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Eightmile Lake

Backcountry Response Team

Wed Aug 9, 2023 8:30 AM — Sun Aug 13, 2023 3:30 PM

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Central Cascades — Leavenworth Area

Features: Earn Northwest Forest Pass

Crew Leader: Melissa Davis

The aftermath of 2017's Jack Creek fire is visible on the far shores of Eightmile Lake. Photo by Tarn_Z


Spend 5 days in the Enchantments special permit zone doing much-needed deferred maintenance on the Eightmile Lake trail! This project focuses on installing a crucial drainage structure that will keep water and mud off the trail and hikers on it.

About the Area

The Eightmile drainage has weathered both fire and avalanche in recent years, offering an intimate experience with ecological disturbance and renewal. From the trail you'll glimpse the peaks and glaciers of the Enchantments, foregrounded by towering burned ponderosa and spruce. Located within the busy Enchantments special permit zone, the Eightmile Lake trail offers access via the Windy Pass trail to more remote basins, loops, and cross-country routes within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

What to Expect

We'll have fun, work hard and make a difference!

Project Description

Though this trail feels hot and dry through most of the summer, it's plagued by drainage problems that make for incongruously wet and muddy conditions underfoot. We'll camp on the shores of tranquil Eightmile Lake and spend the work days constructing a turnpike of rock and gravel through a particularly marshy stretch of trail. This is a crucial and long-deferred project that, once completed, will improve conditions for both legions of hikers and the land itself.

Camping and Hiking Information

  • Type: Backcountry basecamp
  • Location: Eightmile Lake
  • Weather: Be prepared for variable conditions including heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Initial hike to camp: 3 miles with 1400 feet of elevation gain at a moderate pace while carrying your backpack fully loaded with all provisions including camping gear and food, plus tools (provided by WTA)
  •  Expected daily hike: 3-4 miles roundtrip with up to 500 feet of elevation gain at a moderate pace while carrying your daypack plus tools


  • Day 1: Meet the crew rain or shine, then hike in, begin work on the project and set up camp
  • Day 2+: Make breakfast and pack a lunch before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Arrive back in camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew.
  • Final Day: Break down camp, finish trail project, hike out and say goodbye to the crew at the trailhead.

For safety reasons, arriving late or leaving early is not allowed.

Planning Information

Get ready for a challenging backcountry adventure!

What it Takes to Do This Work Party

  • A great attitude for working with a team! WTA provides the training and tools you need for the project
  • Backpacking gear and food for multiple nights on the trail
  • Good physical condition to hike with a fully-loaded backpack and be physically active for about 8-9 hours daily on uneven terrain 
  • Backpacking experience including ability to run your own camp following Leave No Trace principles
  • Day work party experience recommended
  • Flexibility to adapt to changes due to unpredictable weather or land manager requests
  • Minimum age: 18

What to Bring

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended (glasses, sunglasses or safety glasses)

Backpacking gear

  • Backpack to carry all of your gear
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear and enough food (plus a little extra) for the entire trip
  • At least two 1-liter water bottles and a way to purify your water
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Camp clothing such as shorts, shirt and sandals
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Personal items such as medication, hand sanitizer and toiletries
  • ​First aid kit
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!

Trail work gear

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended such as safety glasses
  • WTA hard hat (provided, unless you have one)

For safety reasons, shorts and sneakers are not allowed while working. Firearms and weapons are not allowed.

More Information

From the Hiking Guide

See what WTA's hiking guide and trip reports say about this area.

A My Backpack account is required. You will be asked to register or log in before you can join.

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NOTE: This work party may meet at the Wenatchee River Ranger Station in downtown Leavenworth and carpool to the trailhead. Stay tuned for updates from your crew lead.

From Hwy 2 on the western side of Leavenworth, turn south on Icicle Road. Proceed for 8.4 miles and turn left onto FR 7601, marked for the Eightmile Trailhead. Find the Eightmile Lake Trailhead 3.1 miles down this washboard and potholed road. There is a small parking lot on the left with a privy, the trailhead with signage will be found on the right side of the road.

Note: Please follow the written directions above instead of using a GPS device. This will ensure that you get to the correct meeting location for this work party. The location of the pinpoint below is only approximate.

Getting to WTA work parties can involve travel on rough, unpaved roads in areas without cellular service and without street addresses that can be accurately used by navigation devices. Unless specifically noted otherwise, routes can generally be traveled by all types of vehicles. Volunteers with limited experience driving on unpaved mountain roads may want to allow extra time, beyond what is recommended in the directions above, to get to the meeting location.

Required Documentation

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Find a ride, give a ride with people who also want to carpool.