Oct 07, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Multi-night backpack
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Enchantment Lakes
- Region: Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
- Agency: Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District
- Trails: Enchantment Lakes (#1553)
- Avg Rating: 4.46
- Why You Should Go Now
- Fall foliage
The three of us left Bellevue at 5:45am on Sunday, arrived at the Cle Elum Bakery by the 7 o'clock opening, drove through thick wildfire smoke covering Blewet Pass, and arrived in Leavenworth by 8:30. After gathering our permits, we parked at a surprisingly not-full Snow Lakes trailhead parking lot. The closure of the Colchuck Lake trailhead probably contributed to the fewer number of hikers on the trail.
All day, the sun was brilliant, the fall colors vivid, and the air crisp, as we wended our way up the Snow Creek valley. We ate lunch at Snow Lake, which was very low, and finally arrived at Lake Viviane around 3.
The lakes were perfect, weather beautiful, trails clear, and people few. We camped by Perfection Lake, with nobody around us, and watched the sun go down as we prepared a well-earned dinner.
The next morning, a mama goat and her kid walked through our campsite as we ate breakfast. The sun hit our campsite at 8:33, and I was very happy to feel the immediate warmth on my neck. The past night had been cold, especially for me in a 40 degree rated sleeping bag. But the half moon and stars provided some compensation for my chilled slumber. After a leisurely breakfast, we hiked up to the upper basin, passing only a handful of people, then climbed up the ridge north of Isolation Lake. Lunch was literally and figuratively the high point of the trip. We lazed at 8500ft, with views of Mt Daniel, Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, and even the Olympics in the distance. The temperature reached 70 degrees in the sun, and we all got a little sunburned on our faces.
A fast descent back to the upper basin, then an ice cold dip in one of the many granite-lined pools, before heading back to camp. Another peaceful sunset dinner in the Enchantments before night fell. The second night felt a bit warmer than the night before.
Our third day unfortunately meant hiking out. We left camp around 9, took our time leaving the lower basin, then quick-hiked out on the Snow Creek trail. The hike out was better for me than in past years because the air was nice and cool all the way to the trailhead, the sunlight behind us lit up the fall foliage, and my legs stayed in good shape in spite of the relentless downhill pounding.
A tasty reward of Heidleburger cheeseburgers and shakes before coming back over a clear Blewet Pass. Another reward of Pioneer coffee in Cle Elum before being caught the first in line behind DOT trucks shutting I-90 down for 80 minutes of blasting. Even then, however, I could appreciate the sunset over Snoqualmie Pass and Keechelus Lake.