Hike to the Most Beautiful Lake in Washington


Years ago, when I would think of visiting Washington State, the only thing that came to mind was Seattle and Seattle's weather. Then I would associate that weather with the entire state and didn't really think of it as a destination for anything else. Fast forward to now and knowing the beauty that this state holds with it's national parks and national forests, it almost, just almost feels like a hidden gem of a state.

As our hiking adventures became more a more, Washington kept popping up. Especially Colchuck Lake just outside of Leavenworth (which is a really cool town). Colchuck is one of the most popular hikes in Washington and it is the first stop on the Enchantments hike (which is highly sought after for its overnight permits). We have plans to thru hike the Enchantments but this trip we decided to focus on Colchuck Lake and we were not disappointed in any way. It lived up to the hype of being absolutely stunning and absolutely busy.

Hike to Colchuck Lake in Washington State

There is a lot of information floating around on this hike and so it can be confusing. The biggest tip you will need is regarding parking. If you do not get a spot in the parking lot you could end up parking up to 2 miles away, so that 8 mile hike, just ended up being 12. A lot of people sleep in their vehicles the night before and some parking spots are allocated just to permits (and they do give out tickets), so showing up the morning or day of, doesn't provide the best parking. We also would not suggest anything over 22'.

So once you get your parking spot or wake up that morning, head over to the trail head to pay the parking fee and get your free hiking permit.

As the first sign says there are no dogs allowed. We were pleasantly surprised that not a single person had brought their dog and there had to have been 200 cars there.

Your hike starts here. The 8.2 miles and 2,315' in elevation gain will be a challenge, but so rewarding at the end. They say to plan on about 4-6 hours. Most will need plenty of breaks and the elevation gain is hard at the elevation you are at, especially if you come from sea level. If you are an advanced hiker, this hike will take you just over 3 hours and that is taking time to relax at the lake.

You enter Alpine Lakes Wilderness shortly after you start and the signage throughout the hike is outstanding so you will not lose the trail or have to find the trail as you go.

Enjoy the first mile of the hike as it leisurely goes along the river. As you get into the second mile the elevation starts and then for miles 3 and 4 it is a tough climb. Along the way to provide some reprieve are stream crossings. Have some fun, cool down in the summer or filter some water.

There are switchbacks on this hike, which is supposed to take away from some of the elevation gain, but it is still tough going. Make sure to take as many breaks as you need and drink plenty of water. There are some beautiful view points along the way for this, that come with flat rocks to rest on.

As it feels like it is going to last forever, your watch will beep at 4 miles and this is where you should get a little excited. You are so close and the climb is done. Shortly after your beep you will get your first glimpse of Colchuck Lake and the towering peaks behind it.

You can either head left or right to find your place along the water. Either way provides access to the water if you want to take a dip. We chose to just enjoy the view.

I hope you can enjoy this hike as much as we did. Even with all the people along the trail it was enjoyable. The energy can help you. Just remember hiking etiquette and LEAVE NO TRACE.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 3

Published by

We became full time RVers in 2016 to explore the US. Now roaming in a van we highlight hikes, road trip attractions and free camping.


More from 33andfree

Comments / 0