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Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail

Leavenworth, Washington

based on 9 reviews



8.13 miles

Elevation Gain

2156 ft

Route Type



Added by Mikaela Tangeman

Colchuck Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes in the Enchantments near Leavenworth, Washington. Permits are required.

To reach the trailhead, turn onto Icicle Creek Road from US2. Drive 8.4 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601. Follow the potholed dirt road 3.7 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead. Parking for about 20-30 cars and a toilet are available in the lot. Northwest Forest Pass required.

The Trail:

For the first approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead along Stuart Lake Trail #1599, you'll gradually climb through dense forest that begins to thin out. At this point, you'll reach the bank of Mountaineer Creek by crossing the creek on a log bridge. Catch your breath here as you begin a rocky hike up to the lake for the next 2.5 miles. 

After ~0.75 miles from the bridge, the trail will split start to flatten out slightly and split. Straight ahead will take you to Stuart Lake, but head left for your goal of Colchuck Lake. Heading on the trail to Colchuck, you'll cross over one more log bridge over Mountaineer Creek. As you get nearer to the lake, the switchbacks transition from smoother to steeper and rockier. 

The first glance you get rounding the corner to Colchuck Lake is an awe-inspiring moment. Not only do you get the views of the icy deep aqua blue glacier water, you are surrounded by the tall Glacier Walls of Dragontail Peak, Colchuck Peak, and remnants of Colchuck Glacier. The water is crystal clear and on a nice day the sun sparkles on the lake. The scenery on the day hike up was a teaser and you catch a glimpse of glacier peaks that stand tall on The Enchantment areas.

Don't be surprised if you cross paths with a mountain goat, this area is their home. Moments before rounding the corner to Colchuck Lake a group of avid hikers had just crossed paths with a mountain goat and baby. They are becoming more aggressive so keep your distance and don't alarm them.  

If you're doing a day hike, simply head back the way you came to return to your car. Don't forget to read the permits section below if this is an overnight or you're starting your trip through the Enchantments

If you get thirsty and/or hungry after...drive into Leavenworth which is only 15-20 minutes down the way. Icicle Brewery has the best beer in the town and will fill your growlers :) great food as well! Especially after a good hike!


Permits are required for overnight stays between May 15th and October 31st and are available via lottery. Permits are also required for day use and can be issued at the trailhead. Learn more on the Forest Service website.

Additional Key Information:

  • Parking: Parking is permitted at trailheads and only on the right side of Road 7601 between Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake trailheads. If you choose to park elsewhere on Road 7601 you may be fined or towed.
  • Dispersed camping is not permitted between the road and Icicle Creek
  • Dogs are not permitted on this trail
  • Bring lots of bug spray. They are out on hot days with little breeze.
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Easy Parking

Colchuck Lake via Stuart Lake Trail Reviews

One of my top 5 day hikes in the state! You don’t see that color blue lake much here. To add to previous comments, the rangers strictly enforce an 8-member party limit policy, or they will force the “extra” members of the group to turn back. Please plan accordingly. I’ve seen this happen to a family with young kids when the group was within a half-mile of the lake.

This is one of the better day hikes out there. I love to go right after permit season ends - around mid-October. It makes it a bit chilly, but also more relaxed. Colchuck Lake is so stunning it quiets you. Amazing day out in the Enchantments.

Arguably my favorite day hike in the state. Absolutely gorgeous, we hardly noticed the difficulty as the views and trail itself are breathtaking. Hard to believe this hike isn't more popular.

This was an amazing hike to do. Only downside is that the road leading up is very steep and it's extremely bumpy which makes for a slow four miles if you drive a sedan. Other than that I would highly recommend that if you go on a hot day to cool off by taking a jump in the lake. Feels amazing.

Highly recommended! Easy hike to do just for the day!

This was wonderful for seeing the beauty our state affords in one hike. The road to the trailhead was pretty awful--potholes galore! But once on the trail, 'twas lovely. When the trail breaks off from the trip to Stuart Lake, prepare to ascend. For a first-timer, the trail seemed difficult to find in spots, but, hey, we made it there and back. The views on the way are gorgeous, and the first sight of the lake on a sunny day--spectacular and my favorite color! Not sure 8 miles is an accurate count. The ranger said it was further. Anyway, was well worth it. Oh, there were quite a few hikers on the trail too. Not a bad thing, but less serene at junctures.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Aasgard Pass via Stuart Lake Trail

Climb to the Summit of Colchuck Peak

Snowshoe to Colchuck Lake

Hike to Lake Stuart

Scramble to the Summit of Dragontail Peak

Hike to the Enchantments' Horseshoe Lake