Friday, February 12, 2016

Wishlist Destination: The Enchantments, WA

Who needs a fairy-tale to get themselves enchanted?
This gorgeous gem is here in my home state of Washington. How had I not heard of it before? No idea. But someday, I look forward to checking this place out- hopefully on a week day when I can get some solitude away from the crowds that this natural beauty draws to the area.

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In The Enchantments...
“Nature has carved one of the magnificent places of this world--an alpine paradise of granite worn smooth by glaciers, larches manicured by wind and cold, and crystal blue lakes strung together by a creek that tumbles and thunders between them. Seemingly everywhere, herds of mountain goats calmly wander by. Superlatives simply don’t suffice, and you quickly find yourself resorting to otherworldly comparisons, just like the early visitors who bestowed place names like Aasgard, Sprite and Leprechaun on the fairytale surroundings.” - Washington Trail Association

To camp in The Enchantments, you MUST have a permit, which may be applied for between February 15, 2016 @ 12:01 am PT and March 2, 2016 @ 11:59 pm PT at Be sure each year to check back on the website, because the application dates change from year to year just slightly.

Due to the popularity of the area, the permit holders will be determined by lottery, and therefore you are not guaranteed a pass. To increase your chances of getting a pass, shoot for days that are in less demand, such as weekdays early in the season. Weekends in August are the most popular dates that people fight for, so I would stay clear of those. A smaller number of additional permits are available on a walk-in basis from the Ranger Station daily except Sunday when the Ranger Station is closed. Since demand for these walk-in permits also usually exceeds availability, a daily lottery is also held at 7:45 am daily except Sunday, to distribute these permits.

On the flipside, if you wish to only day hike in The Enchantments, you are in luck! Day users need only fill out a free day-use permit, available at any of the three trailheads accessing The Enchantment Permit Area. It has potential to be busy, and you will not get to see as much of the area as one would on a backpacking excursion, but ambitious day hikers will be richly rewarded for tackling all 20 miles (round trip, out-and-back trail) in a day, but don’t feel too pressured! Taking in only part of this trail is still splendid. Do what you are physically able to.

Check out the link below for locations of campsites, toilets, and trail heads/intersections.

Full trail map of The Enchantments

*Please note that dogs and campfires are prohibited year-round in The Enchantments.

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Photo credit: Laffertryan @ Flickr 

Getting There:
To get to the Lake Stuart trail head from Leavenworth, WA, follow US-2 West for 0.8 mile, then turn left onto Icicle Road for about 8.5 miles. Turn left on Forest Road 7600, then stay right on Forest Road 7601. Follow Forest Road 7601 for about 4 miles to the trailhead. WARNING: Parts of this are dirt roads which frequently contain deep potholes and washboard. Be sure to get to the trailhead early to get a parking, as it is popular and fills quickly.

Lake Stuart Trailhead co-ordinates: 47.5277 -120.8210

Visit here for more trailheads, peaks, & photos.  

A $6.00 non-refundable Application Fee is required for each Lottery Application or Permit reservation. Application Fees are used to finance the on-line reservation system.

 [If you win the lottery] A $5.00 per person per day user fee is charged for your group when reserving an Overnight Permit for entry from June 15th to October 15th each year. Fees are charged per day, not per night, so the minimum visit is 2 days. Use fees are utilized to finance the on-the-ground management of the Enchantment Permit area.

 Contact Information
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Wenatchee River Ranger District
600 Sherbourne
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Phone: 509-548-2550
Fax: 509-548-5817


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