it is a full day). These sandwiches usually include lots of vegetables and a hearty helping of protein (we love hummus).

Once we finish the hike we usually will grab something like a pizza or a burger nearby. If you are like us and are always looking to fill up after a big adventure, we recommend checking out these restaurants in nearby Leavenworth:

| Blewett Brewing Company: this brewery is a real hidden gem that serves up delicious pizza and of course lots of tasty beers.

| Heidleburger Drive-In: this simple joint serves up piping hot burgers and fries at an affordable price. Stop in for a nice filling meal on your way out of town.

| Munchen Haus: if you want the full Leavenworth experience then make sure to stop in at this Bavarian-style restaurant that serves traditional bratwursts and beer.

WATER

One of the best things about hiking in the Enchantments — besides the drop-dead gorgeous scenery of course — is the crazy amount of water. If you looking to decrease the weight in your backpack, then we highly recommend just bringing one water bottle or bladder and a water filter (we love this one by Katadyn) instead of multiple bottles.

Along practically the whole 20-mile trail you can find fresh water — most of which is from the snowmelt or glaciers right above you (talk about fresh). The only time there might be a problem with this would be from the end of Nada Lake (around the 14.4-mile mark) to the end of the trail at the Snow Lake Trailhead (a distance of roughly 6 miles). Between those points, there isn’t as much water available. But if you make sure to fill up at Nada Lake then you should be able to make it out to the trailhead just fine.

\\ Where to Stay | On the Trail and Nearby

Because the trail is so long (20 miles), you will want to make sure you arrive at the trailhead early in the morning so you don’t get stuck hiking out in the dark. We recommend spending the night nearby the day before you start hiking in order to get an early start. Luckily, there are a lot of lodging and camping options available close to both trailheads. Likewise, if you are one of those lucky few who got an overnight permit, then you should know a bit more about the five different Enchantment zones you can camp in.

Below, we outline everything you need to know about the different zones, the best campgrounds (and free camping) nearby, and also the best lodging options in the nearby town of Leavenworth.

BACKPACKING IN THE ENCHANTMENTS | THE 5 ENCHANTMENT ZONES

The Enchantments are cut into five different sections (though the main trail heads through only four of them). If you were lucky enough to get an overnight permit from the lottery, then you will see what zone you MUST camp in (no changing, no ifs, ands, or buts).

GOOD TO KNOW: the only exception to this is if you get a permit for the Core Enchantment Zone. In that case, you are allowed to camp in the other zones either on your hike in or out. This is mainly due to the fact that getting to the core zone is very strenuous — especially with a heavy backpack.

The five zones go in this order (from west to east): Eightmile/Caroline (the only one the trail doesn’t cross), Stuart (where Lake Stuart is), Colchuk (where Colchuk Lake and Aasgard Pass are), the Core Enchantment Zone (the most sought after camping area, and also the one with the most alpine lakes) and finally Snow (which includes Snow and Nada Lakes).

One very important thing to know about the permits is that no matter what zone you get for overnight camping you can still explore the other zones (so if you get a permit for the Colchuk Zone you can still do a day trip up Aasgard Pass and into the Core Enchantment Zone). Obviously, the most sought after zone is the Core Enchantment Zone, but even if you get a spot in the Colchuk or Snow Zones you still have a great opportunity to do some day trips up to the core lakes area.

CAMPING NEARBY

If you are looking to camp either the night before you start hiking or the night after your big hike then your best option will be to try to get a site at one of the nearby campgrounds. The closest campgrounds to both trailheads are Bridge Creek and Eightmile.

Bridge Creek Campground is located right off the turn-off for the Stuart Lake Trailhead and very close to Icicle Creek Road. It has 9 individual sites that are first-come, first-serve and 1 group site than can be reserved (do it here). It costs $20 /night for the individual sites and $125 /night for the group site. The campground includes one vault toilet and potable water.

DIRECTIONS TO THE BRIDGE CREEK CAMPGROUND

The second closest campground is Eightmile, which is located right off of Icicle Creek Road. This campground has a mix of reservable and non-reservable campsites (60% are reservable and 40% are not). You can make your reservations for the sites here.

Eightmile Campground includes 41 individual sites, 4 double sites and 1 group site, 3 vault toilets and potable water. It costs $24 /night for the individual sits, $48 /night for the double site and $125 /night for the group site.

DIRECTIONS TO THE EIGHTMILE CAMPGROUND

Be aware that both campgrounds have heavy usage, so if you are looking to get a campsite we recommend showing up early in the day or trying to snag a spot on a less popular day (like during the week).

💬 INSIDER TIP: if you can’t get a spot in either of the two campgrounds above, then your best bet is to either boondock (free camp) on an established spot in the national forest nearby or head a bit further up Icicle Creek Road and check out the few campgrounds located a bit farther away.

LODGING NEARBY

The closest town with lots of lodging options is going to be Leavenworth — which is a short 10–15 minute drive from the Snow Lake Trailhead (and 45 minutes from Stuart Lake Trailhead).

Some great spots to consider staying in Leavenworth are:

| Obertal Inn: this cute Bavarian-style inn comes with free parking, a breakfast buffet, a hot tub, and wi-fi. Dogs are also allowed. | BOOK YOUR STAY

| Posthotel: this classy, upscale hotel is located in the heart of downtown Leavenworth. The fancy spot is within easy walking distance of numerous landmarks and sites, including the Festhalle Civic Center. The hotel includes free parking, an indoor pool and outdoor heated pool, spa, gym and fast wi-fi. | BOOK YOUR STAY

| Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort: this outdoor retreat is located on the outskirts of Leavenworth and only about 5 minutes from the Snow Lake Trailhead. Onsite there is a coffee shop, spa, small store, self-serve laundry facility and conference rooms. There is also wi-fi available and pets are allowed. | BOOK YOUR STAY

| Loge Leavenworth: if you want something a bit more private, then consider booking one of the small individual cabins at this outdoor-focused spot. The Loge offers free parking, complimentary tea and coffee, outdoor eating and barbecue facilities, a shared kitchen and super quick access to hiking and biking trails. | BOOK YOUR STAY

Besides these four options, you can find numerous other hotels, motels and lodges to fit every type of need and style. We suggest checking out TripAdvisor for the best deals.

Hiking and backpacking in the Enchantments should be on every outdoor adventurer’s bucket list. The landscape is absolutely stunning, while the ability to spend a full day out in the wilderness surrounded by crystal clear lakes and rugged granite mountains is definitely good for both the body and soul.

Seriously, if you are looking for a full-day trail adventure then we cannot recommend the Enchantments enough! Hopefully, this thru-hiking guide helps you plan your adventure, but if you have any further questions about the trail then please leave us a comment or question below or reach out to us at www.backroadpackers.com.

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Backroad Packers

Backroad Packers

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Two adventurers creating in-depth travel guides to inspire you to slow down and get off the beaten path more.