Route: Enchantment Lakes Traverse (WA)

Washington, US
18.8 mi
Vertical Gain
5,000 ft

"If a book titled The 100 Best Hikes in North America were to be written, the Enchantment Lakes Traverse would be the choice put forth to represent Central Washington. The hike is physically challenging (20 miles long with 4,500 feet of elevation gain), biologically diverse (spanning everything from muscular old-growth forests to dwarf alpine vegetation), and scenically resplendent (with sparkling lakes and tumbling streams in the foreground, and black spires and white volcanoes in the background)."


This route is in the central Cascades, near Leavenworth, WA.  Colchuck Trailhead to Snow Lakes Trailhead 

GPS Track


I am planning on running the Enchantment Lakes Traverse trail on 9/8/18 from the Colchuck TH to the Snow Creek TH and will be trying  to best the current FKT. I will be starting the run at the same time as some friends, but will be running alone (presumably some distance ahead). I will track my attempt with a GPS watch and take photos/videos along the way as well for documentation.


Very late follow up.

I completed my attempt at the FKT in 4:28 on the date and time noted. I got about 12 mins behind pace in the core getting off route and filtering water (probably could have forgone that indulgence) and could not make up any time mile for mile on the decent. Was eventually stopped for 12 minutes in a stand off with a momma goat and her baby near the snow creek wall. It wasn’t the time I was looking for but was happy with the effort. Such a challenging route to move quickly on.

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I am planning on running the Enchantment Lakes Traverse on 8/1/20, aiming for the unsupported female FKT. I will be starting from the Colchuck TH around 5:30 and ending at the Snow Creek TH a few hours later.


I am planning on running the Enchantment Lakes Traverse on 8/6/20 from the Colchuck TH to Snow Creek in an attempt to set a new FKT.

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For documentation purposes - I tried, and "failed" to run faster than Talon Hull (it was still incredibly fun!) My watch showed 3:30:44 ( 

I had perfect weather (48 to 60F), encountered about a dozen hiking groups, carried 24 oz Gu Roctane, an emergency blanket, iPhone SE, bike lock key, and a mask. 

On Aug. 29th, I will be attempting an Enchantments yo-yo as a supported hiker. I will begin the hike from Snow Lakes TH, will be "resupplied" at Stuart/Colchuck TH, then will hike back to Snow Lakes TH on the standard Enchantments Lake Traverse trail. I will be tracking this yo-yo hike on my watch.

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I will be attempting the unsupported men's fkt tomorrow, 09/20... From Colchuck TH to Snowlakes TH. Starting early in the morning to beat the Sunday crowds. Onward!

Finished with a time of 4:06... Which I'm stoaked about considering I only scouted the first 6 miles and last 3 miles. Everything else was new. Beautiful route!

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Sunday September 20th, 2020 I will be attempting the unsupported womans FKT for this route from the Colchuck TH to Snow Creek TH. Woo!

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Hi all! I'm going to take a crack at the unsupported male FKT Monday 9/21. Starting at daybreak from Colchuck Lake TH ending at Snow Creek TH.

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Not an FKT since this route doesn't break out winter/summer season categories, but worth posting as a comment in case others are considering a "winter" run... 11/06/2021, myself and Sarah H. completed the the Enchantments Lake Traverse in 11:34:40.

With winter conditions things are dramatically slowed. We had snow falling the entire day; while only dusting at each TH there was ~3" at 5k feet, ~12" at 6k, and up to waist high drifts at 7k. Needless to say most of our day was spent between Colchuck and Upper Snow Lakes with difficult trail-finding in the alpine zone. We did get to watch an avalanche fall from Dragrontrail Peak while we were climbing Aasgard Pass, as it was quite windy with early season snow buildup (advise staying low around Colchuck before begining a climb towards the pass to avoid chutes from Dragontail). 

Aside from the difficulties, the Enchantments winter version is amazing, solitary, and challenging. As the trail is one of the region's most popular, it is amazing to find yourself isolated in iconic alpine lakes. I am curious if others make the push during the winter (the one trail runner we did see, who was a local and appeared to be a strong runner... wasn't going to be making an attempt but maybe he was just smarter than us).

Strava link: (we did miss the turn up to Colchuck and had a nice detour to Stuart, cause of... well snow!)