Back in 2013 Julie and I did the Enchantments as a day hike and for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to repeat the 18 mile hike. This time we were joined by our nephew Eric and his cousin John. The Enchantments are a chain of alpine lakes in a granite basin surrounded by peaks. It's a extremely scenic area and considered the crown jewel of Washington hikes. The only problem is the lakes can only be reached via a long hike. Also they are so popular that a lottery is required to obtain an overnight pass.
There is no pass required for a day hike, but some logistics are required. The easiest way to do the day hike is start at the Stuart Lakes trailhead and finish at the Snow Lake trailhead. This lessens some of the elevation gain, but this easy route still requires over 4000 feet of climbing.
Julie and I started in the dark at 5:30 in the morning and after a few miles we made it past Colchuck Lake and to the base of the 2000 foot scramble up to Aasgard Pass. The scramble was a workout, but not too difficult. Along the way we got views of Dragontail Peak and the larch trees which had started turning their golden yellow color for the fall.
Once at the pass we entered in upper Enchantment lakes. This area was very rocky with little plant life. The most prominent of the lakes here was Isolation Lake. The deep blue water was very beautiful with the backdrop of the surrounding snowy granite mountains.
We continued hiking down to the lower Enchantment lakes. Here there were more trees and the jagged top of Prusik Peak could always be seen. Along the way we passed six major lakes along with smaller ponds, rivers and waterfalls. This whole part of the hike was nothing short of spectacular. We met up with Eric and John (they were hiking at a faster pace than us) at Lake Viviane which was the last of the lower lakes.
This would of been a perfect hike if it had ended here, but we had ten more miles to go and 5000 feet to descend. The first few miles had Snow Lakes and Nada Lake to provide scenery, but we soon entered the forest and did what seemed like an endless set of switchbacks. Eventually the forest opened up, but were tortured with the site of the parking lot which was still a couple miles away.
All gripes aside this is still an incredible hike and worth repeating, but perhaps it would be best to come back as an overnight trip and spend more time taking in the scenery.
Perfection Lake Path
September 24, 2016